Computer special effects magicians have been perfecting their art for many decades. Nevertheless, there were also some infamous cases along the way. We will focus on them in the list below.
The worst CGI in Hollywood productions
It would seem that where and where, but in Hollywood blockbusters worth hundreds of millions of dollars, everything will be refined to the last detail. Yet it is deceptive. Paradoxically, it is precisely because these great blockbuster productions cost so much money that whole teams are chasing each other with time, and this is a formidable enemy of every artist. Of course, there are also cases, especially from years ago, when the technology was not yet fully developed, but manufacturers decided that the CGI effects needed to be shown to a mass audience. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. Below you will find examples of the latter option.
We start with a film that boasts one of the largest budgets in the history of cinema (as much as $ 300 million), and yet has one of the worst special effects of the last decade. Including one so embarrassing that I’m honestly shocked at the fact that no one was ashamed to show it to the world. It is, of course, about the infamous “paint-over” of Henry Cavill’s mustache. During the nuts and bolts of the League… Cavill was shooting Mission: Impossible – Fallout, in which his character had a solid mustache. The actor agreed to return to the set of the DC movie, but the contract forbade him to cut hair above his upper lip. Personally, I do not know what the problem with using a false mustache was, after all, it’s Hollywood – a wonderland when it comes to all sorts of gadgets. In any case, Cavill appeared on the set of “The League …” with a mustache and the CGI “magicians” had to blur it. The problem is that they did it simply tragically (and this film was shown on the largest cinema screens, so you could see it with the naked eye). It looks like an amateur job. Anyway, on YouTube there are examples of amateurs who, with programs for $ 50, achieved a hundred times better effect than professionals in a movie worth over a quarter of a billion dollars.
The Mummy Returns
It was one of those times when the technology was not fully developed, but the producers probably counted on the understanding and imagination of the fans. I guess. I remember watching this movie in the cinema in 2001, my jaw landed on my lap when I saw a digital version of Dwayne Johnson as the Scorpion King for the first time. To say that this CGI has gotten fatally old over the years is to say nothing.
The Matrix Reloaded
Some of the examples of bad CGI movies are, in a way, perversely poetic. How else would you call The Matrix Reloaded, which was the sequel to one of the most groundbreaking visuals of the late 20th century and whose CGI was so cheesy at times? I would like to point out right away that I am one of the fans of “Reactivation”. It is not a work as brilliant as the first “Matrix”, but I also disagree with such harsh criticism of it. However, when it comes to CGI, the “two” is quite a disappointment. I admit, the effects in this film are cool in terms of the concept itself, but the execution is poor, surprisingly. The apogee of this situation is Neo’s fight with countless Smith agents. The idea is awesome and straight from an anime series, but Neo’s gosh, how lame it looks. The whole sequence is actually rubber men skirmishes. And I don’t know why, the creators decided to slow down the time in moments when the artificiality of, for example, Neo’s face is the most visible. As if the authors were asking to be mocked.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
The Star Wars prequels were strange in many ways, including the special effects. Without a doubt, the worst CGI we saw was not in Episode I or III, but in Episode II, which is quite unusual. Although on this list you can already see that often the first parts of a given series are prepared with care and care, and the sequels are somehow more “cool”. I do not know if it’s good. In “Attack of the Clones” almost everything was created on the green screen and therefore everything looks sterile. Of course, there are plenty of great CGI examples here, but for each good one has at least one awful bad one. One of the worst is Anakin, who tries to ride Shaak on Naboo. This cannot be undone. Although, in fact, an even worse effect is the acting of Hayden Christensen and the entire romantic plot of Anakin and Padme. Against their background, CGI does not do so badly in Attack of the Clones.
Mower of minds
This movie can be absolved a bit because it was made in 1992, when computer effects were still in their infancy, but anyway, that doesn’t justify the fact that the CGI sequences in it shouldn’t have been made at all. Even more so, bearing in mind the amazing effects of “Terminator 2” a year earlier and the phenomenally animated dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” a year later. CGI in “Reaper of the Minds” looks terrible and also spoils the whole mood of this movie. Computer effects here look like a weird version of animation for kids, or rather not what we expect from a horror movie. I sincerely doubt that anyone, even in 1992, would watch it with delight.
Death will come tomorrow
In a way, the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries was great for filmmakers who wanted to take advantage of the ever-evolving CGI. The limits of the possibilities have been exceeded, although the technology has not yet fully kept up in terms of quality. But some did not care about it and instead of waiting for years, they seized the moment and … one of the creations that gave us this approach is, for example, the sequence from the Bond movie, “Death Comes Tomorrow”. We can see Agent 007 riding a tsunami wave, because why not. The whole thing looks worse than in the cartoon for children. Ah, the beginning of the 2000s.
The last dragon
You have to have a lot of balls to make a movie about the dragon, which is to be the main storyline, both in the posters, trailers and in the title, while its appearance leaves much to be desired. In the sense that the dragon as a dragon is quite handsome, it is more about the quality of the model itself. Maybe in 1996 he made an impression, but he surely grew old very quickly. Besides, I would like to remind you that three years ago we could watch “Jurassic Park”, which has not aged until today, so the year of production is no explanation for me.
Star Wars: Special Edition
I fully understand that George Lucas may have been frustrated by the limitations of technology in the late 1970s when he was writing the first Star Wars. I just don’t understand why he decided to upgrade them so that the classic “Star Wars” now only look worse. Of course, there are a few improvements in the special edition that turned out to be a plus, such as scenes in Bespin, but so what, since most are completely pointless, created only as a childish delight in showing strange creatures in CGI. And the quality of these effects is unfortunately poor. Which is all the more sad considering the fact that it was the classic “Star Wars” that was, after all, a breakthrough in terms of the development of special effects and CGI. If anything, Lucas could have waited a few more years. I am constantly surprised that by making so many changes to this day, no one could make the lightsabers in “New Hope” shine properly and not look like shiny sticks. Hollywood is a strange place sometimes.
I realize that no one expected groundbreaking visual effects from this film, bearing in mind that the series on which the cinema version was based used cheap rubber costumes and cardboard miniatures to show the fights of giant robots with giant monsters in the center of the metropolis. The target group of this production were also kids, and for them in the mid-90s, everything that was computer animated seemed cool because it was something new. Nevertheless, the “Power Rangers” took advantage of this fans’ trust too much. Virtually every CGI scene is a pain for the eyes. The film did not have a large budget, plus in those years the special effects with the use of computers were constantly developing, so it’s hardly surprising that it looks what it looks like. I am surprised that it was decided to show it. The computer-animated fight between the Megazord and the enlarged version of Ivan Ooze is a real visual horror. But also proof that even the cheapest set design will always win against fatal CGI, so sometimes it’s better to leave the computers alone.
Yes, yes, and the power of Marvel has to bend more and more often under the yoke of lack of time and outsourcing. The more new movies and series for a given year Marvel announces, the more CGI mishaps can be noted. A good example is the Iron Man armor, which from the time of the first film began to look worse and worse in subsequent scenes, largely because more and more of it was generated by computers (previously only fragments, because most of them were real costumes), which as you can see, they are not a perfect solution. But even in one of the most important MCU films, “War Without Borders,” mishaps could not be avoided. Just recall the scene with Mark Ruffallo strangely sticking out of Iron Hulk’s computer armor.
But the worst example of monstrous CGI in the Marvel movies so far remains the movie “Eternals.” As a whole, this is perhaps the worst thing since Marvel and one of the worst superhero movies ever. But CGI does not delight in it, and there are moments where it even causes a feeling of embarrassment. Even the biggest defenders of this movie were sure to catch their heads when seeing Pip’s troll animation (skipping the fact that introducing such an abstract character into the MCU is a mistake). This is a level worthy of a movie from around 2001, but not a show from 2021.
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