Isle of Dogs

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4205
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:30 am

Co-sign the general consensus that Isle of Dogs is a very enjoyable movie. Visually, it's dazzling -- I kept wanting to freeze frame individual images just to catch all of the details, many of which were often quite funny in offhand ways. And the narrative is engaging, and full of plenty of typically Andersonian wry, deadpan humor -- I found myself laughing pretty consistently. (Tilda Swinton as the Oracle pug was especially delightful.) In the end, I agree that it didn't land with the kind of emotional/thematic resonance of something like The Grand Budapest Hotel, but as a perfectly entertaining lark, it got the job done with a lot of invention along the way.

As for the cultural controversy, I purposely stayed away from reading any discussion of this until I had seen the movie, so although I knew there were some debates raging, I didn't really know what they were about. And the white savior trope was the thing that really raised a red flag with me -- that Greta Gerwig's character is the one who leads the activism movement feels like the kind of thing that you'd wish filmmakers would avoid by now. As for the larger criticism -- that the Japanese aren't really allowed to speak their words and are just interpreted by a bunch of Americans -- I can more easily accept that as the kind of compromise one needs to make in an American animated film, where subtitling everyone just isn't going to be an option. (The other option would just have been to have the Japanese characters speak English -- the way, say, the Mexicans in Coco did -- and maybe that would have been a better compromise, assuming they were voiced by actual Japanese actors.) As for the general critique that Anderson is engaging in a kind of caricatured appropriation of Japanese culture, I guess there I'd have to say that the animated milieu is working a lot in his favor -- the world is so clearly not realistic, and hyper-stylized, it's hard for me to get too bothered by the incorporation of all of the obvious signifiers of Japanese culture into the film. (In this respect, I agree that The Darjeeling Limited felt more problematic.) In general, I think there are things that it's worth having a discussion about with respect to this film and representation issues, but any limitations the film has in that arena aren't egregious enough to overwhelm so many of the film's positive qualities.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6502
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Mister Tee » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:52 pm

I'll join what seems to be the consensus: this is very enjoyable, meticulous in the true Anderson style, an almost certain bet for an animated feature nomination (and maybe screenplay/score, depending on the competition) -- but not quite as special as Grand Budapest or, for me, Fantastic Mr. Fox. Maybe Anderson works better with someone else's story to tell, because the narrative here, despite a lot of nice small touches, is on the thin side -- with easily demarked heroes and villains, and no underlying concept to provide greater resonance (as, say, Grand Budapest's unspoken theme that the Nazis, among their other great sins, had stripped away elegance from the European continent). It just is what it is, which, as I noted, is fully engaging, but not up to career highs.

Nonetheless, I'm certainly grateful for Anderson's work -- and deeply glad it gets released during these moribund months. (Though I'll echo something BJ said recently: with Anderson, Spielberg, The Death of Stalin and You Were Never Really Here all in theatres, this is a pretty hopping Spring.)

User avatar
Precious Doll
Tenured
Posts: 3473
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:43 am

I enjoyed this to a point but once the focus shifted away from the dogs in the last section of the film I found it less engaging. I don't mind Wes Anderson's films in general but if he never made another film I wouldn't miss him.

I also thought that after three months of Isle of Dogs advertising before just about every film I have seen at the cinema reminding people to switch off their films would stop, they showed it before the actual film. Which as I said in an earlier post I really don't understand why they were even doing that as phones are not an issue in the cinema, at least at the sessions I attend.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

Okri
Tenured
Posts: 2609
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 3:28 pm
Location: Edmonton, AB

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Okri » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:30 pm

1. Desplat's score was amazing.

2. I enjoyed it, but a lot less than Moonrise Kingdom or Grand Budapest.

3. The racism controversy is interesting (not sure I agree with it, but worth engaging with anyway) but I'd argue Darjeeling is a lot more offensive on that ground - I remember leaving the theatre raging with that one

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7396
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Sabin » Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:23 pm

A very melancholy thing. And for a Wes Anderson film, that's saying something. Like his previous two films,* Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, the story feels like a collection of moving parts that form a mosaic. It is a stunning achievement. He's never experimented with non-linear filmmaking (flashbacks) quite as much and there is always something to gawk at on-screen, like fish being chopped up to create a sushi dinner that feels almost Burton-eque. Even though I was always in the thrall of Isle of Dogs, I can't say I felt exhilarated. It ended and I wasn't sad to leave. Am I underrating a film whose strength can be described as "every minute of the film is dazzling?" Maybe. But I also don't get the impression that he totally figured out the third act. It falls apart quite a bit in the final stretch. Theme has never been one of Wes Anderson's strong suits but Isle of Dogs is lacking a bit more than usual.

It plays like a collection of clever moments and jokes, like a dog who is connected to the rumor mill or an oracular pug whose powers stem from understanding television. I think the reason why Fantastic Mr. Fox remains the favorite of those unconverted to Wes Anderson is that he uses animation to touch on something human. Isle of Dogs plays a bit more like what that film could have been. A distant work of art.

A quick word on the racism controversy. I suppose Wes Anderson was due for charges of racism as he's no stranger to "cultural tourism." His chief offender is The Darjeeling Limited, which I had problems with back when it came out. Wes Anderson made many choices in Isle of Dogs that appear problematic but individually I think they can all be explained, including a "whitewashing" that makes sense for plot purposes. The reason why Isle of Dogs is getting some grief online is that there are so many questionable choices that today that in and of itself is what creates a lightning rod. My take is that it's not worth the trouble.

* Interesting theory: he seems to make trilogies. Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums is a clear evolution of style. The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, and Fantastic Mr. Fox are all crisis of masculinity films. And Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Isle of Dogs are about places.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

Franz Ferdinand
Adjunct
Posts: 1330
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:22 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Fri Mar 02, 2018 10:21 am

The Original BJ wrote:
Precious Doll wrote:Since that time they have been advertising the film via a 'turn off your mobile telephone' message, which is rather odd given these days you hardly ever hear anyone's phone ring.


I'm so glad to hear that this has been your experience, because in mine, outrageous audience behavior at theaters just keeps getting worse. I've gotten to the point where an accidental cell phone ring from someone who simply forgot to turn it off no longer fazes me -- I'm far more appalled at the people who knowingly spend entire movies texting, actively use dating apps, or answer their phones and have entire conversations right there when the rest of us are trying to watch a film! A couple weeks ago, a few people in front of me were (illegally) VAPING during a movie! And forget politely asking any of these people to stop -- you'll just get greeted with a "Fuck off" (literally the response I received from the woman sitting directly next to me during Three Billboards who kept texting during the movie) or some other vulgar response from people who think their right to behave however they want to in a theater trumps your right to enjoy the movie without distraction.

And it's not limited to movies either -- I've been in legit theater and had audience members answer a phone call and start having a conversation a few rows away from actors on stage! (Where was Patti LuPone when I needed her?) And I nearly got in a verbal fight with another audience member in front of me who I asked to stop taking cell phone pictures during the middle of a musical!


Outrageous! Granted, I don't get to the movies too often, and I also live in Canada where we trip over ourselves to accommodate others - and apologize if ever we don't - but hearing stories like that is a real bummer. Why go out of your way and pay to NOT be immersed in the entertainment?

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4205
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby The Original BJ » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:03 pm

Precious Doll wrote:Since that time they have been advertising the film via a 'turn off your mobile telephone' message, which is rather odd given these days you hardly ever hear anyone's phone ring.


I'm so glad to hear that this has been your experience, because in mine, outrageous audience behavior at theaters just keeps getting worse. I've gotten to the point where an accidental cell phone ring from someone who simply forgot to turn it off no longer fazes me -- I'm far more appalled at the people who knowingly spend entire movies texting, actively use dating apps, or answer their phones and have entire conversations right there when the rest of us are trying to watch a film! A couple weeks ago, a few people in front of me were (illegally) VAPING during a movie! And forget politely asking any of these people to stop -- you'll just get greeted with a "Fuck off" (literally the response I received from the woman sitting directly next to me during Three Billboards who kept texting during the movie) or some other vulgar response from people who think their right to behave however they want to in a theater trumps your right to enjoy the movie without distraction.

And it's not limited to movies either -- I've been in legit theater and had audience members answer a phone call and start having a conversation a few rows away from actors on stage! (Where was Patti LuPone when I needed her?) And I nearly got in a verbal fight with another audience member in front of me who I asked to stop taking cell phone pictures during the middle of a musical!

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 389
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby danfrank » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:46 pm

Precious Doll wrote:I saw a trailer of this about 6 weeks ago at the cinema only the once. Since that time they have been advertising the film via a 'turn off your mobile telephone' message, which is rather odd given these days you hardly ever hear anyone's phone ring.


I was at a late matinee of the Oscar-nominated live action shorts last weekend and not one but two cell phones went off mid-film, with both offenders taking an extraordinary amount of time to find the phones and turn them off. I'm very glad of the pre-film reminders.

User avatar
Precious Doll
Tenured
Posts: 3473
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 2:20 am
Location: Sydney
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Precious Doll » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:39 am

I saw a trailer of this about 6 weeks ago at the cinema only the once. Since that time they have been advertising the film via a 'turn off your mobile telephone' message, which is rather odd given these days you hardly ever hear anyone's phone ring.
"I have no interest in all of that. I find that all tabloid stupidity" Woody Allen, The Guardian, 2014, in response to his adopted daughter's allegations.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6502
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Mister Tee » Thu Feb 15, 2018 3:40 pm

Reviews; excellent. Thanks to Wes Anderson, for giving us something to see between the Oscars and Telluride:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/revie ... 18-1085094

http://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/is ... 202700010/

https://www.screendaily.com/reviews/isl ... 36.article

Franz Ferdinand
Adjunct
Posts: 1330
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 3:22 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Contact:

Re: Isle of Dogs

Postby Franz Ferdinand » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:02 pm

Wes always gets a free pass in my books, can't wait for this one!

danfrank
Temp
Posts: 389
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:19 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Isle of Dogs

Postby danfrank » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:58 pm

The trailer is out for Wes Anderson's newest, apparently to be released next year. It's amazing how much this animated film (more than Fantastic Mr. Fox) has the look of his live-action films. I'm all in.


Return to “2018”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest