isleofdogs_trailer isleofdogs_trailer
Feature FilmStop Motion

The Trailer For Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ Is Here

Fox Searchlight has released the trailer for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, a stop motion feature opening in the U.S. on March 23, 2018.

Little had been known publicly about the project until today’s trailer, which reveals that the film is a dystopian twist on the boy-and-his-dog genre, telling the tale of Atari Kobayashi who is looking for his dog, Spots:

Isle of Dogs tells the story of Atari Kobayashi, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump called Trash Island, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.

Anderson’s studied visual hallmarks are on display throughout the trailer: balanced compositions, symmetrical and center framing, one-point perspectives. It’s notable simply because it’s so uncommon to see any kind of auteur touch in a mainstream Hollywood animated feature. In the current world of cg features that all look and feel as if they were constructed on the same assembly line and overseen more by manager than artist, the clear evidence of a director’s hand is both refreshing and remarkable.

Next year is shaping up to be a banner year for high-profile stop motion productions. Not only do we have this Anderson project, but Aardman is launching Nick Park’s Early Man in February, and Laika has a mysterious unannounced project currently slated for release in May.

Mark Waring, the animation supervisor on Anderson’s earlier animated feature, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), is the animation director of the film, which is being produced in the U.K. He was also the supervisor on Frankenweenie and animated on Corpse Bride. Lead animators are Anthony Elworthy, Kim Keukeleire, and Jason Stalman; animation supervisor is Tobias Fouracre; senior 2D animator is Aya Suzuki.

Other key creative credits: Andy Gent (head of the puppets department), Tim Ledbury (visual effects supervisor), Adam Stockhausen and Paul Harrod (production designers), Tristan Oliver (director of photography), and Alexandre Desplat (music). The film is based on a story by Anderson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, and Kunichi Nomura, with screenplay by Anderson.

The Isle of Dogs voice cast includes Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Kunichi Nomura, Harvey Keitel, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, Koyu Rankin, Yoko Ono, Courtney B. Vance, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Ken Watanabe, Yoko Ono, Harvey Keitel, Fisher Stevens, and Liev Schreiber.

The film’s accompanying making-of book, to be published by Abrams, also looks like worth picking up, though it won’t be released until next March. From the description:

The story of Isle of Dogs’s conception and production unfolds over the course of several in-depth interviews with Wes Anderson, all conducted by film critic Lauren Wilford. Anderson and his collaborators reveal entertaining anecdotes about the making of the film, their sources of inspiration, the ins and outs of stop-motion animation, and many other insights into their moviemaking process. In keeping with Anderson’s signature aesthetic vision, The Wes Anderson Collection: Isle of Dogs is richly designed and rife with colorful behind-the-scenes images, photographs, concept artwork, and ephemera.

"Isle of Dogs" poster.
“Isle of Dogs” poster.
  • Elsi Pote

    Welcome to lord of the flies meets…. Wes Anderson I guess….The guy from that old Amex commercial and unique style, which refuses to compromise yet is now mainsream.

    Looking forward to the 2d compositions and quirky characters under the influence of Prozac.

  • Johnny Marques

    This looks far stranger than I anticipated when it was announced. Which is definitely good news. I’m also probably one of the few who found Fantastic Mr Fox to be Wes Anderson’s best movie yet, so I’m looking forward even more to this.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Certainly looks fascinating.

  • Lucky Jim

    The old comment section for the first “Fantastic Mr. Fox” trailer is pretty hilarious. Lotta people were unprepared for Wes Anderson cartoon madness.

    • Inkan1969

      I’ll admit to that. The trailer made FMF look terrible. I was assuming that Anderson was a live action director jumping into animation completely cold, which sounded like disaster. So when I saw the humanlike bodies of the FMF furries, I thought that indicated a total lack of imagination.

  • Cameron Ward

    I love this. Definitely going to be an early on oscar runner for Best Animated Feature along with Early Man

  • ランダム アニメーター

    I loved ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ and judging by the trailer, ‘Isle of Dogs’ looks very promising. Definitely looking forward to this.

  • Crispy Walker

    I’m super excited for this. I think this trailer shows that Wes Andersen movies almost work better in animation than they do in real life because he has complete control over the world, and since there is no disconnect between what is constructed to look more artistic and what is actually there, it winds up feeling more cohesive on the whole.

    But I’m also more excited to hear that LAIKA has a project coming out in May that I haven’t heard anything about yet. Anyone want to spill the beans?

  • Inkan1969

    I was very pleasantly surprised by “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”. I never expected that film to have so much visual appeal, and for the characters to be so compelling. It’s great to read that Anderson is trying out animation again. Did Anderson have any background in animation before “Fox”?

    • crossie

      He used a lot of stop motion in “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou”. But other than that, I don’t think so.

      • Inkan1969

        I had assumed that he hired someone else to do those stop motion sequences in “Life Aquatic”.

  • Let’s see: original story, striking visuals, and an acclaimed director. I’m sold!

  • FM Hansen


  • Barrett

    Well, this looks incredible.

    I was just posting over on the “Peter Cottontail” story how disappointing it was that they chose to make a crass, lowest-common-denominator film, when they could have done something more artful and subtle. Just as he did with Fantastic Mr. Fox, it looks like We Anderson has again done something unique and artful with animation. I can’t say for sure whether this film will truly be great, but given that Wes Anderson has pretty much only done things that rate from “great” to “superb” as far as I’m concerned, i’m pretty sure this will be one of my top ten films for 2018.

    GOD, I wish more “arthouse” type directors could get the backing to make animated features in this country!

  • Of course the film isn’t out yet and we don’t know if it’s good yet, but I am already wondering if this will get a Criterion release since the rest of his films were. Another animated film to add to that sparse collection, if that’s the case.