Warning: If you have not seen the movies in this list, there may be spoilers.
5. Life Of Pi
The Life of Pi is a story of friendship and perseverance, following the footsteps of a young Indian male by the name of Pi Patel, who is cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat after surviving a shipwreck. However, he is not alone and he learns to survive with several other animals, who also find refuge on the lifeboat including a fearsome Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. As you likely figured, the Bengal tiger was not real as using a real tiger probably wouldn’t have ended well for the actor. As the visual effects supervisor of the film put it, “We didn’t want our actor to get eaten.” In scenes where Pi had to interact with the tiger, a stuffed blue animal of some sort with rather questionable eyes drawn on was used. As for the ocean, well, there was no ocean, just a massive self-generating wave tank with a blue screen.
“Don’t Let Go” was the tagline to the 2013 Sci-Fi Thriller, Gravity. After the mid-orbit destruction of their space shuttle, two American astronauts find themselves stranded in space, tethered only to each other and must work together to survive. Many of the scenes in the film are comprised of stunning visual effects from the whole environment of space to the space suits and even the props themselves. In fact, of the film’s 91-minute running time, 80 of which entirely consists of visual effects. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, a manually controlled lighting system consisting of 1.8 million individually controlled LED lights was built to simulate the extreme light in outer space.
3. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes certainly raised the bar when it came to visual effects and WETA digital did an exceptional job bringing the apes to life through motion capture technology and CGI as opposed to using actors in ape suits. The film revolves around Caeser, a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Later in the film, Caeser gets locked up in a primate sanctuary and during his time there, he assembles a simian army and leads an ape uprising. Not only were the visual effects impressive but also Andy Serkis’ performance as Caeser. The facial expressions, movement and emotion Serkis brought to his performance is truly phenomenal. Someone just give the man an Oscar already, he deserves it.
2. Captain America: Civil War
In the third instalment of the Captain America movies: Civil War, the government passes an act that restricts the freedom of The Avengers following widespread fears of the actions of the heroes. This leaves The Avengers divided in opinion, particularly Captain America and Iron Man and an all-out war eventually escalates between Captain America’s team and Iron Man’s team. As you can imagine, a lot of VFX and green-screen work goes into making Marvel movies and Captain America: Civil War was no different. Green-screens were key in a lot of the scenes including the massive fight that took place between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America at the airport. You’d think they would film at an actual airport but no, it’s astoundingly all computer-generated. Just look at the size of the green-screens used, that’s some pretty big green-screens.
1. Jurassic World
22-years after the events of Jurassic Park, a new theme park, called “Jurassic World” is opened to the public, located on the same fictional island of Isla Nublar, off the west coast of Costa Rica. Scientists create a genetically modified, hybrid mutant dinosaur, however, the dinosaur ends up breaking loose and chaos ensues. As you can imagine, the dinosaurs were created using CGI and in some scenes actors had to imagine interacting with them. But, for other scenes with dinosaurs like Velociraptors, human actors wearing motion capture suits and raptor headgear because why not, were used to replicate raptors’ movements. Everything from the scenery to even grass and foliage were created using visual effects and it makes you wonder what is even real anymore? It goes to show how fundamental and how much of an impact CGI has on films nowadays.