CGI Or CGWhy? Worst VFX Moments In Entertainment

CGI has been in use since the early 1970s and even before, and while it wasn’t as good during those days, with the advancement of technology, the use of CGI has also improved tremendously. This improvement has introduced us to the age of 3D, and even 6D cinema. The likes of Marvel, DC, and other genres love to use CGI to make their creative battle scenes and other imaginative sequences as well as animated and live-action creatures life-like.

And while our cinematic experience has become enhanced due to the advancements in CGI, there are some moments where the movie effects team either become too lazy or try too hard and overdo their CGI effects, ending up with cringy and laughable content that makes everyone question what was the need for them to use CGI. In this blog, I’m going to discuss those CGI or CGWhy moments of local and global productions alike.

Pakistan’s Failed CGI Attempts

We all know our cinematic industry isn’t as successful as that of even our next-door neighbors, yet we’ve still been able to witness some amazing movies, shows, and even ads that went on to break from the mainstream and standout with their story. The cinematic sequence game in Pakistan has risen over the years. But even with that rise, our local CGI game has repeatedly proved to be… well, embarrassing is the only word to describe it.

First, let’s have a look at a certain ad that was launched a few years back by Cola Next. The ad itself seems pointless with the cliché train hijacking story that we’ve seen repeatedly from the first Mission Impossible movie to any other form of action story ever told that ran out of ideas. Let’s forget about the irrelevant story and just look at the CGI of the ad for once, it’s not even something you need to observe closely. The hideousness of it all is obvious from the minute the ad begins. The background is such a bad CGI edit you wonder why they bothered with it at all, and the moment the train crashes with that truck looks straight out of a train crashing video from YouTube (I’ve watched enough of those in research for this section of the blog).

But this is just a low-budget ad, and anyone can argue that its CGI doesn’t even matter because the product itself never made it huge in our markets. I get your point, so now let’s have a look at an entire attempt at a superhero movie that our industry failed with horribly: Project Ghazi.

The movie was initially announced to be released in 2017, but due to technical problems, mainly in the sound effects and VFX area, the release was delayed by 2 years. Project Ghazi was officially released in 2019, yet even after this delay, the movie failed to impress.

It’s commendable that the Pakistani movie industry tried making a superhero movie for once, but that’s where the commendability stops. The story itself is disconnected, with major characters left without backstories that would explain their intentions and motives. The scene cuts are so obvious you’d think the movie has been edited by an amateur, further getting the movie out of the flow. But the CGI and sound effects are what strike the nail in making the movie the huge failure that it became.

Even after 2 years of pulling the movie back, the directors flopped at making a difference. The sound effects, particularly, seem like they’ve been picked from YouTube’s no-copyright music; this explains a lot about the movie’s budget, despite it boasting a good quality cast. The CGI makes the movie look animated in some shots, in others, the background and foreground have striking differences.

A layman may still have fun watching the movie despite the unconnected storytelling, but as a person who’s spent the last decade obsessing over DC and Marvel movies and shows, the design lagging is too clear for me, as it would be for you if you’ve also spent a good few years watching CGI-clad content.

Pakistan has a lot to do in this department, and it will too. The country doesn’t lack quality designers and creative workers, it just needs to bring them to the limelight to hit the target in this field. But until that happens, we have to tolerate the bad CGI we’re served with. Enough with our industry, though. Now let’s have a look at how even huge and renowned companies have failed with their CGI despite their huge budgets and expectations.

Global High-Budget CGI Fails

As a fan of mainstream movies, we’ve all witnessed the levels to which some movies have failed with their visual effects and computer-generated imagery. Surely we’ve not forgotten the Superman fiasco DC did just a few years ago, have we? With Paramount refusing to let the actor shave off the mustache for Warner Bros’ re-edits to Justice League, the movie’s visual team decided to give Henry Cavill’s mustache dilemma a ‘CGI fix’ that made us all think for a moment how Superman would’ve looked better with the mustache than the horrific facial effect we got to see; and it ALMOST diverted our attention from all the other ways the Justice League movie was a huge flop.


Superman’s mustache CGI was perhaps the greatest visible and repetitive blunder we’ve seen in a high-budget superhero movie of late, the bar has risen on this genre so much that any tiny mistake becomes unforgivable from comic book and movie fans alike. But repeatedly a lot of high-budget movies failed to deliver when it came to their CGI, whether it was spotted by fans or not though, is where lies all the difference. If you’ve watched The Mummy Returns, you may remember the horrible The Rock x Scorpion King abomination viewers got to witness.

Scorpion King

Our next-door neighbor, India, has always been criticized for their failure at CGI too. So let’s discuss one of their productions released in 2019; India’s latest edition of Dhamaal movies: Total Dhamaal. Despite its repetitive plot in all the editions of the movie, the casting has always been of high budget. And that’s the case with this production too with actors like Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit and others joining the lead among recurring roles like that of Ajay Devgan and Ritesh Deshmukh etc. But the movie’s CGI, visible from the trailer alone, seems so forced and low budget that you can’t help but wonder why they bothered doing such a thing at all.

And who in the world can forget the absolutely horrifying version of Cats that was released in 2019. The movie used a combination of CGI and motion-capture technology to bring the characters to life, but watching merely the trailer convinced us that they were better off never even attempting the movie than the end-result we got.

Cats - CGI

Apart from this, movies like the early Harry Potter adaptations, The Matrix, Green Lantern, and a lot more have failed where the CGI team was concerned. If used to its intended quality, the CGI becomes so natural you don’t even realize half the things happening on the screen are an imaginary scenario. But more often than not, movies and shows miss the target and produce a result that makes us regret witnessing such a fiasco in today’s technology-driven era.

How Paramount Saved Sonic

Paramount is the studio that led to us getting a CGI superman face to avoid having a CGI mustache for Henry Cavill’s character in Mission Impossible: Fallout. Then came a movie promo by Paramount that was a live-action version of Sonic The Hedgehog. The trailer seemed fun from the outskirts, but true Sonic fans noticed the horrible human-like Sonic being shown on the screen. The movie received a lot of criticism just after the first trailer was released, with critics saying the hedgehog needs to look like his animated counterpart instead of the man-like features he’s been given.

For once, though, a movie studio listened to fans and delayed the release date to get the movie back in production. The end result, fortunately, wasn’t similar to Project Ghazi (unfair comparison, I know). With sonic being re-edited to become more accurate, and the movie’s story getting a few changes done to fit; it was a clever move by Paramount to save the movie from becoming another CGI blunder. Sonic The Hedgehog was released in February 2020, the movie was reviewed by critics to be better with the new changes and an entertaining watch overall.

There are a lot more examples of bad to worse CGI that makes us ask whether it was CGI or CGWhy, because why add an effect you weren’t even equipped to pull off in the first place?
It’s evident that with the growth of technology and the rising standards of every cinematic universe, the need for CGI is only going to grow further. But what makes the difference is how good or bad the visual effects team is at their job to define a movie’s standards when it comes to CGI. At times, we witness a story that needed to be executed better when it came to computer-generation, at others we’ve noticed good CGI getting thrashed out the window due to plot failures. For a movie to be accurate in all areas, the story needs to be good but the CGI also needs to not be lazy or overdone.

Any other examples of bad CGI that come to your mind? Feel free to add a comment.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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