Film Review: Isle of Dogs at Chapter Arts.

Film Review: Isle of Dogs at Chapter Arts.
One blonde and one dark haired dog looking at each other.
*Thank you to Chapter for tickets to see Isle of Dogs. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Yesterday marked the start of half term for most families in Cardiff, and you could tell with the packed out show we attended yesterday at Chapter Arts. It’s our favourite cinema venue, with such quirkiness and abundance of artistic offerings, not to mention a well stocked bar and cafe. 

I have wanted to see Isle of Dogs for a very long time, so I was really excited to attend. Unfortunately we were separated within the cinema because a lot of the audience had left one seat between themselves and the next person, meaning a lot of people who arrived towards the start time had little choice but to split up just to find a seat. 

Regardless of this, Molly and I sat together and I tried my best to focus her attention on the movie (because she was quite upset to not sit by her Daddy and George), which wasn’t a hard thing to do! We have a dog, both Molly and George adore dogs, so there was on way they’d get distracted whilst watching this film because it’s literally full of dogs. And cats. And some mean people. And some righteous people too. 

The story is set in the future, to a time where dogs are sick and banished to an island, far away from humans. One young boy travels to the island in search of his beloved guard dog, Spots. He meets a pack of dogs who are (mostly) friendly, who offer to help him find his dog. One member of the group, Chief, is a little resistant; he’s a stray dog with attitude and a lot of his emotional and irrational behaviour is down to fear. 

As soon as the film began I was in awe at the technique, the direction and the animation involved. The visual elements involved were so stunning, and Wes Anderson’s (Film Maker) vision is so beautifully brought to life in this movie, much like Fantastic Mr Fox. Stop-motion cinema is definitely one of the areas I feel strongly about, I used to love watching the old fashioned movies using similar techniques, there’s just something so raw and real about them. Plus, there’s the commitment to time and perfectionism involved in making a movie this way, it certainly doesn’t happen overnight.

I felt a strong sense of Tarantino’s Kill Bill within this movie, with each section offering a different slant on the story. I also adored the bold dictatorship backdrop of Mayor Kobayashi, a man intent on removing every last reminder of our canine friends. Not only that, but Anderson manages to convey story through visual during scenes without subtitles. Warren found this frustrating, however I loved the fact that you didn’t need it all explained, it made sense regardless, it’s just for us to interpret as we choose. 

I thought the storyline was strong, but there could have been a lot more sentiment towards the end. When it comes to Chief and his inner turmoil, he quickly spirals from being the big bad dog to a softer, sweeter companion, but it all happened a bit too quickly for me.

George and Molly both enjoyed the film, with Molly desperate to get home and be reunited with her own pooch, Ziggy! Watching Isle of Dogs certainly helps you appreciate a world in which dogs are ‘allowed’, and it also makes you really appreciate them as the friends and comrades they are. I certainly gave Ziggy a big cuddle when I returned home!

The story isn’t too far off the mark, though. We’re living in a world we abuse, a world destined for catastrophic change if we don’t do something about it. Now I’m not saying dogs will start to disappear, but it does make you think, disease and infections spread for a reason, and that reason is usually us. 

If you love Fantastic Mr Fox you’ll love Isle of Dogs. You can catch it at Chapter until 21st April 2018 and tickets start from

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