Stop-motion animation has always fascinated me, mostly because of the extreme amount of patience it takes to pull off. If you've ever watched the behind-the-scenes of a stop-motion film, you'll know what I mean. Each movement a character makes is done by hand, and the animator has to figure out what the movements are ahead of time, mapping out how many moves it will take for the character to hit their mark. When it's done well, stop-motion is beautiful, like a moving piece of art.
One of my favorite examples of stop-motion is the film "Coraline", adapted from the Neil Gaiman book of the same name. The film is gorgeous, colorful, whimsical, everything you want in a movie, really. The art direction is amazing. In order to get everything perfect, the animators ran through the entire thing once before they even filmed it, which means they basically made the movie twice. The amount of detail they managed to put into that miniature world is astounding, and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates art or animation.
If you know what you're doing--and are extremely meticulous--you can make your own stop-motion video. A guy going by the name of Mystery Guitar Man has done just that, featuring Mario of Super Mario Brothers. While it's not movie-quality, he says it only took a week to make, and that's pretty impressive. The video gives us a slightly more 3-D look at an 8-bit world and takes some creative liberties with the mustachioed plumber that will make you smile.