Ask any filmmaker about the current state of CGI they’d tell you we’re at the point of photo-realism (where it is almost indistinguishable from live action). Ask any cinemagoer, however, and they’ll agree we’re a long way off that. Believe it or not, audiences live in the real world, so when something trying to look like it doesn’t hit the spot, they instinctively notice.
So many big budget movies now lean heavily on computer generated imagery as the sole way to create their special effects, not realising limitations still exist. The effects in game changer Jurassic Park still stand up because Spielberg understood the technology’s limitations and worked around them, using CG as an additional tool alongside the traditional models and men in suits.
While I’m fine letting a couple of bad renders slide, when a major movie moment has some fake effect tacked on I get a very real sinking disappointment in my stomach. In the end, many of the major problems that plagued CGI ten years ago – dead eyes, poor compositing and an inability to create full worlds – still exist, it’s just now directors don’t see it.
Here are nine scenes in films that by all reckoning should have been brilliant, but the poor CGI ruined. What made these moments particularly sinful is that in almost every case there was a better way to do the effect, making the director just come off as lazy.
In the case these scenes are from a big franchise – which, given this list is about poorly executed CGI, will be the majority – I’ve limited myself to one mention per series, picking what I believe to be the worst example.
This article was first posted on August 5, 2013