Learning to animate? Try watching some classic stop motion films!
How did you first become interested in the world of stop motion animation?
For many of us, the answer is that we saw a stop motion movie or television series in our youth. The movie industry has been making use of stop motion techniques for a century, both through full-length animated films and also to create special effects in blockbusters such as King Kong (1933), Clash of the Titans (1981), and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Television series which have inspired viewers to take an interest in animation include Gumby (1955), The Magic Roundabout (1964) and Pingu (1986).
We’re going to list a few of our favourite stop motion films below to highlight the cream of the crop.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton’s classic stop motion film has become a modern classic since it was first released. The movie tells the story of the ‘Pumpkin King’ Jack Skellington and his attempt to blend his town’s Halloween theme with a traditional Christmas celebration. The music of The Nightmare Before Christmas adds a delightfully creepy feel to the story. Fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas will probably also enjoy Tim Burton’s other projects: James and the Giant Peach, Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie.
Chicken Run (2000)
No list of prominent stop motion animations would be complete without an entry from Aardman Animations. Famous for Creature Comforts, Morph, Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and The Pirates!, Aardman Animations have made a name for themselves thanks to their distinctive claymation style and reputation for high quality. Chicken Run was their very first foray into the field of feature-length movies and an instant hit with kids all over the world. The story follows a group of chickens trying to escape from their farm to avoid being eaten. Their comical mishaps and adventures ensure that this film is a great watch from start to finish.
Peter and the Wolf (2006)
One of the less famous titles in our list, the award-winning Peter and the Wolf was actually animated by Se-ma-for Studios in Poland. There are no speaking parts so the film’s story is told entirely through the stop motion animation and background music. We were very impressed the first time we saw Peter and the Wolf; if you haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, why not give it a try?
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Fantastic Mr. Fox was based on a book by famous author Roald Dahl about a family of foxes and their struggles with their local farmers. The original Fantastic Mr. Fox novel was published way back in 1970, yet thanks to the film’s clever blend of different animation techniques it’s become popular all over again with children today.
Tim Burton can’t take all of the credit for The Nightmare Before Christmas; its director Henry Selick had a huge influence on the creation of the film. This is obvious as soon as you watch Coraline, a whimsical movie about a girl who discovers a secret ‘Other’ world in her new home. Laika, the studio behind Coraline, have since released ParaNorman to cement their position as big names in the stop motion world. The Boxtrolls (based on Here Be Monsters!) will be their next feature film.
Have you been inspired by a classic stop motion animation? Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments section!