Computer-generated animation has taken over the movie industry in the past couple of years. CGI gets a lot of flak for making movies bad, but it doesn't usually get enough credit when it is done well since good CGI is supposed to look real.
Some movies, however, flaunt the special effects of CGI and the audiences go just to marvel at the realism of something very obviously unreal. In these movies, it's not any actors that are playing the lead role, it's the CGI. Here are five movies where CGI characters played the lead:
It was the cutting-edge CGI that made Avatar a memorable blockbuster. The story might have followed the human Jake Sully, but the leads were inarguably his ten-foot tall Na'vi avatar and Neytiri. It might be another three years before we get a sequel, but the 2009 movie is one of the most beautiful movies with computer graphics.
Comedy movies are the most unexpected places to use CGI, but Ted did it brilliantly with the motion-captured Seth Macfarlane replaced by a teddy bear. The end result ended up looking seamlessly realistic with precise movements. Mark Wahlberg was the only actor we saw, but the movie wouldn't have worked without the teddy bear who really did seem to have come to life.
King Kong has been on the big screen many times since its first appearance in 1933. From stop-motion to motion capture, the King Kong movies have always used brilliant special effects, but the 2017 reboot King Kong: Skull Island breathed a new life into the iconic monster. Even though there might have been A-list actors in the remake, the lead character was certainly the humongous CGI ape.
Before Jurassic Park, practical effects were the king in any special effects. It was only with Steven Speilberg's dinosaurs, especially the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex, did the industry change its opinion on justifying the budget of CGI. Years later, the dinosaurs still hold a fascination for many all due to a single franchise that started even before computers had become a global cultural norm.
Michael Bay's franchise works only because of the fantastic CGI. While the plot might not be super-realistic, the transformers themselves look real enough to co-exist in our world.The actors have changed through the sequels, but the main CGI cast – from Bumblebee to Optimus Prime – remains the same. The latest in the series, The Last Knight, is a grander exhibition of how far CGI has come since the first movie ten years ago.
Which of these CGI characters is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.