I got to see Isle of Dogs the other week and, like many of Wes Anderson’s films, I liked it very much. I love the script and the humor and subversiveness of the film’s message. It’s so political but so elegantly disguised within its fable narrative.
Read my review here: The Subversive Dark Whimsy of ‘Isle of Dogs’ (ClickTheCity).
But because I saw Fantastic Mr. Fox first, I wasn’t that affected by Isle of Dogs as much as I wanted it to affect me. It’s not as clever and it’s not as moving as Fantastic Mr. Fox.
When I saw it, I didn’t think the film was culturally offensive. I actually even thought the film was painstakingly trying to subvert even that notion by giving agency to many of the Japanese characters in the story and I didn’t feel like they were making fun of the Japanese culture.
In fact, I felt that there was so much love and affection for Japanese culture in the film. It felt like the film needed to be set in Japan for it to have that air of possibility. I felt that the “American-ness” of the film was because it had a message that needed to be said to an American audience.
But I read more and more articles on it and I’m now unsure of how I feel about the cultural appropriation accusations that people have thrown towards the film.
I will still say this, though. I had a great time watching it. Putting aside the cultural appropriation aspects of the film, it’s so well made and so funny and the script is amazing. The voice acting is perfect.