Too often when watching a film, it’s obvious that the spectacle we’re witnessing is the product of CGI, essentially ruining the moment and making it harder to suspend our disbelief. Instances of the opposite do occur; just look at the spectacle of James Cameron’s Avatar, for instance, even though we’re still acutely aware that what we’re seeing is computer generated.

In the following examples, however, the scenes are so stunning that we think they’re real, either simply by way of a camera capturing a live environment, or a camera capturing a practical effect, such as an animatronic. Either way, these effects are thoroughly impressive, and you wouldn’t begin to think they were CGI.



10. Johnny Blaze’s Abs – Ghost Rider

Nicolas Cage stands as one of the few action stars who rarely bothers showing off a hulking physique, like say, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone did in their primes (and in Stallone’s case, quite often these days too). Still, occasionally the roles he takes will ask for his wise-cracking character to actually produce evidence of muscle mass, so Cage, rather than hit the gym in preparation, just decided to let the visual effects wizards – who proved themselves oh-so-competent with the rest of the film’s CGI – touch up his abs and make him look buff.

In fact, that’s probably why the rest of the CGI in the film looks so crappy; they wasted so much time making it look like Cage actually put any effort into the role. To be fair, his physique is about as convincing as it gets.

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This article was first posted on November 20, 2012