People have raised concerns about Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs. It's cultural appropriation. It's racist, or at the very least xenophobic. For the first, I couldn't give a fig. When an artist creates something they inevitably appropriate; creation requires that. The second, I honestly don't feel strongly about. Definitely the Japan of the film is a stereotypical Japan--that sushi scene? Perfect!-- but is it racist or xenophobic? I don't think so, but then I'm not the one being depicted. (If anything, I felt that the sassy American exchange student was an even greater stereotype, and I did wonder why the role couldn't have been given to a non-conformist Japanese character.) I did read What It’s Like to Watch Isle of Dogs As a Japanese Speaker, and it reassured me somewhat that I was not being insensitive.

As for the film, I just loved it. No spoilers, but everything works out for the best in the end, just as you would expect. Even the evil dictator figure comes around, though not his even more evil henchman. And the dogs are just great dogs. Stop-motion, animation, models; only after the film, and seeing the endless list of credits roll by, did I even start to think about what was involved in making Isle of Dogs. And now, of course, I really want to see The Making of Isle of Dogs.

My rating:

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