The 20 Worst Movie CGI Moments

Surfing, sharks and stupid shorts...

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)

Ah, Watchmen. So much CGI to love, and then there’s... this. Always a little dodgy in the comic, Ozymandias' pet puss is also a jarring on-screen presence during the big finale, mainly because it’s like Cringer from He-Man just stepped straight out of the cartoon and into the movie.[page-break]


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.

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    • Bulletproof_animal

      Mar 10th 2009, 14:54

      "Did anybody in the whole world actually believe Jar Jar was really interacting with the actors in a single one of his scenes?" What about when Padme pulls his arm out of the podracer's engine? Jesus, do you fooking morons even watch these things or do you just let cunts like Simon Pegg do all your thinking for you. Take your head out of that gun-lovin' tosser's arsehole and try thinking for yourselves. Idiots.

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    • Bulletproof_animal

      Mar 10th 2009, 14:56

      Transformers works better on DVD.

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    • chicks

      Mar 10th 2009, 15:09

      We love you, Bulletproof_animal.

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    • thedarkknight

      Mar 10th 2009, 16:41

      bulletproof_animal, you are an angry, angry man. and the megalodon thing made me throw-up in my mouth a little bit.

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    • bionicruth

      Mar 10th 2009, 21:54

      "Sound Of Thunder" - what an absolute stinker! As for worst CGI moments you are missing my two favourites! Firstly there is the the awful "reshoot" hair given to Ewan McGregor in the closing scene of Episode 1 (but it may have just been a god awful wig) and Titanic. Calm down, just one bit in particular. The boat is sinking fast and our two heroes make their escape along a poorly lit- rapidly flooding corridor in slow motion, except Kate and Leo were obviously unavailable that day and two stand-ins were chosen easily disguised by CGI'ing the actors faces into the scene ... just a shame the faces don't fit on the heads or in fact stay where they should be while in motion. Frickin' awful. *Simon Pegg's opinion has had no influence in this post*

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    • Epicdonkey

      Mar 12th 2009, 18:17

      Oh c'mon TF! Transformers' effects were about as good as they could have been, any 'motion sickness' problems lay in the direction. "Fourteen years on, it will be remembered as 2007’s jaw-dropper." remember? :-) And you may want to check out the CGI monster from Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. It blends in less with it's non CG surroundings than Roger Rabbit did and it'd easily bump any of these offerings from the list...

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    • Sproutacus

      Mar 13th 2009, 12:34

      I think the Megalodon is actually real shark footage, but they made a p**s-poor job of super-imposing it. And if you're going to pick on "Watchmen" Dr. Manhattan's self dressing tuxedo looked very bad considering it was in a scene with a glowing blue nuclear man.

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    • Aeghast

      Mar 14th 2009, 13:28

      oh man, that bit from Megalodon was sooo bad XD

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    • Aeghast

      Mar 14th 2009, 13:29

      @Sproutacus: yeah, you're right: the shark stuff is real--the people is copy/pasted in there.. rather poorly

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    • Leggy99

      Mar 15th 2009, 20:19

      I have to agree with Bulletproof-animal, Do you watch these movies or just ask random people on the street, transformers is as good as you can get and personnal that part of the matrix is top line

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    • TheHawk

      Mar 19th 2009, 1:01

      What an awful article. Here's a tip: If you're going to make an article about the worst CGI in movies, do your research. If Jar Jar is among the worst CGI you've ever seen then you're not watching enough movies. Start watching some B movies. The worst CGI in the world comes from movies that don't have a George Lucas budget. Plus, that Megalodon stuff isn't even CGI. This feels like the kind of list a child would make because they've only seen about 20 films in their lifetime.

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    • dreams2film

      Mar 19th 2009, 6:59

      Whoever wrote this article is a stupid idiot!!! King Kong rocks!!! Lord of The Rings rocks!!! You, article writer, suck!!!

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    • mrsmiawallace

      Mar 22nd 2009, 22:57

      I have to say that some of this cgi didn't look too bad at the time when it was first released - with some exceptions. I have to say too, Megalodon 3 looks awesome for all the wrong reasons.

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    • NickyC

      Mar 27th 2009, 12:32

      Total Film: You have missed the worst one ever. The stupid animal thing out of Lost In Space! And having a dig at the King Kong stampede is a low blow. I saw that in Leicester Square and I was gripped.

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    • Padman

      Apr 22nd 2009, 11:47

      Haha @ NickyC; Lost in Space was on recently and I tuned in at the end just in time to see/remind myself of that terrible animal thing - looked awful! No jpegs of stationary cars weaving across traffic lights in "Cradle of Fear"? Or anything from "Battlefield Earth" - the sad thing is, if you watch the extra features, the cast seem convinced that the effects/film in general are massively amazing/will prove influential.

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    • Padman

      Apr 22nd 2009, 11:51

      You also forgot the monkeys in "Jumanji" - a horrible stain on a film that's effects were otherwise startling for the time. And yes, special edition Jabba blows, as do the infected in "I am Legend" - if only they'd just stuck with them being vampirised people a la the book, rather than going "there's no way people will believe vampires... how about non-specific mutants that, err... only come out at night" - they could have just done it with makeup!

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    • Smokinator

      Jan 3rd 2010, 13:42

      i think ur being harsh on deep blue sea, cos although the effects r bad in that scene, its a decent film.

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    • Smokinator

      Jan 3rd 2010, 14:02

      i was afraid the mist would be in there, cos althouhg its 1 of my favs, it has some shoddy cgi

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    • jesshurley

      Jun 22nd 2013, 15:27

      Dude Deep Blue Sea and Van Helsing should be hailed for their effects. On a lot of these you are just barking up the wrong tree. Sorry but this might be the worst article on bad CGI I have read.

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    • jonathanmock

      Jan 4th 2014, 11:41

      The Shark Attack 3 sequence seems to use a miniature or a practical prop of sorts, the other stuff is just poorly composited into place. Sp no actual CGI to speak of in that scene shown.

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