The advent of CGI pushed cinema into a whole new era: a wondrous time where things that were once deemed impossible have become possible, and the boundaries of creation and imagination are nearly limitless.
But not everybody got the memo. And as well as shockingly bad computerised effects, we’ve still had to deal with the odd obviously-fake dummy in mainstream blockbusters. Here are nine of the worst examples of modern effects gone horribly wrong.
The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns (2001)
This marauding showcase of CGI incompetence offers the first cinematic appearance of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or at least a weird computer re-imagining of his face melted onto the body of a plastic Scorpion, flailing around like one of those long-armed balloon men. Looks like it was knocked up in Microsoft Paint, rather than in a $100m+ movie.
Wesley Snipes in Blade II (2002)
In this sequel to the equally memorable Blade, Wesley Snipes faces off against a pair of Fifty Shades of Grey bondage freaks. As the fight wears on Snipes become more and more computerized, until he resembles a gothic Stretch Armstrong leaping about in the shadows. No wonder the whole thing is shot in the dark.
The car hit in Meet Joe Black (1998)
Knowing that his life cannot be topped after walking away from the woman of his dreams, Joe Black (Brad Pitt) promptly kills himself while wandering about in the street. Bouncing around like a rubber ball from a skyscraper and resembling nothing close to a man – let alone Brad Pitt – this old-school GTA style mass of pixels cartwheels about as both perps leg it down the road.
The dummy in Broken Arrow (1996)
Is this the best performance by a dummy in the history of cinema? Luckily for John Travolta’s character, he was able to switch himself out for an orange crash-test doll seconds before the hero tried to kill him off…they’ll never see such a plot twist coming. Check it out at the 1.23 mark:
Angry Deer in The Ring 2 (2005)
Like a Friday night out in Sunderland, a well-to-do family are harassed by a group of villainous stags in this horror sequel. The debate as to which performance is worst, the CGI deer or David Dorfman’s, rages on. Although that is a discussion for another time we can all agree that the CGI rendering on these bothersome deer is more scary than the film itself.
Everything in Catwoman (2002)
Some say Catwoman is the worst film ever made. I’d be inclined to agree. There isn’t a moment in the entire comic-book movie where I didn’t wish to end my own life, never mind nine of them. To make Halle Berry seem more cat-like, the production team opted to paint her in makeup and digitally create her entire body, making her seem anything but real. Luckily for Catwoman the plot was fantastic and thoroughly made up for the lacklustre graphics. Oh, wait…
The baby in American Sniper (2014)
Product placement at its worst. Clint Eastwood should be ashamed with his puerile attempts at boosting the sales of talking Baby Annabell in this Oscar-nominated film. Apparently a no-show from the scheduled child performer meant Eastwood had to improvise. Did he really think no one would notice? He would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling audiences.
Parachute Dummy in Independence Day (1995)
Quite obviously a test dummy because hey, a landing like that would have paralyzed Will Smith for life.
Surf’s Up in Escape from LA (1996)
Put Steve Buscemi in a Scooby Doo villain costume, add Kurt Russell riding a poorly realised tidal wave, spice up with a zany guitar soundtrack and what do you get? This gem from Escape from LA.
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