If you know me in real life, you understand that I am just zany for all things Wes Anderson. I love his world where everything is symmetrical, everyone has father issues, colors are insane, and the soundtracks are simply yummy. Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs trailer was released this week. This one is another stop-motion animated film like The Fantastic Mr. Fox, one of my Top Films of 2009.
Isle Of Dogs is the first Anderson film since The Grand Budapest Hotel, my very favorite movie of 2014. Three years in the making, it is set to be released in Spring 2018, by Fox Searchlight Pictures, produced by openly gay Scott Rudin.
I love canines; they are a big part of my life. My current terriers are dogs number five and six in my 38-year relationship with my husband. And, I love dog stories. Set in a dystopian future Japan where dogs have been outlawed, Isle Of Dogs is about a boy’s odyssey in search of his dog, Spots. I bet I’ll cry.
Anderson writes that his inspirations for the film were the 1960s-1970s Rankin/Bass Productions television Christmas specials and the classic films of Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, 1954).
Rankin/Bass Productions was an American company, known for its Holiday television specials, particularly using stop-motion animation. Like Anderson’s own films, those Rankin/Bass specials have a very specific look. The studio used an animation technique called “Animagic”. Nearly all Rankin/Bass films were outsourced to Japanese animation companies. You might know Rankin/Bass shows: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town (1970) and The Little Drummer Boy (1968). I certainly remember them from my youth.
“I really liked these TV Christmas specials in America. I always liked the creatures in the Harryhausen-type films (The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, 1958), but really, these American Christmas specials were probably the thing that really made me want to do it. But, the new film is less influenced by stop-motion movies than it is by Akira Kurosawa.”
Isle Of Dogs features Anderson’s usual company of players, along with some new voices: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel, Liev Schreiber, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johansson, Akira Takayama, F. Murray Abraham, Yoko Ono, and of course, Anderson’s muse Tilda Swinton.