You’d think a stop motion animated movie with a Hollywood cast from a beloved filmmaker would have something to offer in the bonus features.
That is and isn’t the case on the Isle of Dogs Blu-ray. All that’s found in the “Extras” menu on the Blu-ray disc are “Promotional Featurettes”, a “Gallery” and the “Theatrical Trailer”.
I can’t find the 15 pictures from the gallery online, but everything else was released on the Fox Searchlight YouTube channel when the movie was beginning its run in theaters in March and April.
Every feature covers aspects of the making of the film with commentary from the cast and filmmakers. Every physically made set and puppet seems to get a few seconds of screentime. That’s great, but I’m not kidding about “a few seconds.” Don’t expect a particular scene or character in the movie to be fleshed out.
The first feature focuses on the animators performing tasks like lip-syncing the animals and working on their movements.
You know the generic interviews on the DVDs where the cast has to talk about their characters? Here, they replace the actors with the dog puppets. Not so generic anymore. To make it even better, the filmmakers had a great sense of humor and used a bit of the actor’s rambling to make this a feature something to behold.
On YouTube, they allow you to turn the video in 360 degrees and see a time lapse of the puppeteers creating the movements, which makes YouTube better than the Blu-ray in this case. There’s even a little message at the end of the feature on the Blu-ray that tells you to go on Google to watch the video in virtual reality.
This one is more of an in-depth look at the design of the puppets. You’ll see the artists putting freckles on Greta Gerwig’s character and placing sheared animal hairs on the dog puppets.
“An Ode to Dogs on Set” features footage of dogs running around the animation studio with audio of Bryan Cranston, Gerwig and more talking about man’s best friend. It’s unfortunately a bit too much footage of the movie than the actual dogs on the set. Plus, the feature is only a couple of minutes long. Come on, Wes Anderson.
This feature goes over the set design. Designers talk about handcrafting garbage and the coherent and organized design one could expect a Wes Anderson movie to be like.
Anybody who thinks the water or fire involved computer effects needs to give the next video a watch. It’s truly amazing what these animators do.
Wes Anderson has made his fans wait for bonus features in the past. He has released two films on Blu-ray through the theatrical distributor upon initial release and then let the crew at Criterion make the next iteration of the Blu-ray.
Moonrise Kingdom had three measly bonus features on its original Blu-ray and then came to Criterion three years later with an audio commentary, 20 minutes of iPhone home movies from Edward Norton, 18 minutes of behind-the-scenes videos and more. Similar story for Fantastic Mr. Fox where a bonus feature-heavy Criterion release came four years after the original Blu-ray. Even worse, judging by the lists of bonus features on Blu-ray.com, it doesn’t even appear that all of the content from Moonrise or Fox is ported to their respective Criterion releases.
Moonrise and Fox have been the only Wes Anderson movies to receive this treatment while the five pre-Fox Wes Anderson movies were all initially released on Criterion. And all with substantial amounts of bonus features.
The Grand Budapest Hotel was released in theaters and on Blu-ray in 2014 with more content than the original release of Moonrise but a hair less than the original Fox Blu-ray.
Criterion has not announced a release for Grand Budapest or Isle of Dogs.