Isle of Dogs

First trailer for ‘Isle of Dogs’ takes you inside Wes Anderson’s next animated film

The first trailer for Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” was released Thursday, giving the most revealing look yet at the filmmaker’s upcoming movie, which Fox Searchlight will release in March.

The new project is the first feature from Anderson since 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which earned the filmmaker Oscar nominations for directing, writing and best picture.

“Dogs” finds Anderson returning to the painstaking stop-motion animation style of his 2009 Roald Dahl adaptation, “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The new film again exists in a world in which anthropomorphized animals and humans exist together.

It also features another impressively large ensemble cast of voice actors, a mix of newcomers and returning players including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Harvey Keitel and Yoko Ono.

A voiceover on the trailer describes the setting as “the Japanese archipelago, 20 years in the future,” while the film’s official synopsis more specifically locates the action in “Megasaki City.” An outbreak of dog flu causes the city’s leadership to place all dogs on a garbage dump known as Trash Island. A young boy named Atari Kobayashi goes to the island in search of his dog Spots.

Wes Anderson's next film is "Isle of Dogs." (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles)
Wes Anderson’s next film is “Isle of Dogs.” (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles)

Anderson’s previous films have often been set in stylized versions of real places, such as the not-quite New York City of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and the memory-book New England of “Moonrise Kingdom.”“The Darjeeling Limited” was shot and set largely in India, which not surprisingly opened Anderson up to some criticism of engaging in a form of cultural tourism and/or appropriation.

Consciously or not, Anderson seems to be looking to head that conversation off this time by featuring an extensive cast of Japanese voice performers on “Isle of Dogs,” including Kunichi Nomura, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, Yojiro Noda, Koyu Rankin, Ken Watanabe, Mari Natsuki and Nijiro Murakami.

In an interview with The Times around the release of “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Anderson expressed some surprise at the connections people see among his movies, since his goal is to make each one wholly distinctive.

“I know often people see my movies linked to each other, which I totally understand why they see that,” Anderson said. “But for me I’m just doing a completely different story. I make no effort to make them anything like each other. I just do ’em the way I like to do ’em.”



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