When CGI first began to grace our screens as a regular thing back in the eighties, it was hard to conceive of the transformative effect this innovative technology would come to have on the medium of cinema. Within a decade of its initial invention audiences were marvelling at masterworks of computer-generated imagery ranging from many of Jurassic Park’s inhabitants to the liquid metal monstrosity that was Terminator 2’s T-1000.
Nowadays audiences couldn’t even hope to keep track of all the CGI trickery utilized by filmmakers, with creators like David Fincher using the art form to add subtle details even in otherwise conventional dramas like The Social Network. However, there are still a few hold outs who refuse to rely on CGI at every available opportunity, much to the delight of genre purists who bemoan the lack of practical effects in modern movies.
Sometimes it’s a stunt which simply couldn’t be faked convincingly with the aid of computers, sometimes it’s a case of actors going above and beyond by choosing to upskill and perform a difficult part themselves instead of relying on the aid of technological fillers.
Regardless of the motivation, here are ten scenes which you’d be surprised to learn actually didn’t rely on CGI - as well as some answers as to how they did pull off the impressive effects.
10. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation - Cruise Hops Aboard An Airbus (Literally)
Tom Cruise is Hollywood’s greatest adrenaline junkie.
Whether it’s jumping on Oprah’s couch or off the side of one of the world’s tallest buildings for another instalment of this unstoppable action franchise, it’s fair to say the Rain Man star has been looking for energy everywhere for some time and his death defying onscreen shenanigans sometimes seem more designed to test his nerve than they are meant actually, you know, make for a good movie.
Take the infamous opening sequence of the fifth flick, wherein an ageing Cruise hops onto the side of a taxi-ing Airbus as it takes off from a runway. Much was made of the incredible scene, less because it was territory never travelled by another action flick but more because Cruise himself actually did the stunt.
We know the actor is infamous for this sort of thing, but it really beggars belief to imagine him actually holding onto the side of an airplane for the sake of eschewing the judicious application of some industrial light and/or magic, but Cruise really did it, and nothing onscreen has been touched up afterwards.