Why 'Isle of Dogs' is a great movie for parents and older kids

Kinderling News & Features

It has to be said that ratings for movies aren’t always the best indication of whether it’s suitable or not for your children. 

Movies with a G rating can have some horrific scenes in them (remember the way Ursula dies in The Little Mermaid? You can’t get much worse than being speared in the gut with a ship’s mast).

I’ve let my kids watch some PG movies that were fine for them, and Isle of Dogs is one of them. My caveat is that it is a better movie for older children - say six and above, though younger kids might just enjoy watching the dogs (who doesn’t love a dog?)

What's Isle of Dogs about?

Set in a futuristic Japan, all the country’s dogs have been banished to “trash island” to protect humans from a dreaded dog flu that has infected all the dogs in Megasaki.  Twelve-year-old  Atari is determined to recover his dog Spots, and so starts his adventure, aided by a motley pack of dogs who save him from his plane after it crashes on the island.

Isle of Dogs has a star-studded cast including Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and even Yoko Ono makes an appearance. But I was so taken by the film itself I stopped trying to guessing who was who.

Why it’s better for older kids...

I took my daughter (who is six) and I think this is the youngest age that would enjoy this movie. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot, and some of that could be confusing for younger viewers.  While there is violence in the movie (with dogs attacking different protagonists) the action is highly stylised, so it isn’t confronting or “real”. 

I only covered Darcy’s eyes once, and that was when surgery (albeit a plasticine kidney replacement) was taking place (and took about five minutes to depict on screen).

Overall verdict

I really enjoyed Isle of Dogs. It has a refreshing look and sound about it, which can be rare in children’s movies. Director Wes Anderson had me hooked after Fantastic Mr Fox, and Isle of Dogs has a similar level of beautiful stop-animation, muted colour palates and atmospheric soundtrack. Darcy had a great time too, and I think my son (who is almost four) would enjoy it, if only for the great dog characters that are featured. Though, I might wait till the iTunes or Google Play release for him.