Stop-Motion Animation

Clay Animation

It’s my favorite kind of animation. I admire the artists who move their subjects shot by shot to create a story with a unique twist.  There’s something very comforting about the format designed for children. Lately, I’ve noticed stop animation films are aimed toward adults. Here are two I like very much:

Mary and Max (2009)

Based on a true story, it’s a sublime dark comedy. Definitely for adults. You can read my post here:

https://cindybruchman.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/film-spotlight-mary-and-max/

 Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

What is the true form of reality? Can you prove God exists if you can’t see Him? If you can’t hear a tree fall in the woods, did it fall? Is perceived reality the same as the true form of reality? Ah, those wonderful philosophical questions. If you can spare three mintues, watch this clamation short.  It’s great.

There are cozy, stop-animation films aimed specifically for children to entertain. Now think about stop-motion animation from the past twenty years. Do many seem rather dark to you?

Coraline (2009)

Coraline is creepy. Taking a format designed for children and twisting it to appeal to adults is what animation is all about these days. There’s something about a doll-face or protagonist devoid of eyes that’s disturbing.

I guess that’s the point. Are you brilliant Tim Burton or nuts? What a dark empire you have created.

In the past we had King Kong and Ray Harryhausen’s magic. What about today’s stop animation? What are some of your favorites?

There are times when stop-motion animation in an adult film is very effective. Do you like the Brothers Quay? In the film Frida, their sequence to illustrate her tragic accident was outstanding.

27 thoughts on “Stop-Motion Animation

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  1. Hi, Cindy:

    Still remember ‘Davey & Goliath’ and ‘Gumby’. Though the master of stop motion animation is and always will be Ray Harryhausen. His protege work in the original ‘King Kong’ caught my attention early on. Still think his best work is in ‘The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms’ and its rampaging through the boroughs. And a standoff at the Coney Island roller coaster. With a young Lee Van Cleef and his Radiun injecting rifle grenade.

    ‘Wallace & Grommit’ is cool for its overall wonky Britishness. ‘Coraline’ is kind of trippy!

    Exceptional post!

    1. Hi Kevin,
      I appreciate your comments as always. Yes, I adore Ray Harryhausen and am glad you mentioned 20,000 Fathoms to his credit. Not sure why clay gets to me, but I’ll stop what I’m doing to see what new artists are up to or at Xmas time, Rudolf with Burl Ives still gets to me.

      1. Hi, Cindy:

        D’Oh!!!!

        Excellent catch with ‘Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer’. Completely slipped while I was commenting earlier.

        Several planes (C-141s) in my Reserve squadron were tasked with flying enemy combatants to Guantanamo. And many of us maintenance types were “volunteered” to prep the planes’ cargo boxes. With duct taped plastic sheeting on the bulkheads and floor. And cargo chains laid out for shackles and hand cuffs.

        Then, of course. We had to disinfect the planes afterwards.

        That required rubber chemical suits, gloves, boots and respirators. Soap, scrub brushes and water. The suits were the same shade of green as Gumby. And were quickly nicknamed, “Gumby Suits”.

  2. I grew up on the Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Ulysses and the Golden Fleece … Gumby was good too. Then I figured that ‘stop action’ was dead – that we had surpassed it. Suddenly here comes Chicken Run .. and it’s awesome! Not a lost artform afterall. Thanks!

  3. Fantastic post. Claymation really boggles my mind. 🙂

    I think Wallace & Grommet are some of my favorite little adventures of all time, so simple yet so memorable. “Everyone knows the moon’s made of cheese. . .!” 😉

    1. Thanks, Chris! Yes, yes, yes. So charming but not for small children. I’d be scared to bring a kid under 7 to see Coraline. Oh, please come see my post I just did regarding The Hustler! I value your opinion. 😉

    1. Hello, Trini! Welcome back. I have a confession to make. I’m very sorry, but I can’t watch Ivo’s work. Some phobia with a name I can’t pronounce–but his “dolls” scare me. Way too creepy. They cross into the scary realm of clowns and porcelain dolls with their flip-flop eyes. 😦 However, I respect the artist behind the work!

      1. Oh, Im sorry 😦 I love his work! 🙂 Especially Flåklypa Grand Prix! 🙂 But there is one small movie he has made that scares me too!! That is Karius and Baktius, the one about the toothbrush!! iiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!

      2. Do you like the old moomin valley movies? The ones with the real dolls? I sooooooo adore them!!! I collect them!! 🙂 Im sorry for going all scandinavian on you here, but I am norwegian! 🙂 Hihihihih!!!:-)

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