Stop motion vs. CGI... the debate continues... ok well, maybe I’m exaggerating (there's probably nobody else debating this apart from me)and maybe your everyday cinema goer doesn’t give a damn about stop motion (or even CGI for that matter) but, they should! It seems that stop motion is a dying form and it’s such a terrible shame.
Ok, so let’s settle the differences: stop motion involves physically moving an object a small amount between frames to give it the illusion of movement when the individually photographed frames are played in sequence and CGI or Computer Generated Imagery, involves using 3D computer graphics to create the special effects that cause all the ‘ooh’s’ and ‘aaah’s’ in the cinema. It is also used for characters and objects in film.
CGI is something we are faced with a lot of the time when we go to the cinema, it a form that allows things to be achieved on the big screen that could never have been achieved before. It is an excellent tool in film making and yes, I am a fan but, I don’t think it has the ability to create the image that a stop motion animation can.
Stop motion may be a long and pain-staking process but, the end product is definitely worth it. Let’s take a look at Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, this was filmed using stop motion alone and has such a unique and beautiful look about it that sets it apart from other films.
Tim Burton is of course a die-hard fan of the art form, saying: "There is an energy with stop-motion that you can’t even describe. It’s got to do with giving things life, and I guess that’s why I wanted to get into animation originally." (see http://minadream.com/timburton/Animation.htm)
I can really see where Burton is coming from, The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride (his two big stop motion successes) do have an energy and feel about them that is somehow different to CGI but, sadly most movie makers will opt for CGI over stop motion every time.
My argument is that we just don’t see enough stop motion in the cinema (seemingly apart from that brought to us by Burton) and we need to see more of it. Yes CGI is easier and quicker but, it would be such a shame to see stop motion die out completely. It’s a wonderful art form and creates a great image on-screen so, it would be nice to see the studios embracing it a bit more in future.