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Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" Gets Trailer and Release Date

The trailer for Wes Anderson’s new stop motion film, Isle of Dogs, is finally here.

The trailer offers us a glimpse at the aesthetic and milieu of the film, beginning with a Wes Anderson-style fast-paced montage of shots featuring a futuristic Japanese city. A narrator sets the stage, “The Japanese archipelago, twenty years in the future: canine saturation has reached epidemic proportions. An outbreak of dog-flu rips rips through the city of Megasaki. Mayor Kobayashi issues emergency orders calling for a hasty quarantine. Trash Island becomes an exile colony – the Isle of Dogs.”

“I don’t think I can stomach any more of this garbage,” asserts Rex, voiced by Edward Norton, a dog exiled to the Isle of Dogs as several other dogs in the background feast on, well…garbage.



The trailer boasts very much in a very short amount of time, spending the majority of its runtime focused on quick snapshots of the ensemble cast of characters, voiced and animated by top performers in both industries. By the end of the trailer we know a surprising amount about the film’s premise and journey, which, as official synopsis reads, is something along the following lines:
Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy’s odyssey in search of his dog.

In a discussion about his career that took place earlier this year at ARTE Cinema, Anderson stated that the film was inspired by stop motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen, American stop motion Christmas specials made by Rankin/Bass Production such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, although Anderson’s biggest inspiration for this project was Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa.

As far as the voice cast goes for this film, it’s almost a question of who isn’t in it. To name just a few of the actors voicing some of the characters in this star-studded film (several of whom have starred in some of Anderson’s past work): Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Kunichi Nomura, Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Harvey Keitel, Akira Ito, Liev Schreiber, Tilda Swinton, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, Akira Takayama, and Frank Wood.

Every second of the trailer is crammed with beautiful shots, character design, lighting, and animation – all of which emanate the unmistakable direction of Wes Anderson.

A keen eye will pick up on the Anderson's trademark style pantomiming throughout the trailer, such as a distant train moving across the frame of the opening shot – a recurring symbol in several of Anderson’s previous films, specifically Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Darjeeling Limited.

Concerning the stop motion style employed in this film versus that in Fantastic Mr. Fox, there are very many similarities in it to that in Mr. Fox – examples can been seen in the practical effects, the gorgeous handmade aesthetic of the sets and character design, as well as the stop motion-specific “boiling” effect (where the physical impression of an animator’s hands on a puppet with fur or hair appear to be moving “on its own” in a scene) that Anderson has, in the past, attested to love ever since first seeing the original King Kong.

However, it is interesting to note that some of the techniques used to animate this film give testimony to it employing more state-of-the-art technologies than those used to bring to life Fantastic Mr. Fox. An example of this can is the use of replacement-animation to animate the facial characteristics of the human characters in this film, juxtaposed to the head mechanisms/face-armatures used to animate all of the characters in Mr. Fox. The knit-picking minutiae with which this point is founded on is almost laughably microscopic, but it’s a point which seems appropriate to make here.

I may be going out on a limb here, but various shots in the trailer evoke images and character designs from a stop motion commercial that Anderson directed a while back for Sony – specifically the robot characters in the ad – which you can go watch here.

You can go watch the trailer here. The film is set to be released March 23rd, 2018.

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