With the advent of computers and technology into the making of motion pictures, CGI has equipped directors with tools to tell the stories they could have never imagined to tell. The ideas and vision transcend the black and white of screenplays, and get ensconced into the psyche of the audience. These remarkable achievements in science and technology has paved the way for unfathomable concepts, with incomprehensible characters. Now a days, almost all movies use the “green screen” to create some scenes, which we have no idea are done that way. But despite it clouding under the realms of banality, some moments just stand out and are vividly solidified in our memories.
We decided to take a fun ride through the transient pages of CGI’s evolution and perfection. Here is the list of top 10 CGI moments in movies.
10. Matrix (1999)
The Scene: Neo dodging bullets from the agents.
Is it the greatest sci-fi action movie ever made? I actually have a funny anecdote regarding this which I would like to share. In my school, I had this computer-science teacher, who was really weird. Different, perhaps is a better word. One day, we got to discussing “the impossible” attempted and achieved in CGI in the class. As usual, being the smart-mouth I am, I started to spill out gibberish which seemed to make quite an impression on my peers. But my teacher seemed unimpressed. I went on, ignoring his dire state, until finally he couldn’t take more, and shouted: “Have you never seen ‘The Matrix’?!”.
9. Planet of the Apes (2011)
The Scene: The character realization of Caesar and other apes.
Andy Serkis is a genius. His appalling achievements in CGI have ceased to amaze us. He yet again hit the jackpot with the creation of Caesar in ‘Rise of Planet of Apes’. The movie, much like the characters in it, turned out to be surprisingly good, and people couldn’t take their eyes off of Caesar, the ape who can speak. The forest scene, which unravels Caesar’s linguistic abilities, truly shines as an endearing testament to the relationship between himself and his best friend. The heavenly setting of the forest, the lush green trees and the welting weather made for a pleasant watch. The behind the scenes show Serkis and the crew going through painstaking efforts to produce something magical. Well, Andy, we can confidently say you succeeded.
8. Tron (1982)
The Scene: The first glimpse of the light bikes colliding.
Disney brought one of the biggest child fetishes to life in the year 1982. The ability to enter the apparently visual world of video games. It marked the first time that CGI featured so heavily and extensively in a movie, which solely relied on its execution. Coming to the scene, this match of epic proportions in the virtual reality mesmerized audiences. The bright and sparkly colors, the awesomely designed bikes and their fierce yet endearing contest lit up the countenances of the audiences and etched itself into the history books of computer graphics.
7. Cloverfield (2008)
The Scene: The Statue of Liberty’s scratched-up head comes sailing down a New York Street, hinting at the dangers to come.
JJ Abrams is indubitably one of the most creatively brilliant and unorthodox persons around. His knack for coming up with awe-inspiring visuals and the avant garde use of CGI often leaves us stupefied. A by-product of his mega-movie franchises like ‘Star Wars’, this 2008 disaster movie sent shock waves through the film industry. The 4 and 5k stills even today manage to send chills down your spines. But there’s one that marks itself as one of the greatest, not only in the movie, but the industry, the decapitation of Statue of Liberty. Poor lady. Post the most powerful in magnitude earthquake the city has ever endured, a severed head of the city’s piece de resistance falls off in front of the teenagers’ eyes. The disheveled setting is grossly unsettling and vaguely orgasmic. The veracity of the scene wouldn’t be doubted an iota if we didn’t know otherwise.
6. King Kong (2005)
The Scene: The mighty ape takes on three mighty V-Rex in order to protect Ann.
Peter Jackson is the wizard of the industry. His aesthetic sense and visual splendor have often flabbergasted audiences, and cast upon them charm like none other. After his hugely successful ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, he decided to bring to life another folklore character, a character truly for the ages. And the result was nothing short of miraculous. This scene specially got the better of the audiences and sent them into a frenzy. This epic battle was used as a cornerstone for the film’s promotion, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Kong takes on the vicious V-Rex in order to protect her paramour fro the impending danger. And the result is one of the most exhilarating contest between two creatures with completely different objectives.
5. Zodiac (2007)
The Scene: The first murder by Zodiac, featuring Mark Ruffalo inspecting the crime scene.
The fact is so obscure, that I had to rummage through about 10 videos to find the scene. ‘Zodiac’ is a mystery-thriller directed by David Fincher. And you don’t often associate him with CGI or anyone of that computer bullcrap. And seemingly so, he doesn’t like that. Well, he pulled off a Houdini. Remember the crime scene of the first murder, that has a taxi on the crossroads of the deserted street? That was all CGI and green screens. The whole setting behind the introspective Mark Ruffalo is formed by using computer imagery. Only the taxi and Ruffalo is real. Or is he?
4. Lord of the Rings
The Scene: The full realization of Gollum’s character.
I don’t think you will have words to describe this man after watching the video. Another one of Peter Jackson’s brainchild, this film set a precedent for epic films to follow, which none of them have been able to do till date. Anyways, describing the situation is difficult in words, and I would request all of you to watch the video instead.
PS: Also a shout out for the Pelenor battle scene from the final ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie.
3. Inception (2010)
The Scene: The ‘limbo’ city in DiCaprio’s conscience, in which he and Ellen Page fall into.
It is hard to keep up with the genius of Christopher Nolan. Probably the most loved and revered autuer in the world, Nolan’s trademark sci-fis have been nothing short of miraculous in the years gone by. With the amount of technicality involved, it is hard to think it possible without the use of CGI. While a lot of it is his clever camera work and technical brilliance, there is a fair amount of CGI used. This scene in particular blows your mind. The ultimate facing of fear beckons Cobb, as he for the final time enters the limbo. The ambit, a creation of Mel and Cobb’s mutual vision and love for one another’s privacy, simply blows our minds. The desolate skyscrapers, the serene and beautiful beaches, and the grandeur of the setting encapsulates our fetishes and gives us an orgasmic experience.
2. Jurassic Park (1993)
The Scene: The whole frigging movie!
Probably the only person who could have brought back to life creatures dead over a billion years is Steven Spielberg. And guess what, he did. And he did so with such aplomb, that it developed into one of the highest grossing franchises of all time, and saw a recent reboot featuring a bludgeoning stat, on the cusp of stardom. There isn’t one particular scene that rubs the conscience, because the whole movie had such breath-taking CGI. But one that does come to mind, is the introduction of Jeff Goldblum to the iconic T-Rex of the park, wherein the dinosaur attacks the two tourist cars, which the quartet barely escape from.
1. Avatar (2009)
The Scene: The Omaticaya clan’s deciduous condo gets a drastic makeover, courtesy of the evil Resources Development Administration.
This remains one of the most complex and intricate piece of work in cinema. The battle for Pandora tops the list for its grand setting and execution. Many might not have dared to even think it possible. But, Cameron was up to the task and gave us one of the most memorable CGI moments of all time. The scene, which is the thrilling finale to the exhilarating movie, the Na’vi suffer heavy casualties, including Tsu’tey and Trudy; but are rescued when Pandoran wildlife unexpectedly join the attack and overwhelm the humans, which Neytiri interprets as Eywa’s answer to Jake’s prayer. Nothing can surpass this masterpiece of a scene!