As technology becomes more sophisticated, so do the many visual effects we see in movies. When I was growing up, many non-human or humanoid movie characters would have to be created with costumes, puppets, or stop motion photography. Now, however, memorable characters can be created through the use of computer generated imagery (CGI), a term with which any fan of fantasy or science fiction movies is undoubtedly familiar. And over the last decade or so (sometimes earlier), there have been quite a few of those characters.
For the purposes of this article, I considered only CGI characters from live action movies, so as awesome as Wall-E and Mr. Incredible are, they won’t be found here. Keep reading to see the top 10 CGI characters from live action movies.
10. Draco – Dragonheart
Draco was perhaps the coolest-looking dragon on film up to the time Dragonheart was released, and the fact that he was voiced by Sean Connery doesn’t hurt, either. What earns Draco a spot on this list isn’t his being a dragon; it’s his intelligence and resourcefulness. Draco strikes a deal with Bowen, orchestrating a partnership from which both the human and dragon can prosper.
9. The Cloverfield Monster – Cloverfield
Love it or hate it, the oft-described “Blair Witch meets Godzilla” Cloverfield featured one of the more memorable movie monsters in recent history. As enormous as buildings and able to withstand a barrage of bullets and missles, the Cloverfield monster was able to destroy just about anything we mere humans could throw at it. In fact, humans were hardly any match for the huge louse-like creatures that lived on its skin. During the ending credits, if you listen to a sound clip played, you’ll learn that after the Hammerdown protocol, “it’s still alive.” I was not very familiar with the viral marketing and mythology that surrounded this movie (Slusho?), but does anyone know just where the monster came from?
8. Davy Jones – Pirates of the Carribbean 2 & 3
Personally, I thought that Pirates 2 was abysmal and that Pirates 3 was even worse, but one character I enjoyed throughout was the tentacle-faced Davy Jones. If only for the visual effect of his dynamic face constantly slithering and contorting itself, Davy Jones breaks into the top 10. His sword skills and ability to summon the Kraken, though, bump him up to the eight spot.
7. Master Control Program – Tron
Before Skynet and War Games, the scary, self-aware artificial intelligence to fear was the main villain of Tron, the Master Control Program (MCP). With a penchant for enslaving other programs and stealing data, the MCP could learn, makign it all the more dangerous. As is the case with most evil intelligences, the MCP sought world domination but was ultimately defeated by Flynn and Tron. MCP also makes an appearance in Kingdom Hearts II.
6. Starscream – Transformers
Alright, I know you’re probably thinking, “Madison, you moron. If you’re going to choose a CGI character from Transformers, why not pick Optimus Prime? Or Bumblebee? Or even Megatron?” The reason, dear readers, is because those characters are lame compared to Starscream. Optimus Prime has no sense of fun. Lighten up, old man. Bumblebee is OK, I guess, but he’s not as lethal as some of the other Autobots (and most of the Decepticons). As for Megatron? He’s alright, I guess, but it was Starscream that took out the human jetfighters and managed to survive throughout the movie, and it’s Starscream that would stab Megatron in the back without hesitation in exchange for power. That’s the type of ambition I like to see in a villain, and Starscream’s got loads of it. Also: his voice. Pretty good in the movie; orgasmic in the cartoon. If only Chris Latta could have been available for the movie.