Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Who needs good special effects when all you want is a laugh?

Enough with the posts about excellent special effects work. Let's see some bad stuff for a change! Discussing an animator's great work is always a good time. It makes for intelligent, interesting conversation. You know what's even more fun, though? Discussing some terrible work that should have never happened.

The video doesn't just highlight a bunch of cheap, poorly executed CGI. No. It makes sure only to include examples from reasonably large-budget films--films where this kind of special effects should have never been tolerated. Now, to begin, I think we all can agree that good special effects are ones that do not distract the viewers from a film, but serve only to further draw the viewer into the story and overall experience. Basically, you shouldn't be focusing on the effects, but should merely be enjoying its company. It's kind of like that friend you sit next to in class. If they're a good friend, they'll answer some of your questions and help you when they can. If they're a bad friend, they'll simply distract you from the lesson.

Starting off the list is the Agent Smith battle from The Matrix Reloaded (2003). The man's voice in the video brings up some important details of the scene. The most important one is how, once the fight really gets going, the characters seem to become rubbery and uber fake-looking (yes, I said uber). I personally loved the scene of the movie. I thought it was one of the most enjoyable ones. Even after the first time I saw it, though, I could tell something was off.

Next up on the list are the zombie-like creatures from I Am Legend (2007). There's really not much to say about this one. The zombies--or "Dark Seekers", as referred to in the video--simply don't look good. Now, I understand zombies aren't supposed to look attractive or anything, but they simply don't look like I would have imagined. As mentioned in the video, actors with make-up could have much more easily and "realistically" portrayed the creatures in the film.

The eighth worst CGI job is the deer attack from The Ring 2 (2005). Just watch the video and come up with your own opinion. I don't even want to talk about it.

Number 7 in the video is the scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) where Shia LeBeouf swings through a forest with a bunch of monkeys. Let me just begin this one by saying I despise this film. It does a terrible injustice to the Indiana Jones franchise and mocks Harrison Fords talent and reputation. That being said, the special effects are one of the driving forces that pushed the film right into the trash. Starting with the very first shot of the film, a terribly animated gofer welcomes us to the train wreck. Later on, we watch LeBeouf "swing" through the trees with some of the least convincing monkeys I've ever seen. The film's main story was already flawed to begin with. The special effects certainly didn't help the cause.

The next featured film is the newest King Kong (2005), more specifically, the Brontosaurus stampede scene. Now, I will admit that this specific scene is definitely not the best one I've ever watched, but in the context of the rest of the film, I'll allow one screw-up. The King Kong remake contains some of the greatest and the most inspiring special effects I've ever seen. There's really no other way to describe the rest of the film than as breathtakingly gorgeous. Normally, I'd say that's all the more reason to make every scene just as good as the last, but I'm prepared to make an exception.

The number 5 CGI screw-up comes to you from Die Another Day (2002). Pierce Brosnan attempts to out-surf a tsunami created by a heat ray from outer space. There's nothing else to be said.

The number 4 worst CGI movie effects can be found in Ultraviolet (2006). First off, having come out a couple years later than quite a few other films on this list, it would be expected to have better special effects than some of the others. Well, it certainly does not. Ultraviolet has some of the worst special effects I've ever seen. Seriously. It's terrible. The scene that's highlighted in the video is a motorbike chase that happens at some point throughout the horrible 88-minute film. It appears as though the motorbike isn't even moving forward at times due to the unbelievably two-dimensional CGI. The effects could arguably be compared to those from the original PacMan.

Next on the list is the car crash from Along Came a Spider (2001). Somehow, getting shot in the leg causes a murder suspect to unnecessarily slam his car into a highway guardrail which subsequently sends the car flying across the highway, slamming it into another guardrail and off a bridge. First of all, the CGI was simply terrible. Just go ahead and take a look and you'll understand. Second, as the mysterious voice mentions, the physics are all off. You'd never really think about it if it's done correctly, but, as humans, we can easily detect when special effects' physics are off. Something about it just seems unnatural. This scene is a perfect example of that.

The second worst CGI movie effects are pretty much throughout the entirety of Catwoman (2004). Again, it's not one that needs much explaining. Instead of using an actual actress or stunt double--or at least half-decent special effects--the film uses a terribly CGI-ed Halle Berry in pretty much every scene. As the narrator so cleverly pointed out, the make-up artists used quite a bit of cover-up on Berry in order to hide the awfully undetailed CGI Catwoman.

Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for (unless you've actually watched the video, in which case there was absolutely no need to read this monstrosity of a post). The very worst CGI movie effects are brought to you by the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (2001). It's a real shame, too. I really enjoy this movie. Even as a kid, though, I could tell something was very wrong with the ever-so-feared Scorpion King. If you've ever seen the film, you know that the monster is played by an horrendously CGI-ed Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Up to the climax of the film, nothing really stands out as a terrible special effects job. It's unfortunate that the animators decided to give up on what should have been the most exciting scene of the entire film. I guess it just shows that not everyone is necessarily great at his job.

First of all, I'm truly sorry how long-winded this post was. I just thought the video was funny and deserved some exploration. I'm also sorry if you read the entire post. I wish you had more important things to do with your day than to read one of my online rants. On another note, if you do have something more important to do, go do it. Stop wasting your time. Be productive, you bum.

The video attached to this post shows some of the worst CGI movie effects that can be found in some decently high-budgeted. While I do not necessarily agree in saying that all of these belong in a list containing the top 10 worst CGI jobs, some examples are certainly spot on. There is a lesson to be learned here: if you have the budget for quality special effects, use it.

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