12 Essential Stop-Motion Animated Movies

stop-motion animated movies

(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: here are the most essential stop-motion animated movies.)

Stop-motion animation is largely seen as a quaint relic. An animation style that has roots in the earliest days of cinema — the first reported film to use stop-motion animation was Vitagraph’s lost 1897 film Humpty Dumpty Circus. Stop-motion would remain at the cutting edge of movie-making, central to special effects used in live-action movies like Star Wars, and winning mainstream popularity at the height of the animation renaissance in the ‘90s.

Stop-motion animation is the manipulation of any physical object — ranging from paper cutouts, puppets, Lego bricks, and yes, clay. It’s one of the most tedious formats you can imagine, requiring hours to set up a simple one-minute shot. But despite the domination of CG animation in the past decade, stop-motion is here to stay. Just look to this year’s Berlinale darling, Isle of the Dogs, and the latest Aardman film Early Man.

Here are the most essential stop-motion animated movies.

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Star Wars rebels ending

Most shows don’t introduce brand new characters in the final minutes of their series finale, but Star Wars Rebels did just that. Rebels creator Dave Filoni now reveals the somewhat vague plans for that new character. Also: is there a chance this character ties into the Knights of Ren? Let’s speculate wildly. More on the new Star Wars Rebels character below.

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Pixar Pier concept art

Disneyland’s California Adventure already has an area devoted to the Cars franchise and A Bug’s Life, but the park is about to get a fresh injection of Pixar-themed content at the newly-revamped Pixar Pier, which is replacing Paradise Pier. The official Disney Parks Blog has unveiled some new Pixar Pier concept art, including neighborhoods devoted to Toy Story, The Incredibles, and more. Read More »

The Simpsons - Who Shot Mr. Burns Pitch

One of the most famous episodes of The Simpsons is the two-part mystery episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns?” that aired in 1995 as part of both the sixth and seventh season of the animated comedy series. Taking cues from the famous Dallas cliffhanger episode about who shot J.R. Ewing, the mystery was created in the season finale of the sixth season and wouldn’t be solved until the season premiere of the season seven.

It was quite the television event, with fans looking for clues and trying to figure out who shot Springfield’s maligned millionaire. While we all know that the culprit ridiculously turned out to be none other than Maggie Simpson, the original pitch for the episode had a variety of threads that could have been followed to reveal someone else behind the crime. A hard copy of the Who Shot Mr. Burns pitch has emerged online and provides some new details on where the episode could have gone. Read More »

TV Bits Kenneth Lonergan

In this edition of TV bits:

  • Seth Rogen has yet another TV project in the works
  • Manchester By The Sea director Kenneth Lonergan will make more films for Amazon
  • Speaking of Amazon, they’re going to be making their first animated series for adults
  • The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj gets his own Netflix talk show
  • Transparent will probably not return this year due to Jeffery Tambor‘s firing

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

the grinch trailer

That mean green bastard The Grinch is back in an all-new animated movie. Yes, that nasty wasty skunk is returning to ruin Christmas for the Whos down in Whoville, so you better get out of his way. The new The Grinch trailer awaits you below, in all its green glory.

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ashoka and sabine

The Star Wars Rebels finale raises just as many questions as it answers. I very much enjoyed this final installment of the Disney XD series, but am surprised that the story seems far from concluded. The ending even appears to feature a cliffhanger that teases a new adventure which could be explored in another Star Wars animated series or feature film. But was that the intention? Find out what showrunner Dave Filoni had to say about the Star Wars Rebels ending.

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Star Wars rebels finale

The Star Wars Rebels finale airs tonight, but if you were expecting the animated show’s conclusion to tie directly into the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, think again. In a video interview, Rebels creator Dave Filoni offers up the reasoning behind not including the Rogue One Battle of Scarif in the Star Wars Rebels finale.

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Frozen 2 update

2013’s Frozen became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, so it’s fair to say that expectations will be pretty high when Frozen 2 comes out next year. But even before the original became a worldwide smash hit, one of the film’s directors initially didn’t think she’d be doing a sequel at all.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Lee, who wrote and co-directed Frozen and will be doing the same for its sequel, and she told me about what made her change her mind about returning to the world of Arendelle once again.
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Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

In this edition of Sequel Bits:

  • Game Night writer already has sequel ideas
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw didn’t know The Cloverfield Paradox was going to drop on Netflix
  • J.J. Abrams explains the Cloverfield Paradox ending
  • The Purge TV series casts its leads
  • Planet of the Apes VR game gets a trailer
  • Wreck-It-Ralph 2 directors discuss their sequel
  • Frozen 2 director dances around the issue of Elsa having a girlfriend
  • Bruce Campbell says another Evil Dead movie is possible
  • Bruce Willis wakes up from a nap to remind us Die Hard 6 is still happening
  • World War Z 2 filming pushed back so Brad Pitt can film Quentin Tarantino‘s new movie

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