THE latest film by indie director Wes Anderson is not only worth watching for its stunning stop-motion animation but is also arguably his funniest movie yet.

The plot centres around a young boy looking for his pooch Spots, after an outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads to all dogs being quarantined on an island.

Along his journey he meets a group of other exiled dogs and the stellar cast and smart writing really bring these characters to life. All the trademarks of a Wes Anderson film are here, from the symmetrical cinematography and delightful visuals to the quirky, eccentric and often hilarious dialogue.

The film’s greatest strength is the interactions between the main canine characters, brilliantly voiced by Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Liev Schreiber and Bill Murray among other big names. The dialogue between these characters is sharp and produces some genuinely laugh out loud moments.

This is by no means Anderson’s best film – that title goes to The Royal Tenenbaums for me – but it is one of his most charming.

The score by Alexandre Desplat – who has contributed music to four of Anderson’s previous films – is simply stunning and pays homage to classic Japanese cinema. The use of drums in the action scenes is particularly effective.

The focus of the film is undoubtedly on the dogs themselves as most of the human characters speak in Japanese without subtitles but the film’s smart use of narration and news broadcasts keep the story moving without ever beginning to drag.

The director’s ability to get big name actors in small roles never fails to surprise me, the biggest example in this film being Oscar-winner Frances McDormand as the hilarious translator who frequently shows up seemingly to provide commentary for the events unfolding.

But the standout performer in the film is Bryan Cranston. The Breaking Bad actor provides a real levity to the film and the development of his character, Chief, is where the heart of the film really shines.

It is evident that the cast really enjoyed making this film, the interactions between the characters and the dialogue feel both fluid and natural.

Match that with a fantastic score, creative story and Anderson’s typical aesthetic style and you have a film the whole family can enjoy.

RATING: 8.5/10