What Great Movies Look Like Without Special Effects

What Great Movies Look Like Without Special Effects


Hollywood blockbusters have become increasingly
reliant on visual effects over the past few decades, and recent advances in technology
have made it so feats in VFX work that were considered impossible just a few years ago
are now well within reach. More and more studios are using CGI in films,
mostly because it’s often cheaper than the alternative. In fact, many modern blockbusters are covered
in so many digital layers that the original footage looks unrecognizable—and more often
than not, completely ridiculous. Here’s what these movies really looked like
before special effects were added. 300: Rise of an Empire
Zack Snyder’s 300 made heavy use of CGI, and the technology used to create it had advanced
immensely by the time its sequel, Rise of an Empire, came around. Which, of course, meant squeezing every ounce
of that tech into the movie. Director Noam Murro told Forbes:
“It’s amazing how the tools available eight years later continue to develop. A major difference is CGI and the ability
to create things in post that are convincing and complex and three-dimensional. The idea of creating a water movie without
a drop of water on the set is remarkable.” The filmmaker also revealed they relied on
some of the same techniques used in the Oscar-winning CGI blockbuster Gravity. Elysium Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to his acclaimed
debut District 9 didn’t exactly go as planned, despite the star power of Matt Damon. The blockbuster sci-fi film cost a whopping
$115 million to make, but only returned $93 million at the domestic box office. But while Blomkamp took full responsibility
for the film’s failings, the South African director didn’t have any complaints about
the special effects team, which had to put together over three times as many VFX shots
as they had for District 9. Jurassic World When Steven Spielberg decided to adapt Michael
Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, CGI as we know it today didn’t really exist. Spielberg brought on Industrial Light and
Magic and tasked them with creating living, breathing dinosaurs using computer-generated
graphics, and their efforts proved revolutionary. Of course, it wasn’t just CGI that brought
the inhabitants of Jurassic Park to life. There were a number of practical effects used
too, and ILM mixed it up in the same way for Jurassic World. The fourth film in the franchise used detailed
white casts of dinosaur heads that would later be layered with CGI for close-up shots, and
they used actors in motion capture suits to make sure their movement seemed real. VFX supervisor Tim Alexander told Below the
Line: “It gave us a new natural look for the animation. We ended up casting a person to give us a
consistency in the performance. There were individual people being that raptor. We had suits that they would put on with a
tail.” Mad Max: Fury Road When George Miller returned to the world of
Mad Max with his critically acclaimed Fury Road in 2015, audiences were blown away by
the sequel’s frenetic pace and visceral action—much of which was achieved through the hard work
of inventive mechanics who built the vehicles used in the movie from scratch. The chase scenes were all shot for real, but
the final product wouldn’t have looked anywhere near as eye-popping if it weren’t for the
VFX team. Led by supervisor Andrew Jackson, hundreds
of CGI artists enhanced over 2000 shots in Fury Road, from adding characters to creating
an epic toxic storm. The Avengers When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes teamed up on
the big screen in 2012, the stakes were high for Marvel Studios and their team of visual
effects artists. Jeff White, the film’s VFX supervisor, told
MTV: “With Avengers, there were so many things
to get right. We created a lot of New York City for the
film and needed to build flying shots of Iron Man all from photography. We had to build a new Iron Man suit—the
Mark VII—and Stark Tower. We had to build the alien race. When you add all of those things up, there
are quite a few challenges there.” Green screens were used during most of the
film’s action sequences, so the cast spent a good chunk of time reacting to invisible
threats and taking cover from fake explosions. The biggest hurdle they faced was inserting
the Hulk into group situations. White explained:
“We wanted it to feel very natural when he’s sitting in that circle of Avengers. We spent a lot of time working on his skin
and his hair and his teeth, just to make sure that all of that was believable.” Man of Steel To create the illusion of flight, Richard
Donner’s Superman employed wire rigs to hang leading man Christopher Reeve in front of
different projected backgrounds. The film is a classic, and the effects looked
great in the ’70s, but watching it today it feels as though you’re flying with Superman
as opposed to him flying past you—something Man of Steel director Zack Snyder wanted to
avoid when he set out to make Superman soar. Snyder decided to use a handheld approach
to filming Clark’s flying scenes, which meant adding in most of the effects in post. Wire rigs and gimbals were used to suspend
Henry Cavill in front of green screens, and the CGI team did the rest. Iron Man 3 When the first Iron Man movie dropped in 2008,
director Jon Favreau wasn’t known for CGI-heavy features, but advances in technology had convinced
him to change his stance. “I’ve always steered away from using visual
effects whenever possible… That being said, in the last few years there
have been a lot of wonderful visual effects movies where it’s beginning to become seamless
even to me.” Favreau returned for the sequel, but Shane
Black took the reins for Iron Man 3, which contained some of the most challenging visual
effects yet. Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige explained:
“We wanted the ability to be able to suit up anywhere, anyhow, without a giant gantry.” The answer was having Tony Stark design outlets
he injects just below the skin, not unlike the comics, allowing him to call the Iron
Man suit from anywhere. To pull off the effect, each individual piece
had to be digitally added to Robert Downey Jr.’s body after the fact. Spider-Man: Homecoming Years of gymnastics training really paid off
for Tom Holland on the set of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the character’s eagerly anticipated
introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even with the advances in CGI in recent years,
it helps to have an actor who feels comfortable jumping around in tights and doesn’t mind
hanging around on wires all day long. This was the case with the film’s Washington
Monument scene—but while that was indeed Holland under the Spidey mask, the monument
itself was a fake, erected on a studio sound stage. “We couldn’t film at the real Washington Monument,
but we built very impressive, very large chunks of the monument for filming.” Holland got up the structure with the aid
of a wire rig, though even with his background it was far from a walk in the park. “We did two weeks and every single shot was
upside down. And my head just took a pounding, man, from
all the blood that was rushing to it.” The Jungle Book The CGI Jon Favreau used for Iron Man was
nothing compared to what he did for his 2016 live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book. To create an entire jungle around a human
actor, they needed to pull out all the stops. The lighting was particularly difficult. The director explained:
“It’s very hard to fake light and shadow. So everything became about using panels of
LEDs to project light so if we had the kid bowing before the elephants, you have panels
where we actually would pre-animate the elephants and they would cast the shadows on the kid
in the exact right way.” This meant that 12-year-old star Neel Sethi
had to imagine the animals he was interacting with, though Favreau was on hand to make the
experience as real as possible for the young actor via puppets and actors in blue suits. RoboCop Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop got the most out
of the special effects available in the ’80s, using a combination of stop-motion and prosthetic
builds to create a movie that was disturbingly realistic at times. In the 2014 reboot, Murphy gets his injuries
in an explosion that was created digitally, but the suit he dons afterward was actually
real. “And there was a philosophy from the start
that we were going to have a head-to-toe suit.” The challenge was building a suit that was
mobile and easy for the digital department to add onto. The Martian Ridley Scott is no stranger to special effects,
but creating the red planet onscreen for The Martian may have been his biggest challenge
as a director. While some practical effects were used, a
huge amount of digital work was required to give The Martian Scott’s desired look. VFX supervisor Anders Langlands told Gizmodo:
“[Ridley Scott] is famous for doing his little sketches which are sort of really cool Ridley-grams. We’d ask ‘What do you want the background
mountains to look like in this shot?’ And he’d sketch out a little diagram of what
they wanted. So you just literally match that and he’d
be happy.” A lot of time was spent finding the right
hue for the skies and arid landscapes of Mars, though in the end it was a simple thing that
caused the VFX team the most problems: the helmet visors. “But of course glass visors would reflect
the crew, and the lights, and the sound stage, so all the helmet visors you see in the film
are actually added in digitally.” Suicide Squad David Ayer’s anti-hero ensemble Suicide Squad
definitely had its flaws, but few of those were the fault of the many visual effects
houses—18 companies in total—that worked tirelessly on it. Imageworks were the ones who handled the Squad’s
final battle with Enchantress, and the movie’s villain proved to be a huge challenge, according
to VFX supervisor Mark Breakspear. He told ARTofVFX:
“Enchantress was a unique challenge as the actress had been shot without a costume as
we had to add it in later to allow it to behave in a way that normal cloth or materials couldn’t.” Breakspear later told AWN that of the 300
shots they enhanced for the film’s third act, dealing with the Enchantress’ tattoos proved
the most difficult. “That was amazingly tricky to make sure it
looked like skin, but also had the translucency that we needed to see the sub-surface tattoos.” The Wolf of Wall Street
Watching Martin Scorsese’s ode to excess The Wolf of Wall Street, the only scenes that
stick out as being possibly computer-generated are the one during which Jordan Belfort’s
yacht sinks and the one when a lion wanders freely through his office. But a visual effects reel released by Brainstorm
Digital revealed that some of the most basic shots in the movie were rendered with CGI. From sun loungers to tennis courts, Brainstorm
made plenty of subtle touches to bring the film in line with the director’s vision. VFX producer Mark Russell told Digital Arts:
“Working with Martin Scorsese, everything is about propelling a story forward and contributing
to the film. I feel that with his movies, there’s a kind
of stylized realism to them that we have to integrate with.” San Andreas
The amount of destruction on show in this Dwayne Johnson-led blockbuster definitely
doesn’t come cheap, but San Andreas actually cost a lot less to make than many of the big
natural disaster flicks that came before it. According to Variety, the production budget
was only $114 million—roughly half the amount needed to bring Roland Emmerich’s 2012 to
the big screen. The film’s visual effects supervisor, Colin
Strause, was able to keep costs down by employing practical solutions to problems that most
visual effects companies would solve with only computers today. As he explained it:
“You can make a $100 million movie look like a $200 million movie. You can make movies way smarter. CG for the sake of CG is always a mistake.” They still had their work cut out for them,
though. Seven different companies worked together
to render 1,300 VFX shots for the movie. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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  1. Accurate Title:

    Guy talks way too much and covers up screen with quotes rather than just showing side by side footage of with and without CGI.

  2. Mowgli was a horrible movie.
    Junglebook was fun movie which I enjoyed and still enjoy.
    Mowgli is mean, dark, scary, Baloo is a dick and the whole movie gave me a very unpleasant feeling, and they feed this to kids????????

  3. Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah Oh yeah yeah oh yeah oh yeah yeah

  4. Each one of the films mentioned in this video, total shit. Cant beat REAL acting, its better than all this crap. Ok put a little bit in to aid the story, but all this shit now, pathetic. Its why in reality its all a failure

  5. when will actors be totally replaced with cgi – shame. what next, just send a cgi clip for casting. no need to turn for a movie shoot. when does acting stop being acting. no need for wardrobe or makeup or set artists. i see where this is all going…

  6. This is literally the first footage I've ever seen of Elysium. Which might just mean I've been living under a weirdly Elysium-free rock, but might also mean their marketing was flawed.

  7. oh looper. why did i think this video would be any different from your other horrible videos.
    this video: What Great Movies Look Like Without Special Effects
    proceeds to make 90% of the video just clips from the normal videos. the remaining 10% of the scenes that do show a difference have large white text over them so the difference is hard to see

    great video looper. keep going and youll be negative subscribers.

  8. Came to see how the movies would look like without special effects but all I saw was the movies with the effects and herd a guy y’all nonstop giving you a lesson a on cgi

  9. Your definition of 'Great Movies' is sick. If i judge you by that definition i need to assume that all of your ratings, top tens, etc. are garbage. Of course you are entitled to believe that your judgement is right, but don't expect us to silently sit there and accept every lie/propaganda you are feeding us. Shame on you. Utterly disappointed by your channel.

  10. lol reasons i have un subebd from looper….. implying suicide squad to be a great movie XD bunch of corporate shills.

  11. In today's world a movie without CGI n special effects.. Wud be like a documentary movie on African Lion or sea water Crocs. But no.. U want Black Widow or Wonder Woman with oozing curves.. Or Cap America meaty body..So stop complaining..

  12. The only "great" film mentioned here is "Wolve of Wall Street". Some of the others are okay, most of the others won't stand the test of time. Great CGI doesn't help if the film itself is of no value at all.

  13. "What great movies look like without special effects". Then 90% of the video is movie clips WITH the special effects, and some guy talking non-stop. TERRIBLE TITLE!

  14. 2:22 Everyone thought running from a T-Rex with high heels was stupid. Turns out they shot BDH without heels and added them in post. That's even worse!

  15. CGI can be beautiful when done right and I understand that for some scenes it's necessary to use but sometimes practical effects are just unbeatable and so much more appreciated for the effort that goes into making them. I just hate when movies get CGI so wrong to the point where it actually takes effort to fuck it up that bad. While I'm not completely against the use of CGI, I do think they should use a bit more practical effects instead. But again, like I said, when it's done right, CGI can turn a movie into something that's beautiful and attention grabbing and again, I know for some of the scenes, it is necessary to use CGI and I really don't mind I mean when it's done right, I actually really enjoy it cuz I know how much effort went into it and I know it's a lot of work to pull off. Great video by the way, thanks for uploading it, I really enjoyed watching it.

  16. Thanks to CGI the practical effects are gone and amazing movies like the original Chucky or Original Jurassic park. Sadly it’s all garbage cgi now.

  17. Job favreu or however you spell his name, is the director of iron man 3? I thought it was Shane black???

  18. Hotel fight scene in Inception is an example where director did not yield to CGI effects. Instead, that scene was shot in actual rotating set that was the most incredible in making.

  19. Nope, Star Wars A New Hope and Close Encounters of the Third Kind((both 1977) are best first special effects movies.

  20. At the beginning I thought that it was a list of 300 movies, but then I realized it the name of the movie.

  21. "Elysium only made $93M…" Did you forget to look in the lower left corner of your own screen shot?

  22. bitch, if you would shut the hell up for a second and show the actual comparison that would be great.

  23. Turns out playing against imaginary zombies as a kid can be the perfect training to be an action movie comedian

  24. haha you put this out to show the kids what a movie looks like without the effects.. but when i watch a cgi fest of a movie all i see is the greenblue screen, the edges between whats real and whats cg… its so obvious… Like when watching endgame all i saw was actors i half costumes running in front of a blue screen, while the girl next to me was legit crying when the heroes came back like she didnt know it was gonna happen.

  25. imagine you told someone that you're an actor and they're like "oh what movies are you in"

    oh yep im a raptor in jurassic world

  26. Elysium didn’t make money? Wow that sucks great movie, too bad everyone is just into superhero’s these days

  27. I wonder if the whole bandrsnatch episode from black mirror will ever take off. You watch a movie and different possibilities or outcomes will take shape good or bad based off what the viewer chooses. Or there are subtle hints in scenes or the inter talking amongst characters that will help you move it along. What if the whole vr type technology takes off and you are quite literally in the movie watching. I know this would cost boatloads more then it already does and that’s being said it’s not like most of the movies that come out are actually any good. First thing first Hollywood needs better movies.

  28. With the Original Hulk , a real person (Lou Ferrigno) was used . Should have been that way with all other movies that used the Hulk, using a real person.

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