Skip to main content

The 20 Worst Movie CGI Moments


20. The Sharks, Deep Blue Sea (1999) ; Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)

Sharks are cool. Computer generated sharks, however, bite - and not in the toothy way.

Just check out the critter who ensures that Samuel L Jackson, uh, checks out of Deep Blue Sea: abysmal.

And as for the mammoth fish in Megalodon? JUST LOOK AT IT.


19. 99% Of The Snakes, Snakes On A Plane (2006)

It’s not like we expected the cast of SOAP to spend weeks locked inside a plane cabin with hundreds of venomous reptiles, but honestly, why do the majority of them look so slick and shiny and videogamey?

A few rubber wrigglers being jerked about by thin string would have been much more convincing.

18. Jar Jar Bleedin' Binks, Star Wars: Episodes I-III (1999-2005)

Did you hurt yourself when you just fell to the floor in shock? Yeah, we know, it’s obvious, but come ON!

Did anybody in the whole world actually believe Jar Jar was really interacting with the actors in a single one of his scenes?

Does anyone actually think he was a good idea well executed?[page-break]

17. The Burly Brawl, The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

Someone, somewhere, sat down at a computer, cracked their knuckles and cried, “Right. Let’s see what this baby can do...” And lo! They created a lengthy, implausible (even given the rules of the Matrix) and thoroughly wanky fight with a million Agent Smiths.

The Golden Rule Of CGI: Just because you can , doesn’t mean you should .

16) The Shaak, Star Wars: Episode II –  Attack Of The Clones (2002)

So Anakin and Padme are having a picnic, and young Darth decides to have some fun with the local wildlife. One bucking shaak-ride later, he’s in the grass.

We’ve seen more convincing things flung from a Buckaroo donkey.[page-break]

15. The Transformers, Transformers (2007)

Michael Bay’s hard-working team of ’bot wranglers created beautiful, glittering machines that made jaws drop... but then they had them moving so quickly that trying to follow one of them in a battle was a bit like trying to keep your eyes fastened on a single bee in a swarm.

14. The Hulk's Stupid Purple Shorts, Hulk (2004)

Opinion may be divided on the Hulk itself, but one thing is a cert: his shorts SUCK.

While some attempt has been made to make Green Boy's skin look halfway skin-like, his shorts look unsettlingly 2D, as though his privates are made up of cartoon parts.

In other words: pants. [page-break]

13. Bubastis The Lynx Thing, Watchmen (2009)

12. The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns (2001)

If ever a franchise has suffered from CGI overload, it’s this one. What worked so well in the first movie is an overblown mess in its follow-up, and nowhere more so than the bit where The Rock turns into a scuttling scorpion-thing that wouldn’t look out of place in BBC-budgeted Doctor Who.

11) The Fights, Blade 2 (2002)

Wesley Snipes kicks ass wonderfully in Guillermo del Toro’s vampire sequel... right up until the real-life action gives way to the sight of CGI characters bouncing and flying through the air so quickly they’re like leaves on the wind. Never have ninjas been so ‘meh’.[page-break]


10. Young Jabba, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977/2007)

In a scene snipped from the original movie, Han Solo chats to a human Jabba. In the Special Edition 20 years later, Han Solo chats to a computer-realised Hutt.

Or at least, he tries to; not once does Jabba look like he’s actually there, and Harrison Ford’s eyeline seems less focused on CGI-Jabba than what he's having for tea that night.

9. The Lions & The Infected, I Am Legend (2007)

With all the location filming on the specially cleared streets of New York giving Will Smith’s post-apocalyptic thriller a genuinely chilling edge, it’s a shame a pride of shitty CG lions and hordes of zombies that move like lightning and seem to be weightless ruin all sense of believability.[page-break]


8. Groundhogs & Monkeys, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008)

If you feel you absolutely have to have a gurning gopher popping up in your movie, is it really necessary to spend so much time and money whipping up a computer-generated one? They do exist in real life!

And as for those monkeys... Jungle Book did ’em better 40-odd years ago.

7. Legolas & The Mumakil, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King (2003)

The giant, stomping Mumakil elephants in the final Rings movie are undeniably brilliant. Sadly, the Elf that gaily bounces onto the back of one of them before bringing it down with some carefully-placed arrows is nothing to trumpet about.

Legolas has never looked so un-Elfy.[page-break]


6. Quidditch Game & Troll Attack, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Kudos to the Potter FX crew for visualising the Quidditch arena in such colourful, gleeful glory. Boos to the Potter FX crew for being totally unable to render a realistic player mid-flight.

Meanwhile, the troll young Potter piggybacks in the toilets is just bog-awful.

5. Spidey & The Green Goblin, Spider-Man (2002 )

Well, the Green Goblin more closely resembled the kind of plastic toy you’d find with a Happy Meal than a living, breathing person, while Tobey Maguire’s sensitive, likable portrayal of Peter Parker was totally undermined by his alter-ego’s shamelessly computer-gamey Spidey swing. Rubbish. [page-break]

4. Glacier Surfing, Die Another Day (2002)

Sometime in 2002 Jason Bourne might have sat in a cinema, watched a poorly-conceived computer version of Pierce Brosnan’s 007 surfing away from a falling glacier and thought to himself, “What a wuss...”

Seven years later, Bourne’s the hardass and Bond’s only just managed to retain his cred - punctured as it was by this cartoonish mush of poorly matched process-shot and clearly-not-Bond Bond.[page-break]

3. The Vampires, Van Helsing (2004 )

The FX in this film are so bad they even succeed in making the ultra-cool Hugh Jackman look a bit stupid, as he gormlessly interacts with thin air.

Moving according to those special laws of physics that only exist inside a computer, these flying neckbiters deserved a good staking.

2. The Whole Of A Sound Of Thunder (2005)

A million disasters – including floods and bankruptcy - befell the making of this adap of Ray Bradbury’s butterfly-squishing story, which posits that changing one thing in the past can destroy the future.

It also explains why the film looks as though somebody stepped on its FX in 1900 and totally wiped them out.[page-break]

1. Brontosaurus Stampede, King Kong (2005)

Giant gorilla? Eighth wonder of the world. Stampeding dinosaurs chasing Jack Black and cohorts down a ruined road? As convincing as a Tom & Jerry short.

The dinos are soupy, the actors don’t interact with them properly and even the stirring sound FX don’t help. Plods when it should run.

You've seen the worst, now soothe yourself with the best.

Head to sister site SFX for the 20 Best Movie CGI Moments.

Liked This? Then see:

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Get the latest movie news, features and reviews delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up here!

Follow us on Twitter

Instant updates, chat with us and join in the conversation. Start here!