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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Cool Stuff: Nightmare Town Toy Display

Nightmare Before Christmas

Nightmare Before Christmas use to be one of my favorite films. Tim Burton‘s designs would make such great toys, but all the releases from the Nightmare series have disappointed me to the point of no purchase. I did buy up all of the small figures from Burton’s short story book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, and those figures proudly stand on display on one of my book shelves.

At Toy Fair, Jun Planning revealed an early version of the Nightmare Town display. How cool is this? The 6 x 6 display is broken up, and will probably be sold in four separate pieces with the infamous Spiral Hill sold as a fifth. The only problem with something is cool as this is finding the room to display it.

Check out more photos after the jump. As always, click to enlarge.

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