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The Wes Anderson Collection: Isle Of Dogs Book Review

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Wes Anderson fans are sure to love this insightful look into the making of “Isle of Dogs.”

Written by Lauren Wilford and Ryan Stevenson, the Abrams book “The Wes Anderson Collection: Isle Of Dogs” is a companion book to the stop-motion animated film “Isle of Dogs” which was released earlier in 2018. To say this book is crammed with content in an understatement. It kicks off with a foreword by film critic Matt Zoller Seitz about the artistry of Wes Anderson (among other topics) and

another intro by animator Taylor Ramos and filmmaker Tony Zhou who chat about animation and the age old boy and his dog story. After that it’s a nearly overwhelming assortment of material that really digs deep into how this film was made from every aspect of production. There is a TON of interviews here with interviews with Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman (each of whom discuss pre-production, voice recordings, Akira Kurosawa, dogs, and writing), Japanese translator Kunichi Nomura (who talks about working with Wes and casting), actor Bryan Cranston, storyboard artist Jay Clarke and animatic editor Edward Bursch (both of whom delve into animatics, drawing, and sound), head of puppets department Andy Gent (who speaks of puppets and real dogs at the workshop), costume designer Maggie Haden, production designer Paul Harrod, lead graphic designer Erica Dorn, lead animators Jason Stalman and Kim Keukeleire, DP Tirstan Oliver (who really describes the process of shooting an animated film in comparison to a live-action one), visual effects supervisor Tim Ledbury, animation director Mark Waring, Takio composer and advisor Kaoru Watanabe who discusses the distinct Japanese music style, and, finally, a second interview with Wes Anderson who details his experience of directing animation and mentions everything from Kurosawa (again) to other works of cinema.

Interviews are most certainly not the only thing within these pages. Readers can expect to see a plethora of artwork, stills of puppets, concept art, storyboards, script pages, graphics, film images, behind-the-scenes photos, animatics, sculpts, workshop photos, set photos, a variety of puppet faces for each emotion, as well as spotlights on Akira Kurosawa (whose work was a big influence on this film), the short film “Castello Cavacanti,” Japanese cinema, and author Richard Adams. The book concludes with a bibliography and credits.

However one may feel about cult director Wes Anderson’s work (is he a genius or a one trick pony?), one thing is for certain- “The Wes Anderson Collection: Isle Of Dogs” book is a fascinating deep dive into his mind and work. The book is nearly exhausting in how much it covers. Everything from the meticulous and perhaps maddening animation process to the hand crafted sets and production design work is covered. In fact, virtually all facets of production here are detailed which really gives the reader a picture of the monumental amount of work that went into making this project a reality. For anyone with an interest in animation, this book is especially an invaluable resource as there’s so much “inside the animation world” facts and stories.

As if that weren’t enough, the book is also informative in terms of really understanding the characters and story. From Wes Anderson’s own words (as well as words from other crew members), you’ll learn about the connections to other Wes Anderson works, the influences and reference points (Akira Kurosawa is all over this movie), character and sequence breakdowns, and so on.

Overall Thoughts: If you love Wes Anderson, you will love this book. It’s that simple.

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November 1, 2018 - Posted by | Book review | , , , ,

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