Wes Anderson has a unique ability to create fictional universes, an alteration of our society, and his most recent output is certainly no exception. Based in Tokyo, the film amusingly introduces us to a world where dogs roamed wild, then were tamed as pets, and then ostracised from society as outbreaks like the Dog Flu emerge. The worship of cats in society cements the final decision to send all dogs to Trash Island, forming the basis for the story. Already, this amusing and funny world is established.
Unsurprisingly, the stop-motion animation looks amazing, and using this medium enables the choice to often have the dogs looking directly at the audience – a usual no-no in film. It gives the film a further odd atmosphere, as does Desplat’s incredible Japanese-influenced score. When working with Anderson, Desplat seems to depart from his usual style to create something truly different. The Grand Budapest Hotel is another example of this departure.
The film’s story is both sad and funny, the voice-acting is on point, and some parts of Japanese dialogue not being subtitled is an interesting choice, though for the most part we get comical translations. The use of old technology, such as old computers, in a modern looking society yet again creates an individual, fictional society.
The story is basic, and it resulted in me wanting to go home and hug my dog for thirty minutes. It is an interesting look into how we treat our pets, without anything preachy or obvious. It is a message for us to look into how we treat our pets, how we have tamed them to be subservient to us, all surrounded by an amazing looking universe that only Wes Anderson could create. A near flawless film by one of the best American directors working today.
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