After 3 years of fervid anticipation, Wes Anderson has released the trailer for his upcoming animated film Isle of Dogs. This will be the second animated film in Anderson’s long and impressive filmography, since 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox – a fresh take on the popular Roald Dahl book marinated in Wes’ characteristic quirks and twists.
Displaying a dazzling array of voice actors, most of whom are handpicked from Anderson’s usual repertoire of cast members (Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton and Jeff Goldblum, to name a few), this picture will also see the introduction of new faces (or rather, voices). Newcomers to the Wes world include Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston and Yoko Ono, all of which point to a film that is brimming with talent.
This decision for another animated film, however, could prove to be quite interesting. Anderson’s talents as director of animation are undoubted, but his decision to undertake another animated venture may mute his brilliance. Whilst Fantastic Mr. Fox was a hilarious and at times, quite touching film, a fan of his work could notice how certain elements of his filmmaking had been removed in favour of making his film more child friendly (namely swearing and explicit violence, which added so much to the hilarity of Rushmore and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). Since this is another animated film, one can expect a similar effect to be produced.
Anderson is at his best when he doesn’t have a particular audience in mind – from three brothers getting high in the Indian desert in The Darjeeling Limited, to Mr Gustav’s taste for elderly women in The Grand Budapest Hotel, playful vulgarity is what makes Wes’ films so entertaining. Since Mr Anderson is incapable of making a sub-par movie, as an audience this is reassuring, but it is a shame to see him limiting the scope of his work.
Quite uncharacteristically, this is also the first Wes Anderson film to be set in the future. One glance at the trailer reveals Isle of Dogs as a film flirting with the idea of being a science fiction film, treading new ground for Anderson’s collection of films. Comfortingly, however, any fears of Wes straying too far from the beaten path are put to rest by the trailer sporting an obscure song from the 1960s (‘I won’t hurt you’ by The West Coast Pop Arts Experimental Band) adhering to the trademark nostalgic soundtrack that is present in all his prior films.
Regardless of the obvious alterations made to the Wes Anderson formulae, evolution and change is not necessarily a bad thing, and one shouldn’t cast aspersions based on a two-minute trailer. We can only wait with gleeful anticipation until we can once again immerse ourselves in the wonder world of Wes. Isle of Dogs is set to hit cinemas in March of 2018.