“Isle of Dogs” is cute, as its trailer promises, but it is cold and insubstantial. There’s a scene on the eponymous Isle of Dogs where the main characters stumble upon the canine skeleton of a beloved household pet who starved to death in a locked cage. I love dogs and just the thought of that scene should reduce me to tears. I felt nothing, and that was my reaction to the entire movie. I didn’t laugh or cry. I just didn’t care. Cute dog puppets? Check. Anything else? Not much.
I did love the taiko drum soundtrack, and hope to buy it. But taiko drumming has nothing to do with dogs. I also really liked the voice talent, including Bryan Cranston, who is just terrific and memorable as the voice of a tough stray dog, Jeff Goldblum, F. Murray Abraham, and Edward Norton.
The plot is unnecessarily convoluted and violent, and told rather than shown. There is endless voiceover narration. “And then this happened and then this happened and then this happened.” Everything is so exaggerated and divorced from any real dogginess that I could not relate.