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Wes Anderson's New Movie Sends a Bunch of Dogs to an Island of Trash

The 'Royal Tenenbaums' director ventures into dystopian territory in his second stop-motion feature, 'Isle of Dogs.'

by Beckett Mufson
Sep 21 2017, 5:30pm

Screencap via YouTube

On Thursday, Fox Searchlight Pictures released the first full-length trailer for Wes Anderson's new stop-motion animated film, Isle of Dogs, and it touches on our modern fear of uncontrollable diseases, overpowered leaders, and, worst of all, life without our canine companions.

Set 20 years in the future, the dystopian-looking film finds a Japanese city afflicted by an overwhelming dog flu. When the mayor declares an emergency quarantine and sends every dog to a tiny spot of land called Trash Island, his 12-year-old ward Atari Kobayashi breaks the travel ban and steals a plane to go rescue his pup Spots from the maggot-infested hellhole.

The cast packs unbelievable star power into tiny, animated dog bodies, including regular Anderson collaborators like Bill Murray, Edward Norton, and Tilda Swinton, as well as new voices from Bryan Cranston, Greta Gerwig, Yoko Ono, and whoever won that raffle Anderson hosted last year.

In a 2012 write-up of Moonrise Kingdom, the New Yorker's Ian Crouch wrote about how Anderson had "broken one of Hollywood's biggest taboos: he offed the dog," a practice the 48-year-old filmmaker has repeated across his movies. Given the poor survival rate of dogs in his films, the war between the "pack of scary, indestructible alpha dogs" and the high-octane robo pups in Isle of Dogs takes on an especially ominous tone.

The stakes are higher than ever, and, as one newscaster says in the trailer, "It's gonna be a fight."

Isle of Dogs is set to hit theaters on March 23, 2018.