(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.