First clip of Isle of Dogs is pure Wes Anderson: whimsical and vicious

A pack of dogs fight over a bag of rubbish in the first clip from Wes Anderson new stop motion animation Isle of Dogs

Article by Jamie Dunn | 07 Feb 2018
  • Isle of Dogs

It’s traditional for dogs to get hurt in Wes Anderson movies, from the family beagle that gets crushed under the wheels of Owen Wilson’s sports car in The Royal Tenenbaums to a fox terrier that's skewered by a Boy Scout’s stray arrow in Moonrise Kingdom. So you’d expect there will be some dogs getting hurt in his new animation Isle of Dogs, a film mostly populated by canine characters. And as expected, some fur flies in the first full clip from the movie.

Isle of Dogs is set in a future Japan, where a debilitating dog flu has resulted in man’s best friend being banished to an unpopulated trash strewn island. The new clip features two packs of dogs in a standoff over a rubbish bag that has just been deposited on the Isle. One of the packs, lead by Rex (Edward Norton), is a mish-mash of different breeds. The other pack are all fluffy English Sheepdogs with surprisingly pristine fur for animals who live on a huge rubbish tip.

As was the case with the various animal characters in Fantastic Mr Fox, Anderson's earlier stop motion animation, there seems to be a tension between the dogs’ civility and more natural instincts. In the middle of the standoff between the two packs, Rex interrupts the growling to suggest, very urbanely, that “before we attack each other and tear ourselves to shreds like a pack of maniacs, lets just open the sack first and see what’s actually in it.”

Despite the most appetising morsels being a dried-up pickle, a rancid apple core and some maggots, the dogs' natural instincts kick in and they go to war over the meager pickings. Take a look at the bloody battle below or on Vulture.


Isle of Dogs has its world premiere at Berlin Film Festival on 15 Feb, before opening Glasgow Film Festival on 21 Feb. Isle of Dogs is then released in UK cinemas 30 Mar by 20th Century Fox