15 Movies Held Back By One Terrible CGI Character

List Rules
Vote up the CGI characters that brought the movie down a notch.

Like it or not but CGI technology is here to stay. Computer graphics have been used in film since the early 1990s, when they were used to create purposefully unrealistic characters or build out the world of a film in an unobtrusive way. As the technology improved, CGI became a regular thing in filmmaking, with many directors inserting completely digital characters into their films.

There are some instances where a CGI character totally works. The T-1000, Detective Pikachu, and the T-rex in Jurassic Park come to mind, but for every lovingly crafted CGI character, there are handfuls of poorly rendered or just straight-up weird-looking digital characters that take audiences out of their theatrical experience.

The CGI characters that we're counting down here all hold their movies back, but some of them are more egregious than others. It's up to you to let us know which of these characters are passable, and which characters stick out like a big ol' sore CGI thumb.

  • The world wasn't ready for the Scorpion King. Mostly because he looks like something that was burped out of a screen saver circa 1997, but that's okay because this CGI abomination looks so insane that it's impossible to look away from The Mummy Returns. It helps that The Mummy Returns absolutely rocks. Is it as good as the original? Of course not - what could be? 

    Dwayne Johnson plays the titular Scorpion King, an Akkadian warrior cursed by Annubis who's returned to the land of the living to take over the world with an army of pygmies and jackal people. Rather than just let Johnson stomp through this movie like the oiled-up heavy that he is, he's mostly rendered in truly wack CGI that keeps this fun adventure flick from ascending to the heights of the original.

    93 votes

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  • The Twilight movies are insane. To call them movies is to undersell the extremely weird things that happen in every single one of these films, but nothing compares to the pure horror of Baby Renesmee in Breaking Dawn - Part 1.

    Following a vampire wedding, a honeymoon that's so full of undead boot knockin' that Edward and Bella smash their hotel room with nothing but their beautiful bodies, and a fast-tracked pregnancy complete with a fetus that drains Bella of her plasma, a creature appears that's so uncanny that instead of imprinting himself upon it, Jacob should have performed the Turing test.

    It's not that Baby Renesmee looks unreal; she looks hyper-real. It's all wrong. If this were any other movie, it would be a ding, but this is Breaking Dawn - Part 1 we're talking about. Wouldn't you be disappointed if an Uncanny Valley baby didn't rear its head? 

    56 votes

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  • The world was not ready for Spawn, the feature film adaptation of the ultra-violent Todd McFarlane comic about an undead military operative who returns to Earth from hell and becomes a vigilante. He's kind of like Batman if instead of being wealthy with money, he was rich in sadness. This movie low-key rocks. Michael Jai White delivers a heartbreaking performance as Al Simmons, the titular Spawn. John Leguizamo absolutely pops off as the demonic Clown, a character so revolting that he sets the film apart from every other comic book movie of the era (and today, frankly).  

    Spawn isn't a perfect movie, but it works pretty well up until Satan (yes, that Satan) shows up in the third act to do battle with Simmons for his soul. This film's version of Satan is pure CGI madness. He kind of looks like a character from an early version of Mortal Kombat. Actually, the creatures in Mortal Kombat look much more believable. For a movie that's trying so hard to be grim and realistic, the appearance of Satan is legitimately goofy.

    58 votes

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  • Get on board with Blarp or get blasted into the big unknown of space. Pretty much everything in this serious 1998 remake of the cult classic Lost In Space is grim and dark, which is why Blarp stands out like a sore thumb. Described as a "lizard monkey," Blarp is the Jar Jar Binks of Lost In Space sans the curious Jamaican accent.

    There's a world where Lost In Space is remembered fondly as a cool little '90s science fiction movie, but in that world, Blarp doesn't exist. Added to the film to give kids something to connect to, Blarp doesn't look like anything else in the film. Digitized in light browns and featuring a strange hairy texture, Blarp is literally alien to the deep blacks of the outfits and the metallic sheen of the ship that the Robinson family calls home. 

    Lost In Space isn't a realistic look at interstellar travel or anything, but Blarp is so cartoonish that it's like this thing has been transported in from an early version of Shrek. This film either needed no Blarp or all Blarp, anything in between just doesn't work.

    50 votes

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  • 5
    71 VOTES

    Jabba In 'Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope - The Special Edition'

    Prior to the release of the prequel trilogy, George Lucas rolled out new and improved special editions of the original films in the Star Wars franchise. Each film featured updated graphics, re-edits of well-known scenes, and scenes removed from the original movies. The new editions make for a strange viewing experience - it's almost like watching your favorite movie again for the first time but with new details. 

    Some of the updates are unobtrusive, but the addition of a scene between Han Solo and Jabba the Hutt in a shuttle bay outside of the Mos Eisley cantina is just weird. The scene was originally filmed with an actor named Declan Mulholland standing in for Jabba, but Lucas didn't have the budget to perform the effects work at the time, so this moment stayed on the cutting room floor for 30 years. 

    The scene itself is super weird. A very real, very '70s Han Solo has a back-and-forth with a much smaller CGI version of Jabba than audiences are used to. During their talk, Solo steps on Jabba's "tail" and it's clear that this wasn't something in the original script. It's very weird. Audiences are used to seeing the big, gross, practical version of the character, but to see him as a digital creation that looks like something out of Lawnmower Man is genuinely scarring.

    71 votes
  • Hulk is never going to be a character who totally fits in with his surroundings just by virtue of the fact that he's a super huge green guy, but in his earliest cinematic appearance, Hulk is definitely not looking his best. Ang Lee's take on the Hulk is an engrossing look at generational trauma that just happens to deal with a man beset with gamma radiation. It's rad, but woof, the actual Hulk of it all looks rough.

    Released in 2003, it makes sense that the CGI in Hulk is a drag. The biggest issue with Hulk's look isn't the actual Hulk - it's the way that he interacts with his surroundings. Hulk looks okay in a lab or a similar location with multiple CGI assets, but drop him in the middle of the city or somewhere in nature and it's clear that you're looking at a computer-generated character. Later incarnations of this character are similarly non-photorealistic, but greater leaps in digital filmmaking allow Hulk to look like he's supposed to be on-screen with the Avengers.

    59 votes

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