Never have lost dogs in a landfill been so civilized. This incredible new clip gives us a more detailed introduction to the inhabitants of “Trash Island” in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. Being far from their owners, five wayward dogs have grown a little mangy. What they most certainly haven’t lost, however, is their manners.
When a new garbage bag is dropped at their paws, the dogs sniff out to investigate. They run into some competition, however, from another pack. In a spark of Anderson brilliance, the rivals are more carefully groomed and have matching coats. This inspired choice mirrors a much more organized and well-funded sports league against a ragtag neighborhood team.
As the two packs stare each other down, Rex (Edward Norton) has a refined suggestion. Avoid the tussle over the mystery package until they’re sure it’s worth the fight. They cut it open to find rotting garbage, which is always appealing to a dog, and the attack becomes inevitable.
Anderson’s gorgeous shots and beautiful symmetry are fully in play here. The characters are also incredibly expressive. Many animators will tell you, hair – in this case fur – is difficult to animate. The stop motion here is clearly above the pale. Anderson also expands on the anthropomorphic nature of his characters that was beautifully captured in Fantastic Mr. Fox. Anderson does a masterful job of showing civilized animals that truthfully reveals the animalistic nature of humans.
Isle of Dogs has an eye popping cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Live Schreiber, Greta Gerwig, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand and on and on. Said island is located in Japan and the story follows a young boy searching for his lost dog.
Isle of Dogs opens in theaters March 23.