Wes Anderson’s latest movie is nearly upon us, and that means it’s time for the MPAA to pass judgement on its content. Somewhat surprisingly, for an animated film, Isle of Dogs has received a PG-13 rating, for “thematic elements and violent images.”
Anderson’s live-action films have mostly been rated R, with the exception of the PG-13 Moonrise Kingdom, adorably so rated for “sexual content and smoking.” But fellow animated Anderson film Fantastic Mr. Fox - a more useful comparison point - was rated PG, for “action, smoking and slang humor.” Given that both films share kooky, loveable animated animals as lead characters, one might have expected a family-friendly rating for this outing. But that dastardly Wes Anderson has other plans.
Will parents cry foul when they take their children to the new animated dog movie (“it’s just like Wallace and Gromit, kids!”) only to be confronted by said “violent images”? Will the presence of “thematic elements” be too much for the guardians of young minds to bear? Personally, I give kids credit with regards to what kind of material they can handle; in my experience creating children's theatre, for example, they secretly enjoy scary shit, as long as the tension gets defused, and they openly love violent shit, as long as it’s meted out upon the baddies. But many parents are protective, and the children of protective parents tend to end up fragile. So the cycle goes.
It remains to be seen, of course, what particular flavour of thematic and violent content Isle of Dogs contains. I could be wrong; the MPAA may even have been easy on the film in its judgement. We’ll find out secondhand when the film opens the Berlin Film Festival on February 15 (the first-ever animated film to do so), and firsthand when it opens wide on March 23.