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Added by The Mighty Celestial on 23 Dec 2014 04:01
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Animate This! My Favorite Stop-Motion Films

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The saga of Harold & Kumar continues. And for this third chapter in what now has become a trilogy, the two former stoner friends find themselves yet on another road "trip", but this time, it's a journey to "save Christmas".
And when it comes to motion pictures, nothing says Christmas better than stop-motion animation.
Which this live action comedy incorporates for just a few minutes in a drugged induced homage that demonstrates just how quirkily bizarre the world of second by second puppetry can come off when done "correctly".
And while under the influence.
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Of course, as a kid, the holidays would not have been the holidays had it not been for the Rankin-Bass holidays specials that aired every year.
And while the technology and technique of animation have grown by leaps & bounds that can be measured by miles, some of the charm of these old, cheap 70's efforts have worn off.
But there are a few that still resonate with the Christmas spirit that I try to carry now, as an adult. Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town are the two main ones that still occupy substantial screen time on my television set during the end of the year (and with many other people's sets also, considering that they're still shown multiple times during the season).

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People who added this item 442 Average listal rating (229 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.5
After the Disneyfication of Alice In Wonderland, now considered a classic in Uncle Walt's early efforts at full feature cartoon flicks, many people have forgotten or are completely unaware that "Lewis Carroll's" original version of the story had a bit more of an edge to it.
This film adaptation from the Czech Republic is a depiction that is much closer to the author's original intent and employs a creative use of stop-motion animation in a manner that enriches the premise of the story.
With it's myriad onslaught of fluid moving puppetry and "action figures", along with it's dark undercurrents, this Alice is one that captivates movies viewers of a matured sense of imagination while at the same time, it may satisfyingly add a touch of disturbance to the experience of those younger audiences who are used to a more fluffy romp inside the rabbit hole.

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Just like Alice, here's another entry about a kid who travels through a portal to another world filled with weird looking creatures. It's also just the first of a bunch of Tim Burton productions that you can expect to see on this list.

James is a "normal" kid who lives next to a giant peach. But when he enters it, he becomes a stop-motion cartoon character and befriends a group of talking insects.
And even though that might sound weird, the truth is, it's a pretty common occurance whenever a live-action person enters a peach the size of a house.
And if you don't believe, next time you see a giant piece of fruit, try it. See what happens.
In the meantime, I'll be here, logged on this site, waiting to tell you "See? I told you so".
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People who added this item 2683 Average listal rating (1741 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
After watching this stop-motion animated tale about a group of not-so spring chickens who are lookin' to get sprung, it made me realize that when it comes to writing about these kinds of movies, I don't always have feel obligated to use any obvious puns no matter how much they might be staring me in the face. F'rinstance, right now, I am sorely tempted to insert the phrase "flying the coup" somewhere into this description box.
But I'm not going to. That would be too easy.
So instead, what I'm gonna do is reward myself for showing such self-control by satiating the hungerous urge that I usually feel after watching this "fowl" film.
I'm going on a "chicken run".
Anybody else want anything from KFC?

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People who added this item 62 Average listal rating (45 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Sandman (1991)
An animated short that lasts only nine minutes, The Sandman is an interpretation of the character based on an old German short story. While the folklore of the Sandman is that he is an entity who aids children to doze off to slumberland by throwing magic sand in their eyes, this version shows him as more of an aviaric type figure whose intentions seem focused on instilling nightmares moreso than dreams. Designed as though it were created by Tim Burton's evil twin, The Sandman's rougher stop-motion movements only adds to the atmosphere of creepiness that is the center of this fear-based fable that is more likely to keep kids awake all night than put them to sleep.

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People who added this item 5490 Average listal rating (3471 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4
To paraphrase PeeWee Herman,
"If you love ghosts so much, why don't you marry one?"
Which, as you can probably tell by the title, is what this movie is about; exchanging vows with the spirit of a deceased one. Which, of course, sounds like a morbid idea for an animated flick geared towards the younger of living, but in the hands of Tim Burton, it's just another good reason to get behind the director's chair. A whimsical tale of lost love and the desire to mend a broken heart (even if that heart has been dead and buried for many years), Corpse Bride is a good example of why, for my money, Burton's preference for spookish cinematic subject matter is a perfect marriage with stop-motion animation and tends to come much more alive than when he tries to film it in live action.

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As a kid who grew up incredibly poor, there was more than one year whereupon Santa didn't leave me or my siblings any presents.
That fact combined with Santa's bad attitude towards Rudolph in the first half of this special really helps to shed light on what an @$$hole Santa can truly be.
This movie always helps to remind me to keep the holidays real.

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People who added this item 2691 Average listal rating (1697 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.7

As a comic-book nerd, I first became aware of Coraline as a graphic novel written by comic-book writer Neil Gaiman (though, it's original format of release is as a novella).
It's horror fantasy for young readers and as a film, it's a fine modern update of the Alice In Wonderland theme, with it's mixed ingredients of creative psychodelica, slightly edged childlike wonder, along with a nice dash of horror, but just enough to gurgitate a lump of fear in the throat of the kiddie audience within its targeted age. But not so much that it would scare any of it's viewers to the point of absolving their parents of any responsibility for any trauma that might lead 'em up to the top of a building with a sniper gun, later on in life.

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Okay, while Disney or Pixar don't ever have to worry about Aardman Studios ever taking any food out of their mouths at the box office, the truth is, I prefer their stuff better.
It's takes the lighthearted animation that currently crowds the movie theater industry today and adds British slant to both the dialogue and humor. Which tends to provide a nice little break from all that high-tech formula of the big boys, and a down-to-earthiness quality that's not found from Tim Burtons more macabre and zany-esque caricatures.
Even watching Curse Of The WereRabbit, their take on the werewolf lore, feels much more like a relaxing tea and crumpets afternoon at the cinema than a mega-merchandising spectacle that the DisPix people would have likely hyped it up into.
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In the History of the world, there has been three significant British invasions. The first one was in the form of redcoats, the second one in the form of Beatles, and the third in the form of plasticine figures. And in this case particularly, pirates(!). And while the Brits continual takeover of stop-motion animation has been going since the 90's, the wit and energy of their features seem to show no sign of slowing down. As is evident in this sea-faring adventure in which a band of misfits are on a quest to pillage the most royal of all treasures, the bountiful blue-blood booty of the Queen herself.

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People who added this item 586 Average listal rating (375 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.2
A Close Shave (1995)
The final installment of Wallace and Gromit's trilogy of animated shorts (after this, the dynamic stop-motion duo move up into the big times with the full length movie "thriller" Curse Of The WereRabbit, which is also somewhere on this list), the man and his "best friend" clumsily come across an illegal sheep rustling scheme and find out that it's quite the dog-eat-dog business.

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Okay, everybody and their mother knows who Rudolph The Reindeer is. His story of guiding Santa's sleigh through a foggy night thus saving Christmas has gone down in history.
However, not all that much is known about what happened after that. Oh sure, we have a few accounts of how he helped save Baby New Year and that one time he celebrated Christmas in July, but other than that, whatever became of the four-hooved Yuletide celebrity is unknown.
What we do know is that Rudy had a son, an out of shape, British-accented slacker named Robbie. Who, despite his underachieving ways, has begun his own career in holiday themed specials.

The first chapter of these televised tales of new generation nose-powered reindeer is called Hooves Of Five, and is, in my opinion the best of the lot, so far. Filled with the kind of good-natured, mostly kid-friendly dried wit that is usually found from over the pond, it acts as an introduction to the new wave cast of characters that is currently responsible for keeping the North Pole the hub of the Christmas world.
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Of the all the animated films that were released in the first decade of the new millennium, Fantastic Mr. Fox (no "the" in the title) is definitely one of my favorites. Director Wes Anderson (his first fling outside of live action filming) was able to take such a good story adapted from children's novel and make it one that doesn't talk down to it's audience, young or old. And in this age of high level tech animation (whether it be 2D or 3D), the quality and style of Mr. Fox's storytelling seems to help the "rough" stop-motion technique of this movie to come off more effectively as a distinctive style than it does a hindrance of any kind.

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People who added this item 1298 Average listal rating (740 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
A story of friendship via the long distance post.
Despite being on opposite sides of the world, pen pals Mary and Max pass through the years of their lives writing to each other with a series of letters in which they share their interests, modest dreams and respective severe shortcomings. And learn that the distance between personal warts (along with facial birthmarks) is not as far as the distance between two hemispheres.

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People who added this item 630 Average listal rating (403 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
In the first appearance of Wallace and Gromit, the cracker crazy contraptioneer and his canine companion start their short animated film series in grand fashion as they decide to shoot for the moon. Literally.
A lunar adventure that gives a minor nod to the B-movie rocket ship sci-fi flicks of yesteryear but without being as "cheesy" as those cosmic campy classics and yet, being even "cheesier" at the same time.

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Almost 30 years after making his first film, Tim Burton updateds the 30 minute live action feature into a full length stop-motion animated flick.

Frankenweenie tells the macabre tale of how a pet dog is bought back to life by his child owner. After the bull terrier gets killed by a car (the leading cause of death amongst canines, after old age), the young lad decides to a take a page out of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and ressurect the Spuds Mckenzie look-alike through the use of electricity. I guess mad scientists have figured out that electricity is spark of all life.
But that's not the point. What matters is a boy and his dog.
A bond that not even the Grim Reaper can hope to sever.
Well....he can....
but still, through the use of love and , well...y'know.... more electricity...
and probably some string, I guess...
the boy and his dog will can never be separated. For long.

Though, now that I think about it,
when a kid's dog "bites it",
it seems to me that making a simple trip to the pet shop would really be a heck of alot easier than building a secret lab in the attic.
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People who added this item 1416 Average listal rating (780 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.4
There once was a boy named Tim Burton, who had an obsession with Vincent Price and a dream about a certain style of stop-motion animation. So when he grew up, he made a short film with a certain type of stop-motion animation and he made it about the story of a boy who had with an obsession with Vincent Price.
So distinctive and stylistic was the animation, so eerily cool and quaint was the story, that despite being only six minutes long, this short animated flick still ranked up there with the best of all other 1982 cinema.

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People who added this item 818 Average listal rating (507 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8.4
Stop-motion with a British flavor, that doesn't try to whack you over the head with it's look, humor or more importantly, with any kind of "universal life-lesson".
While it's distinction from other animated films is much more subtle and evenly consistent, the overall result of The Wrong Trousers left me not so much with a roaring laughter that other animated features try to shoot for, but more with a satisfying smile that was firmly set in place from beginning to end.

Okay, so we might as well accept that any feature featuring Wallace & Gromit is gonna be a candidate for any list that I can fit 'em into. Therefore, when it comes to the subject of my favorite stop-motion flicks, it's a fore gone conclusion that these guys are gonna rank pretty damn high. Particularly when we're talking about the Academy Award winning second entry into the series, The Wrong Trousers. The best of anything they starred in, it is a story that, for my money, utilizes their specialized brand of sight gags, kinetic stunts and subtle film parodies to harmonic perfection.
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Is it a Halloween movie with a Christmas twist, or a Christmas movie with a Halloweenic slant? Or is it both?
For me, I like to describe the feeling that comes from watching The Nightmare Before Christmas as very similar to the feeling that one might get when discovering that your trick-or-treat bag has been filled with presents instead of candy.
And no rocks. Well...
maybe one lump of coal.

In my opinion, this is the best piece of cinema, by far, to have Tim Burton's name on it. Such a great cast of creative and endearingly maniacal characters. Innocent enough for kids who can still see the world thru bushy-tailed bright-eyed glasses, yet twistedly dark enough to keep the interests of those of us adults who've had that part of our spirits crushed a long time ago.
An inter-holiday movie for all ages on either side of the perspective spectrum.

I remember that when Nightmare Before Christmas first came out, I initially liked it, but I didn't love it, not the way that I do now. After several rewatches however, this double-themed holiday special as really taken a firm place in this movie-nerd's heart. I find that TNBC seems to age really well for me as more and more time goes by. And as each All Hallow's Eve goes by, I continually find that it's a good thing to watch to cap off an evening of handing out sweets to all the ghouls and goblins that come, ringing at the doorbell. And it also doubles as prep for the burgeoning winter season and the festive festivities looming overhead.
It's goof film not just because it manages to successfully merge the two holidays that were my favorite as a kid, but also, because it's macabre look and overall atmosphere are the type of traits that I would've died for (pun, not all that much intended) back then.
Not to mention that whenever I listen to tunes like "What's This?" or "This Is Halloween", I am reminded of hearing "Put One Foot In Front Of The Other", or "We're A Couple Of Misfits", songs that, as corny as they are, now with a grown-up's perspective, my hardcore, hairy pimp-ass' has to humbly admit, will always be a part of my happiest childhood holiday memories.
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