In spite of being hailed as the pinnacle of animation, there are only so many computer-rendered films one can take before you start to feel a little like you're inside of a computer yourself. That’s where stop-motion has the one-up over its big budget counterpart. Though they are devoid of the graphical brilliance bordering on the realistic, stop-motion films make up for this deficit with ingenious design, engaging storytelling, and thematic elements that can either entertain or frighten. On that note, read on to watch some of our absolute favorites!
In terms of overall design, the short film Imagine is extremely minimalistic, with the animation, by stop-motion standards, somewhat rough around the edges. It’s easy to dismiss it as being unworthy of our time, but once you sit down and really watch it, you can’t help but get swept away by the whimsical charm and visually enamored by the animator’s use of bold, primary colors. Plus, it manages to drive home a message that we’ve all heard in our collective childhoods: “Dare to dream.” Not bad for a minute and thirty-six seconds.
Bittersweet tales of love with a tang of creepiness always seem to be the order of the day when it comes to stop-motion films, and The Maker succeeds in both regards by transitioning from the latter into the former. A doll-like rabbit creature works feverishly against the falling sands of an hourglass, cobbling together his conception of the ideal woman of his dreams. It may not be as transparent at first, but you’ll soon come to realize that the rabbit’s efforts represent that, despite convincing ourselves we have all the time in the world, life is fleeting and can end in the blink of an eye. To wit, make the most of what little time we have.
From Beyond is partially based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name, albeit with minor omissions that help to make it less complex and put the author’s descriptions of the otherworldly creatures into perspective. Essentially, there is an adjacent plane of existence within our known reality occupied by these aforementioned monstrosities that beggar description. Nonetheless, we are unable to see them without the aid of a device that opens up our latent ability to do so. So really this inability of ours is a blessing in disguise because, for the record, if we were capable of seeing flying jellyfish and giant centipedes we’d never roll out of bed ever again. Except to grab a snack.
Which stop-motion film is your favorite?