If you say the title out loud a few times you’ll hear the pun. But Wes Anderson’s latest work is not just for dog lovers, it’s for lovers of good storytelling, sumptuous visuals, genuinely clever wit and entertainment with a side-serving of socio-political commentary.
The stop-motion animation feature is reminiscent of Rankin/Bass films with elements of classic Japanese anime. In fictional future city, Megasaki, recently (and dubiously) elected Mayor Kabayashi announces a decree to exile all dogs to Trash Island, supposedly because of an outbreak of incurable dog flu.
The Mayor’s ward, 14 year old Atari, whose beloved Spots is first to be banished, steals a mini military plane and crash lands on the prohibited island to find his dog. The plot is embellished by a motley gang of ex-pet pooches, imposing villains, earnest scientists, student dissenters, and (unfairly) maligned cats.
The voice cast is extraordinary and too vast to name check. It’s high in humour but there’s a lot of provocative subtext and there will be battlefields over cultural appropriation.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich