The Greatest CGI Scenes in Sci-Fi Film
Compiled by SFMZ Webmaster

Special effects and sci-fi film seem to go together like baseball and hotdogs, it goes without saying the genre demands it. Of course special effects existed before the computer age, it just had to employ other means of illusion such as optical & mechanical techniques, prosthetics, props, scale models, animatronics, and more.

With the introduction of computer graphics, this new craft opened the sci-fi genre into a much larger world of cinematic creativity. Of course we all know CGI has been used in a variety of film genres, but SFMZ being dedicated to sci-fi for the most part, we focused this list on the greatest CGI scenes in the sci-fi genre only.

Dodging Bullets in The Matrix

Popularly known as 'Bullet Time.' the evolution of photogrametric and image-based computer-generated background approaches in The Matrix's bullet time shots set the stage for later innovations unveiled in the sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Liquid Metal in Terminator 2: Judgment Day

In the original Terminator, the metal skeleton emerged from the fiery explosion. In the sequel, audiences were introduced to a new kind of terminator when the liquid metal forming assassin emerged from a fiery explosion. Most of the key Terminator effects were provided by Industrial Light & Magic for computer graphics and Stan Winston for practical effects.

Avatar Jake in Avatar

When audiences see Jake Sully's Avatar for the first time, it's about as close to a live character CGI has ever reached. Avatar Jake wakes up in a holding room and bursts out into the scenes of Pandora running for the first time as a Na'vi being. Peter Jackson's development of the CGI character Gollum in The Lord of the Rings is what inspired James Cameron to finally activate this project that had been sitting on a shelf for over a decade.

The Alien Prawns in District 9

Talk about more bang for your CGI buck. One of our earliest views of the aliens, known as 'Prawns', emerges from a hut confronted by the main character Wikus. The seamless merging of the alien with live action was an astounding feat, especially considering District 9 had a relatively low budget. The film's budget was $30 million dollars, which by today's standard of sci-fi blockbusters that commonly hover in the $100 million to $200 million range, is quite a modest budget. The aliens in District 9 were designed by Weta Workshop, and the design was executed by Image Engine.

The T-Rex in Jurassic Park

Like the other films featured in this article, there are so many CGI scenes in Jurassic Park that beg attention, but for now we are going to go with the introduction of the T-Rex, where the main characters are terrorized that dark rainy night in the park. In 1993, Steven Spielberg adapted the book into the blockbuster film Jurassic Park, which won 3 Oscars, 19 other awards, and 15 nominations. Even after 17 years, JP's level of CGI artistry has aged well.

Coruscant Cityscape in Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith

Coruscant, Star War's version of an ecumenopolis, the entire planet is covered with cityscape. Viewing the Coruscant global metropolis for the first time was quite a site to behold. The cityscape scene is actually a mixture of CGI, matte paintings, and models. Most of the Coruscant structures were models with CGI used to add various visuals such as flying craft and other digital illusions.

The Cyber Bikes in Tron 1982

Not the very first, but one of the first films to employ computer generated graphics, the cyber bike race in Tron was as exciting as many live-action car chase scenes in film. Three designers were brought in to create the look of the computer world. Renowned French comic book artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) was the main set and costume designer for the movie.

Godzilla and King Kong Battle Scenes

Godzilla and King Kong battling on the top of an aircraft carrier? What more could a sci-fi fan want? Weta Digital animated all of the Hollow Earth sequences, and Scanline VFX animated a majority of the Hong Kong sequence and all of the film's water environments.

More Great CGI Scenes in Sci-Fi Film

The Water Alien in The Abyss & Morphing from Truck to Optimus Prime in Transformers

The T-Rex Battle in King Kong 2005 & The Taxi Chase and Cityscape in The Fifth Element

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