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1 | 100.00%
Christopher Nolan is Hollywood's reigning digital skeptic, preferring to shoot practical effects on old-fashioned film. So the hotel-corridor scene in Inception required devilishly complicated sets, rotating the actors on wires and steel trolleys. The result is an old-fashioned "how'd they do that?" delight.
5 | 0.00%
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride was a legendary ritual for generations of kids – at once scary and delightful, it was a morbidly funny G-rated horror show. Director Gore Verbinski translated that sensibility perfectly with Black Pearl's living skeletons: anatomically detailed, ghoulishly organic, yet animated with a playful touch.
10 | 0.00%
Often regarded as the official beginning of the computer-effects era, Steven Spielberg's dino romp is actually the perfect Venn diagram merging of practical effects and CGI. Just look at the T. Rex. Sometimes it's a model; sometimes it's CGI. Those raptors in the kitchen? An actor wearing one of Stan Winston Studio's elaborate costumes. The end result is just plain terrifying.
15 | 0.00%
The special effects pioneers at Industrial Light & Magic turned Michael Bay's robocar franchise into a sizzle reel for intricate CGI. Their finest creation: the heroic Autobot commander Optimus Prime, a gigantic posthuman superhero rendered with lovingly elaborate gearhead detail.
18 | 0.00%
Eighteen years after the T-1000, James Cameron's most recent biggest-budget-ever odyssey featured an entire world of digital characters. Captured in bold 3D, Cameron's Pandora is the epitome of the computer effects era. What you may not know: The vision of the Na'Vi was first captured in clay by sculptor and concept artist Jordu Schell. Hold tight: At least three more Avatars are coming soon.
19 | 0.00%
Legendary monster-meister Phil Tippett created the memorable creatures in Return of the Jedi and Dragonslayer. A decade later, he led the studio to create the extraterrestrial Arachnid hordes on Klendathu. The result: nightmare swarms of sinewy monstrosities, like Saving Private Ryan's D-Day sequence for cockroaches.
20 | 0.00%
No stops were left unpulled out for Harry Potter's wizard war, a fireworks display of spells and attack-magic featuring every far-flung member of the franchise's cast. From the explosive Fiendfyre scene in the Room of Requirement to Harry and Voldy's epic duel, few battles have felt more final.
23 | 0.00%
Contortionist and monster actor Doug Jones played two characters in Guillermo Del Toro's horrific bedtime story: the beckoning freaky-but-friendly Faun and the faceless all-devouring Pale Man. Their elegant prosthetic designs made them creepy, yet hauntingly beautiful – and Jones' performance gave both a soul.