Holy shit, CGI has changed the way we look at the world around us. Back in the 70’s if you were waiting for the movie to start and the bucket of popcorn grew eyes and started dancing around the counter top assisted by a reanimated bag of Skittles you’d puke in your hat and call a ventriloquist, a priest, and a burly cop six weeks from retirement to come deal with it. Now we can’t flip through the channels without seeing a seemingly living 2,000 foot robot whipping up a lather in his 17,000 foot shower or a muffin writhing out of some bitch’s grasp as she does a walk-and-talk about menopause being a real pisser. Superman made us believe a man could fly but it wasn’t until The Revenge of the Sith that we could believe that Christopher Lee had both Jedi Powers and Phase-Shift Parkinsons.
CGI is an amazing tool that many filmmakers wield like a digital Mjolnir, creating worlds and creatures that take our breath away. Unfortunately through the years some have used it as a scythe, slashing our dreams and severing that muscle that connects our sexual pleasure organs to the muscle that tells our mind we’re really good at using our sexual pleasure organs. The result is oblivion.
So with that we bring you CHUD’s latest glorious list. The twenty worst instances of CGI in movie history. In no order. Well, except the order we decide to do them.
Brought to you by Nick Nunziata
THE OFFENDER: The Mummy Returns (2001)
THE SCENE: The Scorpion King returns from his slumber and makes battle with our heroes and Imhotep (the legendary Arnold Vosloo, who when he comes back… is going to cut a steak), which is fine except he’s a digital The Rock with a scorpion’s body battling in slow-mo and close-up. Look at that snarl up above. Not even The Rock’s mother could tell the difference between her son and the 1991 Phillips CD+I graphic above… until she flew out of her Dad’s dick and grew sentience.
Mr. The Rock is The Scorpion King so of course he’s half man and half scorpion. Of course the scorpion half is 1,400 times the size of a normal scorpion. Imagine if centaurs had to deal with the same logic. Of course director Stephen Sommers used exactly zero pieces of actual The Rock meat to create this supposedly real creature meant to interact with his cast.
WHERE IT ALL GOES WRONG: Moment one. I’m at times a very staunch Stephen Sommers defender, but use of CGI is not his strong suit on his best day. This is his worst day. The character looks like he’s about forty stages from the “approved” phase with features and facial animations that Andrea Bocelli can spot the ineffectiveness of. It’s made worse by the fact that the film begins with an action sequence with the real The Rock. It’d be one thing if the early version of the character eats a shitty grape and gets so sick he pukes up one of his dimensions. Then we could believe that this infirm 1-D villain looks the way he does.
The comparison between the man The Rock and the digital The Rock is ridiculous. And not in a good Bud Dwyer is shooting his face on live TV kinda way.
This horrible climactic bit of CGI is worsened by the fact the entire scene takes place amidst tons of different lighting effects [chiefly, FLAME, which as many of you know flickers and constantly affects what our eyes yell at our brain to understand] and that it requires this ‘being’ to interact with a bunch of living breathing human beings as well as John Hannah. What we’re left with is absolutely hollow semi-entertainment, and the fact this moment makes the cut for our list and not the horrible zombie monkeys or thousands of running Anubis assholes whose feet never seem to actually be touching the ground tells you that The Mummy Returns is to bad CGI as the rainforest is to plant life. Though there are many asshole scenes in this movie, the FakeRock takes the cake. And then speedfucks the cake.
HOW IT COULD HAVE BEEN DONE PRACTICALLY: There’s this guy who looks just like the CGI Rock, only less pixelated. Almost like a skin The Rock, one who can emote [sorta] without having to involve a handful of guys with way too many Neon Evangelion toys and their Maya desktops. This majestic living The Rock person could play the scenes and then have the magic of greenscreen, wire work, prosthetics, and CGI [for the easier to fake aspects] create movie magic that speaks to the many films of yore which totally influenced the Mummy movies without making a list like this one.
In reality it’s all about time. They had to rush this movie out to make the Summer release date. I think everyone was hoping to get the movie out before the general public figured out they were flocking to a movie sequel starring With Honors Guy.
It could have been worse. They could have used Sommers’ first approved CGI pass:
HOW BAD IS IT? Instead of 1’s and 0’s, the binary code they used is 3’s and one of the Joust buzzard’s toenails.
IN SUMMATION: This is one whirling bitch bastard of a mistake of a CGI movie creation and one of the big chinks in the armor of a once-proud tradition of gorgeous and visually convincing summer spectacles.
This came in 2001 and was almost the worst thing to happen that year.
Take a look at this abomination in all its glory: