“Isle of Dogs” (Fox Searchlight)
By Catholic News Service
This highly stylized stop-motion animation pushes the limits of writer-director Wes Anderson’s customary deadpan drollery, and the dark, lonely world he creates as its backdrop is most definitely not for small children.
Feared as disease carriers, all dogs are banished from a Japanese city by its formidable and corrupt mayor (voice of Kunichi Nomura) and exiled to the aptly named Trash Island. There, surrounded by giant mountains of garbage, they compete for rotten food scraps. When the mayor’s 12-year-old orphaned ward (voice of Koyu Rankin) arrives, searching for his deported pet (voice of Liev Schreiber), he’s aided in his poignant quest by a quartet of other formerly pampered pooches (voices of Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban and Jeff Goldblum) and by the street mutt (voice of Bryan Cranston) with whom they have allied themselves in their struggle for survival. Well-grounded older teens can probably handle this weighty, grim fable that ultimately finds the animals threatened with mass extermination.
Mature themes and images, fleeting surgical gore, a single instance of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.