A film’s visual effects can make or destroy it. The bulk of big-budget films use CGI to generate realistic graphics, but not all succeed in blurring the line between truth and imagination. Today’s mind-blowing visual effects owe a great deal to the films that came before them, many of which advanced digital picture technology alongside the growth of cinema itself.
10. Jurassic Park (1993)
In 1993, one of the most breathtakingly realistic monster movies of all time was created. Jurassic Park, directed by Steven Spielberg, used a combination of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and robotic puppets to bring prehistoric animals back from extinction, flawlessly merging digital beauty with practical alternatives. ILM created 56 computer-generated scenes totaling 6.5 minutes of screen time in Jurassic Park.
9. Rogue One (2016)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards, is a direct prequel to Star Wars (1977). Rogue One comprises around 1,700 visual effects images from ILM, including photoreal digital recreations of actors Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher. The VFX and action set-pieces have a genuine edge to them that the saga hasn’t seen since the fight of Hoth.
8. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 stars Ryan Gosling as “K,” a Nexus-9 replicant who discovers a long-buried secret. Blade Runner 2049 is a rare sequel that improves on, if not outperforms, the original’s excellence. Framestore worked on the visual effects for Blade Runner 2049, delivering around 300 VFX scenes for the finished picture.
7. The Two Towers (2002)
Weta Digital was the film’s primary visual effects company. To recreate Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance as Gollum, they used roto-nation and keyframe-tracking. The final picture includes 799 digital images and 73 minutes of visual effects—and the results speak for themselves: The Two Towers still holds up 20 years later.
6. Infinity War & Endgame (2018, 2019)
Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame are the 19th and 22nd installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), respectively. They are the first feature films to be shot fully in digital IMAX using innovative camera technology pioneered by The Arri Group. Over 5,000 VFX shots were created for Infinity War and Endgame by Industrial Light & Magic, Framestore, DNEG, and several more firms.
5. Ex Machina (2014)
In Ex Machina, a programmer is asked by his CEO to conduct the Turing test on an artificially intelligent humanoid robot. Ex Machina’s major visual effects studio was DNEG. Alex Garland directs with incredible assurance and panache, taking known concepts and presenting them in a deep, complex inventive way to create a captivating science-fiction thriller.
4. Avatar (2009)
James Cameron’s Avatar is set in the mid-22nd century and was written, directed, produced, and co-edited by him. During the development of Avatar, many novel visual effects techniques were utilized. Weta Digital was the primary visual effects firm for Avatar, with ILM and Framestore contributing additional work. Over 2,500 VFX shots were used in the finished picture.
3. War For The Planet Of The Apes (2017)
War for the Planet of the Apes, directed by Matt Reeves, follows the fight between humans and apes, with Caesar setting out to avenge those he has lost after the conflict evolves into a full-fledged war. The visual effects for War for the Planet of the Apes were created by Weta Digital. The completed film has almost 1,400 VFX shots. Apes were made utilizing a combination of computer-generated keyframe animation and motion-capture performance.
2. Interstellar (2014)
Interstellar, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, follows a group of astronauts as they voyage through space in quest of a new home for humanity. For Interstellar, DNEG was the principal visual effects studio. The graphics team created a computer-rendered black hole that was so realistic and exact that it led to the discovery of two scientific phenomena.
1. Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
Dead Man’s Chest, directed by Gore Verbinski, follows Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow as he navigates perilous waters, touching encounters with Bill Nighy’s Davy Jones—half-man, part crab, part octopus. Davy Jones is a technological achievement in film. His character design is amazing. The technical directors, supervisors, animators, artists, operators, and compositors at ILM ensure that the audience’s suspension of disbelief is maintained throughout the film.