Stop-motion movies are a niche but beloved presence in theaters. These are 13 of the best I recommend you to catch up on
With intriguing films like Mad God rapidly rising in popularity, cinephiles may wonder if they would have the patience to move clay puppets an inch, every day all day, just to tell a story. While it is undoubtedly a tiring process, the visual appeal of stop-motion films is worth it for filmmakers.
The art form of stop-motion dates back to the 19th century, although in more recent times it has taken on a life of its own in the form of feature films. From stop-motion classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas to underrated films like Mary and Max, it’s easy to see why fans and critics love this captivating art style so much.
In a world of ghosts and zombies, Norman must investigate the mysteries of the past and save the world. From the same studio that brought Coraline’s success to fans, it’s clear these animators have a clear niche of spooky claymation movies, and fans aren’t complaining.
Many fans of this art form are aware of how long it takes to create a claymation film using the stop-motion technique, but Laika Studios made history with this film. According to Laika Studios, “ParaNorman is the first stop-motion film to use a color 3D printer to create replacement faces for its puppets,” which definitely helps speed production.
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The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)
A true vintage claymation tale, The Adventures of Mark Twain takes viewers on a journey with a claymation Mark and some of his most famous characters. A biopic of the same title was made in 1944, but this retelling brings Twain’s true imagination to life.
Although the animation style is quite dated, the film has stood the test of time for book lovers everywhere, as it has also made history. According to Fudge Animation, the film was the first feature film in claymation and stop motion.
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
This beloved British film franchise quickly became a success, with its many short films and spin-offs. However, in this specific and somewhat disturbing film, the fantasy is such that viewers cannot help but be intrigued.
As the film is now over 15 years old, it’s fun for fans to take a look back at what the animators were able to accomplish at such different times. Although Gromit never speaks, it took 43 different Gromit models and 30 animators to create his performance alone, according to the official Wallace and Gromit website. I recommend Wallace and Gromit there are many short films and feature films besides this one that I highly recommend you to catch up on.
This creepy short film is Tim Burton’s first legitimate project and remains one of his most acclaimed to this day. While it’s not as successful a feature film as the ones the artist is known for creating, many fans admire Burton’s poetic yet dark gaze.
Between the instantly recognizable art style and truly disturbing family stories, viewers are convinced that Burton is the king of claymation and stop motion films. The film proves that Burton has always had a clear vision that has morphed into one of the most recognizable animation styles of all time.
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The Corpse Bride (2005)
Corpse Bride is among Tim Burton’s most popular films, both for art and unique story. The plot unites the worlds of the living and the dead, as Victor finds it increasingly difficult to cut ties with a hard-to-untie deal.
Although technically a claymation film due to the material used to sculpt the figures, the production team refers to the figures as puppets with special technology. According to VFXWorld magazine, the puppets were equipped with special gears that allowed them to change expression more quickly, making the production process smoother.
Shaun The Sheep Movie (2015)
Between the popular short films on the Disney Channel and the numerous films that have been based on the franchise, it can be said that Shaun The Sheep is a much loved saga by fans. Not only are the sheep adorable, but the stories are delicately hilarious, as sheep always get themselves into chaos one way or another.
The Wallace & Gromit spin-off is interesting because, according to Netflix, none of the animals ever talk. While they may emit some occasional sound effects, this fact makes it all the more impressive that the storytelling and visuals alone are enough to get a high critical rating.
This claymation film is one of the most creative of the bunch, as it stages a dark and gloomy fantasy world. Despite the Tim Burton vibe, the film is actually a Laika Studios production, directed by Henry Selick, whose style is quite similar to Burton’s.
However, the film showcased Selick’s true narrative talent, with vivid and even trippy visuals that are enough to scare even the grown-ups. Since its release, the film has developed a following of loyal fans who appreciate deep symbolism and captivating animation.
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Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The film that was initially perceived as a creepy animated horror film for children has turned out to be one of the most beloved and genuine claymation films. Not only is the story spectacular and iconic, but fans are always impressed to find out how intricate the animation process was.
The production of this spooky classic took about 3 years, as each second of the film required 24 different frames in stop motion. The behind-the-scenes footage is really inspiring for the fans, as it’s clear that the animators had a lot of patience and believed in the greatness of the project, which has certainly paid off.
Mary and Max (2009)
Despite the childhood animation style, this story offers a very important insight into how the human race celebrates its differences. Viewers see two unlikely pen pals becoming friends over time, even though they may be in different life stages.
Although the film leverages an outdated diagnosis of Asperger’s, viewers with autism find this in-depth narrative and depiction to be absolutely necessary and important. Even for those who don’t know much about this neurological condition, the film can be a great carefree resource that everyone can learn from.
The Boxtrolls (2014)
Focus Features ventured into claymation in 2014, creating The Box Trolls. The attention to detail that has been given to this particular film is incredible and super weird too. The story centers on a little boy whose only friends are garbage collectors living in caves.
However, the child learns of the arrival of an exterminator, bad news for his best friends, and sets off on a mission to save them all, without exception. In addition to being a weird story, this film also contains a series of musical montages, all of which have their own kind of weirdness.
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Hens on the Run (2000)
With the voices of stars like Mel Gibson, this fun children’s film tells the many adventures of a group of chickens trying to free themselves from their evil masters. Not only did the film require a lot of imagination and creativity, it was one of the first of its kind in the early 2000s, kicking off a new wave of popularity for claymation films.
This fun and clever film paved the way for children’s films and the Academy itself. The animated film entered the history of the Oscars by creating the need to create the new category of the Best Animated Film, a fact that not many fans of Chicken Run are aware of.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
After discovering that her partner Felicity will give birth to her first child, the fox Mr. Fox decides to change his life by giving us a break with the thefts in the chicken coops. But you can resist everything, except your own instincts.
In a creative path that has always managed to be honest, consistent and recognizable like that of very few other filmmakers, Fantastic Mr. Fox represents for Wes Anderson’s cinema, if not a new beginning, certainly a healthy breath of fresh air. . Fantastic Mr. Fox is an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Furbo novel, Mr. Fox, which is aimed at an adult audience rather than younger viewers.
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Isle of Dogs (2018)
Japan, 2037. The uncontrolled growth in the number of dogs and the spread of a mysterious “dog flu” forces the mayor of the city of Megasaki to adopt a drastic emergency measure: quarantine all the dogs in the country, segregating them on a island intended for the accumulation of waste and garbage
Nine years after Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Wes Anderson returns to stop-motion animation, confirming a great skill in handling this technique that requires long processes and a skill that is anything but common, managing to build highly suggestive shots with a geometric and rigorous staging.