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Marvel at 116 Years of Stop-Motion Animation in Three Minutes

Marvel at 116 Years of Stop-Motion Animation in Three Minutes

From Clash of the Titans to Terminator to Nightmare Before Christmas, stop-motion animation has been popular since the beginning of cinema. In honor of the latest offering in the genre, Kubo and the Two Strings, Vugar Efendi has posted a video on Vimeo showing the history of stop-motion animation, combining 119 years of work into three minutes. To refresh your memory on the technique, it’s a physical object moved or replaced in increments and filmed to suggest movement, and Laika Studios (who did Kubo and the Two Strings) has been doing some pretty crazy work in the field, from Coraline to The Boxtrolls. A couple years ago, I got to travel to the studios for the later film and check out the absolutely insane amount of work that goes into one of those films, demonstrating that modern stop-motion animation often takes as much work as it did back in the early days, if not more. For instance, one character may have to have 50 facial expressions sculpted before the film starts, and you’re often taking fabric movement into consideration, like they did in the party scene, where dozens of ladies were dancing in flowing dresses.

The video is a gorgeous reminder of exactly how long this has been done, showing early examples of a baker seeing a stop-motion rat running out of his bakery in 1902, and a giant King Kong on top of the Empire State Building in the 1933 film. Remember letting the Wookie win in the Dejarik game in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope? And again in The Force Awakens? A certain lovable creeper’s weird head movements and monsters in Beetlejuice? All of these were examples of stop-motion animation.

You can check out the list of movies below from the video notes and marvel at the amount of work something like this takes. Do you have a favorite stop-motion film or moment in a film? I’m going to go with pretty much all of Nightmare Before Christmas (but especially Zero and Oogie Boogie), the Dejarik game(s) and the AT-ATs, regardless of how you pronounce it. Tweet me/us @JennaBusch/@Nerdist with your picks!

The films included are:
The Enchanted Drawing (1900)
Fun at the Bakery Shop (1902)
El Hotel Electrico (1905)
Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
The Cameraman’s Revenge (1912)
The Night before Christmas (1913)
Häxan (1922)
The Lost World (1925)
The Tale of Fox (1930 version)
King Kong (1933)
The New Gulliver (1935)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
It Came Beneath The Sea (1955)
Earth vs Flying Saucers (1956)
The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Closed Mondays (1975)
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Clash of the Titans (1981)
The Terminator (1984)
Robocop (1987)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day out (1990)
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Chicken Run (2000)
Corpse Bride (2005)
Coraline (2009)
Mary and Max (2009)
Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
Paranorman (2012)
Frankenweenie (2012)
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
The Little Prince (2015)
Anomalisa (2015)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Image credit: Focus Features

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