Isle of Dogs parents guide

Isle of Dogs Parent Guide

Wes Anderson puts his unique touch on this boy-and-his-dog story, that may amuse or bemuse the audience.

Overall B

Director Wes Anderson brings to life this stop-frame animation. Set in Japan, the story follows a young boy on a desperate (and quirky) search of his dog.

Release date April 13, 2018

Violence C
Sexual Content B
Profanity B
Substance Use B

Why is Isle of Dogs rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Isle of Dogs PG-13 for thematic elements and violent images

Run Time: 102 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

An old Japanese story tells of a family of cat lovers who convinced the public that dogs were a danger to their society. Then a boy samurai challenged their intent to kill all the canines. Decapitating the head of the Kobayashi clan, he single-swordedly saved the species.

History appears to be repeating itself in modern Japan, when man’s best friend is again threatened. This time it is with snout fever, a disease that leaves the animals with open wounds and aggressive natures. The incumbent Mayor, whose name is also Kobayashi (voice of Kunichi Nomura), has made an election promise to rid the city of the mangy mongrels by exiling them to an off-shore dump called Trash Island. To show his resolve, Mayor Kobayashi is the first to send one, taken from his own household. However, he ignores the fact that the guard dog Spots (voice of Liev Schreiber) is a pal to his orphaned nephew and legal ward, Atari (voice of Koyu Rankin).

Meanwhile, Professor Watanabe (voice of Akira Ito) claims the canine illness can be cured and the dogs can be saved. But his opposing opinion, extensive research and promising treatment are killed, because he is also the candidate running against Kobayashi for the position of Mayor.

When the brainwashed populous willingly banish their pets to the dog-eat-dog world of the rubbish heap, Atari steals a plane and pilots it to the isle, determined to rescue his pup. After a crash landing and a few injuries, the twelve-year-old is befriended by a pack of five alpha males (voices of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray and Jeff Goldblum). These pooches agree to help him find Spots, even though the boy is being pursued by Kobayashi’s minions and a new breed of mechanical mutts.

Wes Anderson, director and contributing script writer, puts his unique touch on this boy-and-his-dog story. Unfolding with a mix of traditional and stop-frame animation, the tale is infested with the kind of dry humor and cynicism found in some of his other projects (Moonrise Kingdom and Fantastic Mr. Fox). The production is playfully told in the Japanese language, with interpretation given by a state narrator (voice of Frances McDormand) and an exchange student (voice of Greta Gerwig). Fortunately, the dogs speak English.

Yet it is not all fun and games. Parents should be aware of the violent depictions which are included, some with embellished details. Animal cruelty and lab testing are both implied and depicted. A neglected child is threatened by his caregiver and corrupt officials. Murder and suicide are alluded to and shown. And weapons use, perilous situations and surgical procedures are illustrated.

Fans of Wes Anderson will likely be amused by this edition to his quirky body of work. Those experiencing his style for the first time may instead find themselves confused by his combination of serious content and strange comedy.

Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release April 13, 2018. Updated

Isle of Dogs
Rating & Content Info

Why is Isle of Dogs rated PG-13? Isle of Dogs is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic elements and violent images

Violence: This animated movie contains non-graphic and mildly explicit violence throughout, including depictions of decapitation, weapons use (swords, Tasers, nets, mechanical dogs) explosions and riots (protesters throw things at other people). Animals are abused and tortured during lab tests, caged, forced to eat rotting garbage, and treated cruelly by humans. Dogs growl, bite and get into fights with each other and with humans. One dog bites off the ear of another, and the dismembered ear is taken away by rats. A dog disease causes the animals to have open sores, and become lethargic or aggressive. Dogs fight for food: some starve to death (skeletons are shown), others resort to cannibalism (discussed but not shown). An airplane crash leaves a boy unconscious and injured: blood is shown when a piece of shrapnel is removed from his head. Other cuts, injuries, bruises, and a full body cast, are shown. Characters are chased, captured, bound and taken captive. Some people are threatened and murdered by corrupt government officials and their minions. The public is told these acts are suicide. Suicide is also mentioned by despairing characters. A human corpse is shown. Medical procedures and surgery are depicted with detail. A train crash is mentioned. Animals and people are intentionally subjected to poison, infectious illnesses and wrongful imprisonment. Characters cry over the loss of family members, pets and masters. A gas is used to euthanize. A cook butchers and cuts up a fish, crab and octopus. Characters are trapped in an incinerating machine, others fall into a fast-flowing stream of water. A character illegally hacks computer systems.

Sexual Content: A dog vomits. A sexy-looking female dog is shown. Dogs discuss mating and being in heat. A man’s bare shoulders are seen while he is in bathtub, and when he gets out his bare buttocks are exposed. Some mild sexual innuendo is heard. A human female wears a short skirt, and a male human is seen shirtless. A pregnant dog goes into labor. Characters embrace.

Profanity: A word for a female dog is used in its proper context and as an expletive. Two mild swear words, an anatomical slang and name-calling are heard. A geological formation is called a “middle finger”.

Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters toast after a scientific achievement. A sorrowful woman drinks alcohol in a bar setting. Dogs drink brandy for fortification.

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More parents' guide for Isle of Dogs after the break...

Isle of Dogs Parents' Guide

The people who live in this Japanize city are easily lead and mislead by their Mayor and other officials. Why do you think they are so trusting of the information they are given? Can media in the real world be manipulated too? How can you tell what is accurate and what is propaganda?

Atari is the only master who comes to rescue his dog. Why do you think he is the only one? Is he more loyal? Is he less afraid of the consequences of going to Trash Island? What other people eventually support his fight? What do you think of these teenaged protesters? How are they like, or different, than youth in the real world?

News About "Isle of Dogs"

Isle of Dogs is opening in limited release on March 23, 2018.

Home Video

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Wes Anderson also directed the live action movie Moonrise Kingdom and the animated Fantastic Mr. Fox.