25 best movie CGI effects ever
The Matrix (1999)
Although more famous for its bullet-time photography which, while impressive, owes nothing to the wonders of CGI, The Matrix combined digital effects with its innovative shooting style to great effect. Our personal favourite is the glass ripple effect of a slo-mo helicopter crashing into the side of a skyscraper.
The Last Starfighter (1984)
This outer space adventure about a young gamer being recruited to fight in a real galactic war featured a plethora of CGI effects shots - rather appropriately. All the shots of spacecraft, the space itself, and the ensuing battles were generated on a Cray X-MP computer. Playground rumour had it that Atari built a real Last Starfighter machine which was never put into production. We can but hope.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Spider-Man 3 featured 900 visual effects shots that meant creating brand new computer programs that didn’t exist before the film began shooting. The most impressive scene sees super-villain Sandman forming from thousands of individual grains of sand. A breathtaking sequence, both as a technical feat and for the pathos that director Sam Raimi brought to the character's origin.
Hollow Man (2000)
Inspired by the H. G. Wells Invisible Man this Kevin Bacon staring take on the classic was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects – but lost to Gladiator. The scene most notable was when Bacon’s character became invisible and vanished a layer at a time from skin to muscles to veins and then bones. Apparently this scene employed a fancy shader that used volumetric hypertexture shader and 3D procedural noise to peel layers off – pretty standard really.
Westworld saw whe first use of 2D digital imagery in the cinema, for the point-of-view shots from Yul Brynner's robot gunslinger. It was pretty primitive – using 2D animation with raster graphics, or dot matrix to you and I – but from small acorns mighty CGI oaks would eventually grow.