Marooning a pack of dogs on a dystopian Japanese island, the auteur’s new animation is an inspiringly detailed and surprisingly rough-edged treat
It’s well known that for Wes Anderson, the world is one big toy box. The prodigious American auteur proved that with his last feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which turned its human cast into comic puppets placed in a gorgeously crafted train-set universe. Now he proves it again – if anything, more extravagantly – with Isle of Dogs, an animation which, like its predecessor, opens the Berlin film festival in scintillating style.
Anderson has tried his hand at stop-motion animation before with the Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox, but this new talking-animal entertainment is considerably more sophisticated and ambitious. It’s set in a near-future Japan, where Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura, one of the film’s co-writers), the corrupt mayor of fictional city Megasaki, has taken draconian measures to curb the spread of various canine diseases, including the dreaded “snout fever”. He orders all Megasaki’s dogs to be exiled to a bleak island, essentially a huge offshore trashpile.
The animated show assumes a workplace comedy approach to the Trump White House to hilarious effect
Before watching the new animated series Our Cartoon President, I thought I’d come down with a serious case of Trump Satire Fatigue, or TSF. Everywhere we turn the president is getting roasted, deservedly so, by someone new: the late-night hosts, Saturday Night Live, American Horror Story, Michael Moore. At a certain point the race to save democracy via comedy becomes its own feedback loop, an indistinguishable glob of gags extracted from a man so lacking in subtext that the outrageous things he says are earnestly defended, by his handlers a day later, as jokes. Such is the profuse, and prosperous, state of political satire in 2018.
Related: The cartoon president – Trump has wielded power in comics for years
Illumination and Nintendo to co-finance an animated Mario film, produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri
Nintendo has announced that a new film featuring its iconic character Mario has entered into development. The Japanese video game giant is partnering with Illumination Entertainment, the American film and animation studio behind Despicable Me.
Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario series of video games, will produce the film with Illumination’s CEO Chris Meledandri. It will be distributed by Universal Pictures.
Nick Park has created another stop-motion masterpiece. We go behind the scenes with stars Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston, and ask Park what’s next for Wallace and Gromit
Deep in the bowels of Bristol’s Aztec West studios, Aardman Animations animator Grant Maisey is exhibiting the fruits of a day’s labour. “This is where I’ve got to at the moment,” he says, pressing play on his desktop. A clip shows a small claymation figure striking a gong. It lasts about three or four seconds. “… aaaand that’s a day’s work.” In total, the scene Maisey is filming contains 340 frames – about 14 seconds’ worth – “so that should take me another two days”, he says surprisingly cheerfully.
Such is the lot for an employee at Aardman, a studio seemingly founded to redefine the word “painstaking”. This is the studio, after all, who willingly – or perhaps wilfully – continue to make their films through that most time-sensitive of processes, stop-motion animation, laboriously bringing their creations to life frame-by-frame. Not only that, against all the odds, they have managed to thrive while doing so; Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and Pirates! are all stop-motion films that have grossed hundreds of millions at the box office, while being hailed by critics and fans. On only a couple of occasions have they succumbed to CGI’s siren song – most notably with the Dreamworks co-production Flushed Away, surely not coincidentally a rare flop for Aardman – but their most recent efforts have returned to the medium that made their name.