Isle of Dogs

Wes Anderson returns to stop-motion animation—the form that generated one of his best features, Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)—for this fanciful tale of renegade pooches in Japan. Twenty years in the future, canine overpopulation and disease force the mayor of fictional Megasaki City to banish every dog to a nearby trash island, where they live out a bleak and hungry existence until the day the mayor’s young ward crash-lands his plane among them. The little crew of alpha dogs (given voice by Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, and Jeff Goldblum) were modeled on the hard-bitten characters in Akira Kurosawa’s crime dramas, and the magical settings, obsessively detailed in the Anderson manner, were inspired by the woodblock prints of the Edo period. Mr. Fox, based on a Roald Dahl book, had a winsomeness this movie lacks, but the director and his hip writing partners (Jason Schwartzman, Roman Coppola, Kunichi Nomura) infuse their imaginary world with winning deadpan humor.