March 6, 2013

7 Movies Ruined by Terrible CGI

There are certain movies which are pretty entertaining but then…something happens. You’re taken out of the movie by some of the worst computer generated special effects you’ve ever seen.  You’ll be hard pushed to ever get me to say something good about CGI, but sometimes it works well enough when used in the background. Then there are times whenever it just plain well looks like crap. Here’s a select few:







Arguably the lowest point for James Bond was the para-surfing scene in Die Another Day; the movie generally had terrible effects but it was this scene alone which made me go bright red in the cinema. I was like dude…seriously? James Bond is known for outlandish set-pieces but this takes the cake for worst special effect in a Bond movie.







The Mummy Returns had moments of great entertainment with a fun soundtrack and likable cast; wait, is that The Rock? That’s awesome…but what’s this end scene all about? Oh dear… he’s a computer generated scorpion…thing.  The fight scene between Rick and The Scorpion King was just so terrible. Even now completely CGI characters are never 100% convincing, but this is one of the worst of all time.


Air Force One is an entertaining, cheesy romp elevated by Gary Oldman’s awesome villain and Harrison Ford looking concerned. It rapidly goes downhill however during the final set-piece when they are trying to escape the plane, but the absolute worst moment is the plane crash itself which looks like graphics from a Commodore 64. It was another red faced moment in the cinema which ruins it every time I try to watch the movie.







Although not an amazing movie, I feel that I Am Legend could have been so much better with people in prosthetics rather than the lazily terrible CGI zombie things which are about as convincing as sock puppets. Actually, why didn’t they just use sock puppets instead? That would’ve been rad. The film is rather slow though, so therefore when you only have a select few action scenes to impress and they are let down by the lacklustre visuals.






Although I do enjoy Escape from LA (per my Sue Me! Article the other day) I also stated that the visual effects are truly terrible and like Die Another Day it is during an ill-advised surfing scene where the effects hit a new low. Guys, quit with surfing scenes unless you get real surfers to do it, because it ALWAYS looks like shit. There were a few more clunky visuals as well, which is a damn shame because this had the potential to be a classic like the original movie.





Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition: There wasn’t really anything all that special about any of  these versions of the classic trilogy, but the one scene which just makes me scream WTF is the Jabba the Hutt scene. Back in 1997, in the cinema I looked at my brother and said “Who thought this was a good idea?”
In the various incarnations of the Special Editions since they have marginally improved the effects but frankly it still looks terrible. Because the original films were made in the 70s, everything around them looks like it’s from the same because of how it was filmed, then all of a sudden you have this pointless Jabba scene added and then the annoying little floaty things as well, which bring nothing to the story.







And finally, A Sound of Thunder is a great idea… in theory; I love the whole idea of people going back in time and hunting dinosaurs. I blind bought the DVD simply due to the concept alone. Boy was I set to be disappointed. It’s by one of my favourite directors too, Peter Hyams and easily his weakest film to date. With an apparent budget of 80 million dollars, God knows where the money went, but it sure wasn’t the effects.

Before anyone starts whining that there were crap special effects before CGI, yes I know, but I will always choose prosthetics, models or animatronics before making a movie into a video game.


About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel
I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it's a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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