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4 of the best stop-motion animation movies
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) - photo by 20th Century Fox

CHEESEBRIDGE -- “The Boxtrolls” hit theaters this weekend, and there is a lot of positive talk about the newest stop-motion animated picture.

To get you even more excited for the family flick, here are four more stop-action movies the whole gang can enjoy.

Pirates! Band of Misfits

If you are a fan of “Wallace and Gromit“ or “Chicken Run,” then “Pirates! Band of Misfits” is sure to please.

Follow a ragtag crew of enthusiastic pirates as they travel the seas in an adventure that spans the globe. Their captain, voiced by Hugh Grant, is a somewhat eccentric leader questing after the illustrious Pirate of the Year Award.

While some of the background and water is CGI, there is no denying the skill of the animation in “Pirates! Band of Misfits.” Even more entertaining is the comedy in the film. Like other Aardman Animations productions, there are very few things to be taken seriously in the movie, and the comedy reaches both young and old.

“Pirates! Band of Misfits” is appropriate for ages 7+ and is 86 percent worth your time.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

From the director of “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and based on the book by Roald Dahl, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is a quirky animal adventure you don’t want to miss out on.

When Mr. Fox momentarily gives in to his animal instincts, he instigates a community catastrophe that he must find a way to survive and repair for the sake of his family and friends.

Boasting a celebrity cast including George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Bill Murray, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is full of wit, humor and cleverness that is almost unmatched in the world of animation.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” is 75 percent worth your time and appropriate for ages 7+.

James and the Giant Peach

Even though Disney is known for traditional hand-drawn animation, as well as more contemporary use of CGI, the masters of children’s entertainment took a chance combining live-action scenes with stop-motion animation in “James and the Giant Peach.”

Another beloved Roald Dahl story, “James and the Giant Peach” is one of the most imaginative adventures of all time. Poor, orphaned James is forced to live with his terrible aunts until he encounters a magical peach of giant proportions and some unusual friends who travel with him to New York City.

The unique style of the stop-motion in “James and the Giant Peach” is simply unforgettable. There are some scenes that might be frightening for small children, but the exciting story will enchant the whole family.

“James and the Giant Peach” is appropriate for ages 6+ and 80 percent worth your time.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jim Burton’s classic holiday extravaganza, “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” is arguably the most recognized stop-motion animation picture. More than 20 years later, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is still enjoyed by audiences all over.

Jack Skellington is the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town, but yearns for something more until he happens upon Christmas Town. The more he learns about the yuletide season, the more Jack wants to bring Christmas back to Halloween Town, and thus begins the epic story of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

The stop-motion animation, while completely creepy, is also impressive for its time (1993). No compilation of stop-motion animation is complete without this holiday classic.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is 82 percent worth your time and appropriate for ages 7+.

EMAIL: sarah@ok.com