With 3D stop-motion action-adventure The Boxtrolls arriving in UK cinemas this week we thought there was no better time than to look at the best examples of this technique in the movies…
5. Chicken Run (Lord/Park, 2000)
We begin with Chicken Run at five; the first feature-length film from the creators of the much-loved, cheese-loving adventurers Wallace and Gromit. A box office smash hit on its release, this fun farmyard romp is The Great Escape with chickens as Mel Gibson’s Rocky leads a band of feathered friends on a race to escape after their owners decide to quit selling eggs in favour of chicken pies. Fast-paced action and the odd one-liner make this a family favourite.
4. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit (Park/Box, 2005)
We stick with Aardman Animation at four as Wallace and Gromit enjoy their first feature-film outing in The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit. This comical adventure sees our intrepid heroes – eccentric inventor Wallace and his smart but silent dog Gromit – rescue the residents of a village from the clutches of a mutant rabbit before an annual giant vegetable competition. Kids will love the mixture of farce and excitement while adults will warm to the characters and wry humour.
3. ParaNorman (Fell/Butler, 2012)
Horror and comedy collide in our film at three. ParaNorman, the first stop-motion film to use a 3D colour printer to create the faces of its characters, sees Norman Babcock, an 11-year old kid who can see and talk to ghosts, come to his town’s rescue after an ancient curse allows corpses to rise from the grave. This fun-filled small town adventure sees the little guy become unlikely hero as the ghouls meet their pint-sized match.
2. Corpse Bride (Burton, 2005)
At two on our list we go inside the dark and dastardly mind of Tim Burton with his Oscar-winning 2005 film Corpse Bride. Johnny Depp leads an all-star cast in this weird but wonderful tale of the shy Victor Van Dort who inadvertently becomes stuck in the land of the dead after he unwittingly weds a corpse. In typical Tim Burton style, the film is a darkly delicious fairy tale where the animated technique allows the director’s wacky imagination to run wild!
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Selick, 1993)
Unsurprisingly Burton is also the inspiration behind our number one modern stop-motion film – The Nightmare Before Christmas – which is based on an original poem he wrote while working as an animator at Disney. The film tells the tale of Jack Skellington, ruler of Halloweentown, who becomes bored of doing the same festivities every year so stumbles into Christmastown and proceeds to turn everything upside down beginning with kidnapping Santa. With acclaimed composer Danny Elfman contributing the music and the singing voice of its lead character, this celebration of the holiday season is an amusing alternative to traditional Christmas fare, while its stop-motion visuals work perfectly to immerse you in this fantasy world.