Everyone who reads this blog know I have an ongoing love interface with Dog. We get each other. When our local picture house announced their first dog friendly screening of the new Wes Anderson film, Isle Of Dogs, I couldn’t resist. When you add in the fact that my nephew was a modeller on the film it became a no brainer.
I’m not normally a cinema buff at 11.30 am on a Sunday but this was to be the exception; an experiment for all of us. To begin with, and given my propensity for cock-ups when organising events, I did wonder if I’d be turned away with Dog between my legs as it were.
But no, there were other pooches making their way across Windrush Square to the cinema, owners looking equally unsure and dogs rather sceptical – ‘is this some sort of walk/sit thing?’.
Inside, the manager was there to greet us; a new departure for all. Could this become a thing? If it filled his theatre, then why not?
We were handed a blanket – Dog got his own seat – and some treats, as crunchy as popcorn, and you know what I think about popcorn, but, hey, when in Rome…
We took a snap; we were interviewed by a journalist and praised the cinema’s innovation. Through all this, Dog watched a basset hound with unmitigated suspicion – ‘is he coming along his row, because he’s not getting past me’.
There were a few yelps; a rather fatuous cartoon about clearing up any messes, with confirmation that doggie bags and water were available at the front and then the main film.
Dog squirmed a bit when the lights went down ‘Where is that basset? He’s not passing you know,’ but soon enough he had a snooze. Occasionally – when a bell sounded, during some Japanese drumming (the film had a Japanese anime quality to it) he perked up, once putting his paws on the seat in front (poodle, female, rather precious and above Dog’s pay-grade) and staring intently at the screen. He enjoyed the company if not big on the tyranny suffered by the dogs on the set.
But we loved the film. Ok, I have to be biased: my nephew modelled some of this; I went to the film studios in Bow and saw them at work and it was fascinating. I took Dog. But it was a good film. Then plot is complex and the characters an interesting mix. There’s lot of typical humour and having Brian Cranston voicing the main, rather cynical stray hero a masterstroke.
Anderson, he of Fantastic Mr Fox etc, wrote this himself and while it could be for children it is pretty deep with some rather grotesque stuff about experiments on dogs which makes the PG rating rather brave in a way. The ultimate baddy was rather too bad, if that makes sense – a bit too cartoonish, which is a shame. Villains need to have some redeeming features somewhere I feel, as otherwise, those scheming brutes wouldn’t, you feel get where they were without some sort of dissent. But then again, even the saintly Australian cricket team cheats so I suppose it happens… (schadenfreude? me?)
Go see the film; take a pooch if they let you. If not find out when your local will go dog-friendly. I know who’ll get my business in future.