240 voters

Behind The Scenes Images Of Special Effects You Had No Idea Were Practical

Updated February 2, 2021 1.0k votes 240 voters 16.2k views22 items

Movie special effects have become so detailed sometimes it’s impossible to tell when something is or isn’t CGI. On-set special effects you didn’t know were practical stem from a combination of craftsmanship and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of hard work by a dedicated cast and crew. Everything from crazy sets, to fake wounds, to famous movie monsters gets done in the shot for all to see, and many films still adhere to using practical special effects because they're proven to work. For example, Mad Mad: Fury Road managed to weave a massive blockbuster tale without bringing CGI usage to the forefront. The explosions, the cars, and, most importantly, the stunts were real.

But even other CGI-heavy films you’d expect to forgo practical effects work have them in spades. The Star Wars prequels, for example, feature a ton of model work and location shooting in them, but everyone only notices the CGI. While it’s true many films use CGI these days, you’d be surprised how many of them don’t. 

  • 1

    Yes, They Really Blew Up All The Cars In "Mad Max: Fury Road"

    Director George Miller said that the crew tried to use computerized effects, but "CG didn't make sense in a movie in which everything is real...so we did it for real." And they did indeed. Mad Max: Fury Road custom-built 150 cars, including the "War Rig." The "War Rig" was built out of a Czechoslovakian Tatra and Chevy Fleetmaster, eventually creating "a six-wheel drive 18-wheeler with two V8s end-to-end." 

    Agree or disagree?
  • 2

    "Jurassic Park" Had Stan Winston On Set, Meaning Minimal CGI

    Agree or disagree?
  • 3

    "The Fly" Used Some Everyday Household Items Instead Of CGI

    David Cronenberg's 1986 remake of The Fly featured some pretty insane makeup and special effects, none of which used CGI. Chris Walas, who also did the makeup effects for Gremlins, noted that the crew made their own vomit and slime (a mix of honey, flour, and food coloring). But the film featured plenty of other more complicated effects, like a melting hand and breaking wrist. Walas said that "a plate was glued to the actor's hand that had a project (the snapping bone) extending a couple of inches down the arm so that when the actor snapped his hand back, the bone came popping out." No CGI needed! 

    Agree or disagree?
  • 4

    The "Inception" Hallway Fight Still Boggles Our Minds

    The big rotating hallway is...a big rotating hallway. Yes, Christopher Nolan and co. built a centrifuge, attached actors to wires, put cameras everywhere, and apparently Joseph Gordon Levitt sang Bach to himself to ensure that he didn't go smashing into the wrong part of the set. 

    Agree or disagree?