Thanks to the power of computers and special effects, movies can show just about anything a person can imagine. From massive battles between space armadas to the biggest monstrosities to ever walk the Earth, modern effects have unlocked many new ways of visual storytelling that were once thought to be impossible.
These special effects got better over the years as evidenced by what we see in cinemas today, but they weren't always so believable. In fact, some have been so bad they're in a league of their own.
Here are the 11 worst digital special effects in movies that set a new low for entertainment.
1) Jaws 3-D
- Year Of Release: 1983
- Directed By: Joe Alves
#Jaws is praised for the practical effects used to bring the feared great white shark to life in the original film. But for varying reasons, the sequels didn't exert as much effort as #StevenSpielberg did in making the shark as realistic as possible. The worst offender is the third Jaws entry, #Jaws3D, which as the title proudly states, is shown in the third dimension.
The 3D effects (chief among them, the shark) were so painfully obvious that they looked like someone stuck some stickers on the film's final reel. At the very least, Jaws 3-D entered the annals of cinematic history as one of the best unintentionally funny movies ever made.
Watch the shark explode in a clip from Jaws 3-D below.
2) The Langoliers
- Year Of Release: 1995
- Directed By: Tom Holland
During the mid-'90s, adaptations based on the works of horror novelist #StephenKing were the all the rage. Some of these stories were so long that they were a perfect fit for a televised mini-series, one of which was the novella #TheLangoliers. It's just a pity that these adaptations were not exactly the best things ever put on screen.
The Langoliers earned a reputation not just because of its over-the-top-acting, but because of its ridiculous ending with equally ridiculous special effects. As it turns out, time has stopped for the characters because they're in the space between time that is eaten by the titular Langoliers: monsters that look like floating meatballs with buzzsaws for teeth.
Watch the Langoliers eat everything below.
3. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
- Year Of Release: 1995
- Directed By: Bryan Spicer
The new #PowerRangersMovie may be a special effects marvel, but the first trip the colorful characters made to the big screen wasn't so easy on the eyes.
The bad CGI effects used in the very first Power Rangers movie: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie are more of a threat than any intergalactic villain.
As if the wire-work wasn't bad enough, the final fight between the Rangers and #IvanOoze (Paul Freeman) somehow made the clunky plastic and/or rubber costumes of the television series look more believable. Even worse is how the #Megazord saves the day by kicking the giant Ivan Ooze in the crotch - an almost purely (and poorly made) digital scene where most of the budget obviously went.
Watch the trailer for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie below.
4) Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition
- Year Of Release: 1997
- Directed By: George Lucas/Irvin Kershner/Richard Marquand
As good as the original #StarWars movies are, it seems that Star Wars mastermind #GeorgeLucas never heard the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Roughly a decade after the first trilogy's conclusion, Lucas re-released all three films with new special effects added to improve the original films, better known as the Special Editions.
Lucas' good intentions backfired, and instead took some viewers out of the experience. The new effects didn't fit with the original trilogy's practical effects, and only brought more attention to how fake they looked when compared to decades old costumes, puppets, and other old-school effects. The special editions may have its defenders, but the original trilogy will always be the better of the two.
Watch the trailer for the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition below.
- Year Of Release: 1998
- Directed By: Stephen Norrington
#Blade, the movie credited for starting the trend of R-Rated comic book adaptations, enjoys generally positive reception save for one part: its final fight. This is not because it has bad fight choreography or because its star #WesleySnipes acted poorly, but rather, because of how bad the special effects were when compared to the rest of the movie.
Deacon Frost's (Stephen Dorff) regeneration powers made his blood look like the animated screensavers from Windows 98, but Frost exploding into gallons of shoddy digital blood was actually the better option. In an alternate version of the climax, Frost turns into a sentient blood tornado with his face on it - and the scene is as gloriously silly as described.
Watch the alternate ending below. It starts at the 8:10 mark.
6) Deep Blue Sea
- Year Of Release: 1999
- Directed By: Renny Harlin
#DeepBlueSea is the second shark movie to pop up in this list, and once again, the special effects crew messed up what should have been a fearsome sea beast. When Russell Franklin (Samuel L. Jackson) gives a heroic speech about how the remaining scientists must work together to get out of the underwater facility in which they're trapped, a computerized shark eats him before he can finish his words of wisdom.
The death scene was thankfully quick, but not quick enough to disguise how cheap the shark's effects looked. If it's any consolation, Deep Blue Sea still gave audiences one of the most memorable and hilarious death scenes ever committed to film.
Watch the scene in question below.
7) The Mummy Returns
- Year Of Release: 2001
- Directed By: Stephen Sommers
Dwayne #TheRock Johnson may be a blockbuster name today, but he started his illustrious acting career as one of the worst digitally created characters ever seen in a movie. In the sequel to the first #TheMummy remake, the Rock plays the legendary #ScorpionKing - an immortal warlord and the commander of Anubis' armies.
When the Scorpion King awakes from his slumber, though, his appearance is not as intimidating as the legends may suggest. Instead, it's just the Rock's torso plastered onto a scorpion's body. The Scorpion King would later get his own spin-off movies (four of them, in fact), but thankfully, his awkward monstrous form didn't make a comeback.
Watch the Scorpion King's return to life below.
8) The Hulk
- Year Of Release: 2003
- Directed By: Ang Lee
Before #TheAvengers, it seemed like #TheIncredibleHulk could never catch a break. What should have been the gamma-powered brute's return was instead marred by CGI from the early 2000's that didn't do the character justice.
There's a lot of scenes to choose from when looking for bad effects, but the stand out example is the #Hulk himself. When surrounded by real-life military hardware, the Hulk looks like a video game character walking around live-action sets. However, the movie jumps into cartoon territory when Hulk fights a pack of gamma-powered dogs (including a poodle) that look half as real as he did.
Watch Hulk fight gamma dogs below.
9) I Am Legend
- Year Of Release: 2007
- Directed By: Francis Lawrence
For the most part, #IAmLegend is a solid drama about a lone survivor (and his dog) living in an abandoned New York City. #WillSmith gives one of his best post-90's performances in I Am Legend, but it almost goes to waste when he finally meets the story's supposed antagonists.
The nocturnal infected in I Am Legend could have been created practically, but are instead brought to life digitally. Thus, they looked like the undead that are gunned down in a zombie video game, not the new society that emerged after a virus killed most of humanity. Some say I Am Legend lost its humanity in its questionable conclusion, and the digital zombies only help bolster this criticism.
Watch a clip of the infected from I Am Legend below.
10) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Year Of Release: 2009
- Directed By: Gavin Hood
The original #XMen films stand as one of the best superhero movie franchises before the birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (#MCU), but the venerable series also has some chinks in its critically-approved armor. One of the biggest is the Wolverine prequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which feels more outdated than its predecessors.
Like The Hulk, there's a myriad of scenes with shoddy special effects to choose from in Origins, but the stand out is any scene where #Logan (Hugh Jackman) uses his claws. Logan's signature adamantium claws look like cheap effects digital effects, and given how much he uses them, they quickly become an eyesore to those who got used to the practical claws used in previous X-Men movies.
Check out a clip from X-Men Origins: Wolverine below.
11) Fantastic Four
- Year Of Release: 2015
- Directed By: Josh Trank
One of the worst superhero films in modern movie history is the latest adaptation of the #FantasticFour, or as some mockingly call it, #Fant4stic. Critics and fans alike could list a plethora of issues they have with the movie, but the easiest to point out are the special effects.
Despite being a multi-million dollar film, Fantastic Four looks like #SyFy Channel TV movie. The backgrounds were obvious green screen effects. The characters' powers looked like they came from an early 2000's movie, and Mister Fantastic (Miles Teller) had a scene where he squished his face to ineffectively alter his identity. Fant4stic has a lot of issues, and having some shockingly-subpar special effects in 2015 didn't help it any.
Watch the trailer for Fantastic Four below.
Aside from the movies listed here, what are the worst digital special effects you've seen in a movie?