Wes Anderson’s latest animated film Isle of Dogs is planned for release on April 20, 2018, but up until now, we haven’t been given a whole lot of info about it except that, duh, it’s about dogs on an island, and also duh, it has an all-star cast that includes the likes of Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono.
But the trailer, which is equal parts adorable and intense, dropped yesterday, and here’s what we now know: Set in a dystopian, futuristic Japan, the plot centers on young Atari Kobayashi, who is searching for his missing dog after the corrupt Mayor Kobayashi (who is presumably of some relation) exiles all canines to a garbage-filled islet aptly named Trash Island. Not exactly the best way to garner approval, Mr. Mayor.
“Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies across the river in search of his bodyguard dog, Spots,” narrator Courtney B. Vance explains. “There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture.”
Anderson has previously claimed the film’s aesthetic is inspired largely by the work of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, as well as old-school Rankin Bass stop-motion Christmas specials (think Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), and you can definitely see that influence here. In fact, there’s something about the animation style that feels kind of eerie, which I suppose is fitting for a film about a society that sequesters animals on a desolate, garbage-filled island.
Anderson, who, since his debut with Bottle Rocket in 1994, had been releasing a new film at least every three years, has recently been on something of a hiatus. By the time Isle of Dogs hits theatres in 2018, it will have been over four years since his last release, The Grand Budapest Hotel. Which means Anderson fans will be out in full force for this one, and rightfully so.