Top 10 Worst CGI of the 2010s
VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild
WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
There's nothing like horrible CGI to ruin a movie! For this list, we'll be looking at the most embarrassing special effects displays from that decade of movies. Our countdown includes scenes from 2019's "Aladdin", "Tron:Legacy", "Justice League" and more!
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 worst 2010s CGI. For this list, we’ll be looking at the most embarrassing special effects displays from that decade of movies. Which of these CGI mishaps made you cringe the most? Let us know in the comments below!
#10: The Genie
Will Smith had massive shoes to fill when it came to playing the Genie. And he actually did a very good job! Unfortunately, the CGI didn’t quite measure up. The movie comes to a screeching halt whenever Genie is shown because the bad CGI is so painfully distracting. The digital body and Smith’s face just don’t blend that well. In fact, the scenes involving the Genie often veer into the uncanny valley. It looks like Will Smith, it sounds like Will Smith, yet it’s still an obviously digital Will Smith. Thankfully, this version of the Genie spends much of the movie in his human form so we don’t have to look at the blue mess for long.
#9: Pretty Much Everything
“Fantastic Four” (2015)
By 2015, it was time for a “Fantastic Four” reboot. Unfortunately, the film was widely lambasted and is regarded by some as one of the worst superhero movies ever made. Despite a budget of $120 million, “Fantastic Four” has incredibly shoddy visual effects to show for it. It looks worse than films made in the ‘90s. “Fantastic Four’s” got a poorly rendered chimpanzee, terrible displays of superpowers and appalling green screen work. Even the Baxter Building itself is badly made. Every single one of these visual mishaps helped make the movie the butt of everyone’s jokes. At the end of the day, the film was far from fantastic.
#8: De-Aging Jeff Bridges
“Tron: Legacy” (2010)
Every time a blockbuster manages to de-age someone correctly, it proves to be a marvelous piece of movie magic. But when done poorly, it only makes the actor look like a waxy, floaty, and inhuman alternate version of themselves. The makers of “Tron: Legacy” attempted to make the 59-year-old Jeff Bridges 35 again to play the youthful villain Clu. Despite having access to the footage from the 1984 film “Against All Odds” as reference, it looks like filmmakers started from scratch. Even though Clu is supposed to be a digital antagonist, he still looks way too fake. We never think: “Wow, that’s 35-year-old Jeff Bridges!” All we want to do is delete this creation from our memories.
“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” (2012)
Even the most ardent “Twilight” lovers have to admit that the infant Renesmee scene was rocky. When Bella comes face to face with her baby for the first time, it’s supposed to be a tender scene. But we can’t help bursting out into laughter. Nothing about that CGI baby looks realistic. For a moment, we wondered if the actress had been briefly trapped inside of a video game cutscene. We get that the filmmakers intended for Renesmee to look a little unnatural owing to her supernatural origins. So, they decided to forgo a real baby in favor of a CGI creation. But their misguided approach turned the entire scene into a joke.
#6: Wall Freddy
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (2010)
Practical effects don’t always look better than CGI. However, in this specific case, the practical version wins with ease. Both “Nightmare on Elm Street” films feature a scene in which Freddy comes out of the wall and hovers over a teen. It looked great in the original film! However, it’s largely ineffective in the remake. In the original, it looks like a person is actually coming out of the wall. The remake looks like the wall suddenly turned into an artificial creation and sprouted a face. While the 2010’s remake had many issues, its overreliance on CGI might have been what really made it a nightmare to watch.
“Justice League” (2017)
Despite coming out five years after Marvel’s first superhero team up film, the effects of 2017’s “Justice League” are sufficiently worse. This film had a notoriously difficult production that resulted in some truly shoddy CGI. Steppenwolf in particular looks terrible. He is overly-digitized and not in the least bit realistic. Whenever he’s around, it’s hard to feel as if he has an actual physical presence among the other characters. He’s always just kind of floating there as a too apparent VFX creation interacting with human actors. For a movie that cost $300 million, this is some amateur effects work. It’s impossible to take him seriously as the big bad.
#4: The Green Lantern
“Green Lantern” (2011)
This movie was a huge swing and a miss for DC. It’s a shame, because Ryan Reynolds is so effortless as the titular superhero. The poor CGI was one of the biggest criticisms levied against this movie. From the manufactured environments all the way down to Green Lantern’s suit everything looks embarrassingly fake. Although Reynolds initially defended his computerized suit, standing up for it was a lost cause. Everything about it looks third-rate, particularly the virtual mask that is poorly superimposed over Reynolds’s face. Maybe it makes the suit look more “alien” as Reynolds suggests, but in this case, “alien” means “obviously fake.”
#3: Bird Attack
“Birdemic: Shock and Terror” (2010)
The internet can’t get enough of “Birdemic.” Regarded as one of the worst movies of all time, it was made by James Nguyen and self-financed for less than $10,000. So, we weren’t looking for “Avatar” level effects. But “Birdemic” still managed to soar far below our basement level expectations. The bird attack sequences have become widely known and notorious throughout the internet for their exceptionally poor quality. It always looks like one picture of a bird was taken off the internet, crudely cut and pasted as many times as needed, and then badly animated. The only thing scary about these birds is how bad they look.
#2: The Thing
“The Thing” (2011)
The original “Thing” contains some of the greatest practical effects work ever seen on film. Unfortunately, the prequel failed to recapture the magic of the classic by losing itself in some truly dreadful CGI. While the concept of the Thing is great, every scene involving the creature looks terrible. The lackluster visual effects are both poorly lit and lacking in detail. Our brains are never tricked into being scared or repulsed, because the CGI is so screamingly obvious. We are very aware that we’re watching a digital creation instead of a grotesque monster. Honestly, it’s baffling that the original 1980s film creation runs circles around what they made in 2011.
#1: The Cats
“Cats” will probably go down in history as one of the most woefully misguided products from one of the biggest movie studios in the world. When the process started, the filmmakers could’ve gone the practical route and just had actors in cats suits. Instead, they pushed visual effects artists to work under tight constraints to produce embarrassing abominations. These are monsters, not cats. Rendering digital cat bodies around human faces was an absolutely ghastly way to go about bringing them all to life. And the visual effects artists even left details like Judi Dench’s wedding ring in the final cut. Even from the very first trailer, we knew that something very wrong had occurred. Post-release, these cats will always be the stuff of internet infamy.