There is a real economy in the movement of the characters; the dog fur doesn’t sway smoothly in the wind but jitters around in such a way as to call attention to the stop motion process. That’s a unique choice for a feature-length stop motion feature, and it’s further complemented by Anderson’s standard graphic bag of tricks like flat compositions and exacting symmetry.
Anderson, who previously directed the stop motion film Fantastic Mr. Fox, uses an original story for this follow-up animated effort. In Isle of Dogs, Atari Kobayashi, a 12-year-old ward to the corrupt Mayor Kobayashi, sets off alone to Trash Island, where all of the city’s canine pets have been exiled, in search of his beloved dog, Spots. The previously-released trailer gives a broader scope of the film’s universe.
Isle of Dogs will open the Berlin International Film Festival on February 15, marking the first time in the festival’s 68-year history that an animated feature has launched the event. Fox Searchlight opens the film in the United States on March 23, followed by an international rollout in April.