A*P*E, a Korean King Kong rip-off said to have some of the worst models ever. At one point, the giant monster steps over a toy cow. By the way, did you know this was in 3D?
Anybody who's seen Jaws 3D knows that being filmed in 3D doesn't guarantee good effects work.
The Adventures Of Shark Boy And Lava Girl had this in spades, plus crappy greenscreen effects to sweeten the deal. Keep in mind, though, that most of the film is set on a planet where dreams become reality, and so was likely never intended to look realistic in the first place.
Nearly every scene in After Last Season has some effect or prop that is worthy of being included here. The highlights include: the cardboard MRI machine, the constant use of A4 paper signs to establish locations, and an "invisible man" attack represented by chairs thrown from off-camera. And that's not even mentioning the extended CGI scene that looks like something a Maya amateur made in less than a day.
The crash of the eponymous aircraft in Air Force One. The 1997 CGI looks like something out of a video game from that same year. This is especially unfortunate because the effects so far had been fine against the night background and only become obvious when the sun rose in the movie.
As Ripley repairs Ash, who has been revealed to be an android, the cuts between Ian Holm's head and the dummy's head used are very jarring. Worse still is the fact that the cut was intended to be seamless from dummy to live actor, with no change of camera angle or an in-between shot. Made even worse later when Parker sets the (now dummy again) head on fire which blows off its skin, revealing a white plastic head underneath without a hint of mouth, nostrils, defined eyes or indeed anything to suggest that it's something other than a piece of solid plastic. Couldn't they just cut the shot a few seconds early?
The chestburster darting across the table after its grand entrance, and the full-grown alien once it's been thrown out of the shuttle (allowing us to get a good look at the entire creature).
The bizarre TRIPLE explosion that was meant to be the Nostromo going up. (The novel explains this: the towing vehicle goes first, followed by the much larger refinery section.)
Aliens: The final action sequence has Bishop, an android who helped Ripley, ripped in half by the Alien Queen and left on the floor while Ripley dukes it out with the creature using a power loader. When Ripley opens up the docking bay hatch, and everything not bolted down in the bay starts getting sucked into space, Bishop's upper torso is pulled along towards the hatch, before he grabs onto a vent. The otherwise unique and interesting effect of Bishop's upper torso is ruined when he reaches out to grab the little girl Newt, and the audience can see that the FX team cut a hole in the floor for Lance Henriksen to stand in. The carefully orchestrated effect is ruined in the most climactic moment.
Alien³: The Runner Alien runs at ridiculous speeds through tunnels, and the effects look dodgy and dated.
The opening scene of Along Came A Spider contains a car crash that is so fake, it's clear that the effects artists used CGI rather than just a real vehicle to pull it off.
In Altered States, (early '80s) director Ken Russell films some wildly effective, vicarious hallucinatory experiences that the main character undergoes as he searches for a greater truth within himself, but then when William Hurt de-evolves into a primitive hominid from combining mushroom trips with sensory deprivation tank studies, the ridiculous fur suit he's wearing nearly ruins the film.
American Sniper is a film about the life of an Iraq War soldier in which the special effects are done exceptionally well, with a standout example being a climactic battle taking place during a sandstorm. The one exception? An obviously fake baby standing in for the soldier's daughter in a nursery scene, noticeable to the point of Memetic Mutation. Word of God is that it was supposed to be a real baby, but the child who was to play her got sick at the last minute.
Apocalypto has some very good, fairly disturbing effects of headless bodies bouncing down steps, people being stabbed, and generally horrifically bloody action. Other shots of panther puppets being thrown at their victims, are frankly adorable.
Say what you will about Michael Bay, but when Armageddon came out it looked pretty darn impressive. However, even with Bay's heavy emphasis on special effects, there were still the expected slips:
When a meteor shower bears down upon New York City, we get a closeup of Midtown Manhattan with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building prominently featured as meteors zoom past them and towards them. In said shot, a meteor bound for the Chrysler Building is clearly moving in the direction towards the East River, but cut to the shot of the building being struck, we see said meteor also plow through the Grand Hyatt and finally into Grand Central Terminal below the Met Life Building, in the opposite direction of where the meteor had been going in the previous shot.
During the same sequence, we see several shots where the Barclay Hotel is the site of the destructive carnage caused by the meteors. The fact that its prominent sign keeps reappearing in the background of the destructive shots makes it all too obvious that much of the destruction in the city is being filmed in one location.
Regardless of the film's scientific inaccuracies, the scenes on the asteroid are quite elaborate and very imposing. However, in several shots we can see that the rock shards of its surface are surprisingly fragile and in some shots they even look rubbery; such obstacles likely would've shredded both shuttles and Ben Affleck's drilling rig if they weren't obvious props.
Plus, after Ben Affleck's character lands the rig on the rock and Peter Stormare returns to the vehicle after being dragged through the void of space, one can see grass on the slope of the asteroid.
The effects on Attack of the 50-Foot Woman are bad even by '50s B-Movie standards. Most of what we see of the giant Nancy is a floppy papier-mache hand. Apparently, that one hand ate up most of the effects budget, since all of the process shots are done with double exposure rather than Chroma Key, resulting in see-through giants. To cap it off, when Nancy finally gets even with her no-good husband, his stand-in dummy is not made to scale.
The previous year's The Amazing Colossal Man (and its sequel the year after) had both the double-exposure issue and the prop hand problem. The hand was especially noticeable near the end of the first movie, where Glenn, in a state of delirium and rage, is supposedly holding up his fiancee as she screams at him to put her down. Thanks to the editing of his hand, his fiancee, and his head, he looks more like he's holding his right fist up to the side of his head much like one would hold a phone while he stares intently off into the distance.
Attack of the Eye Creatures had so many failures that when it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, Joel and the 'Bots catalogued a thorough list of them as evidence that the filmmakers "just didn't care!" Not the least of which was a night scene that was clearly filmed in broad daylight. As Tom Servo put it, "You couldn't have picked a nicer day to film a night sequence!"
The Eye Creatures themselves have heads draped casually over their shoulders and visible zippers.
A 1999 straight-to-video film called Avalanche (or Escape from Alaska) definitely falls into this trope. During the climactic scene when an avalanche strikes a town, you are treated to such special effects wizardry like people running away from an obviously superimposed white mist and models that fail to convince in every way imaginably from problems with scale to lack of convincing detail. The movie is actually worth watching for these scenes alone (including one in which a woman stands stock still in the middle of the frame staring pointedly at the camera while people run around her in a panic).
In Disney's Babes in Toyland, you can spot a couple. Such as the blooper of an extra accidentally closing her nightdress into the door as she walks inside...or a more literal example where one of the trees' eyebrows falls over as they walk away.
Also in several shots, the babies have their heads superimposed over the bodies of midget actors, with one particularly infamous case being when the main hero baby dances clad in a white suit while trying on various outfits in a mall clothing store. Once again, it disturbed more than it actually amused.
The animatronic characters (especially that giant baby) are also poorly done and are just as, if not more so, disturbing than the superimposed baby lips.
Its (arguably) worse sequel, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, committed the same offenses, with little to no improvement. One critic summed up the ineffectiveness of the effect like so: "It goes to show that bad jokes still aren't funny when coming out of the mouths of toddlers."
Back to the Future twice featured chroma-key footage that was poorly executed and looks pasted-in: when the fire trails appear around Doc and Marty when the DeLorean is first seen disappearing into the future, and when Marty's hand starts fading out toward the end. The creators have stated that they refuse to remaster these scenes for future home-video releases, which is too bad since they're really the only effects shots that would be considered cheap even by modern standards.
The train in the third movie. Dear god, the colored smoke and subsequent explosion looked fake.
Not to mention that, in all of the shots where Doc Brown is talking Clara through getting to the front of the train, you can clearly see that the train is going closer to 10MPH than 88MPH.
Also from the third movie, it is incredibly easy to tell they used scale models for the DeLorean and train crossing just after Marty goes back to the present.
Part II isn't immune either. Watch the vents on the back of the DeLorean when it lands for the first time after the opening titles. You can clearly tell it's a subpar model they used for some of the shots, as the vents are the wrong shape and all the gadgetry on the back end looks like cardboard.
Tim Burton's Batman had the cartoon Dark Knight on the Cathedral rooftop at the beginning, the cartoon Joker falling to his death in the climax, and the wobbly Gotham sky the Bat-Signal is projected on at the end.
Also that's a nice wire on Batman's back as he crashes through the glass into the art museum.
Batman & Robin has a number of bad effects, most notably the wobbling rubber icicles on the police car's door.
Battlefield Earth has a few scenes that fall under this trope, but the most infamous example would be when Terl demonstrates his weapon to his human workers by shooting the leg off a cow. It's clear that when Terl does this it's just a leg being pulled off a model cow by an invisible string.
The gun effects in the film are also considered poor, with a particularly infamous example of this being in the beginning when John Travolta and his minions fire lasers at Barry Pepper's character in a ruined mall. The final effect would barely be passable in a laser tag game.
The film is also extremely infamous for its abuse of the Dutch angle throughout the film, with the majority of the film being shot at an angle; presumably the intention was to create a sense of tension as the Dutch angle is designed to do, but its overuse here had the opposite effect and made for a film that looked as clumsily shot as it was badly made.
Other faults of the film include the use of tinted colors in various scenes to add to the intended feeling of tension, as well as the use of curtain wipe-style dissolution when the scene dissolves to the next frame.
Finally, the overall appearance of the Psychlos, from their claws, dreadlocks, and heavy frames combined with the still-human faces of John Travolta and the other actors was generally seen as laughable by everybody who saw them.
Beginning of the End, a black-and-white fifties monster movie, had giant locusts invading Chicago. It was painfully obvious that it was really grasshoppers crawling over photographs of Chicago, because you could see that the perspective was wrong. Also, when they destroy the locusts by luring them into Lake Michigan to drown, we discover that Lake Michigan has a white porcelain bottom.
When the locusts are attacking the photograph of Chicago, several of them walk off the buildings and begin crawling into the sky.
There's a lot of bad special effects through the Bill & Ted franchise, but one particularly glaring example is in Bogus Journey, when Bad Robot Ted is holding onto Bad Robot Bill's head, which alternates between the actual actor in close-ups to... a very unconvincing prop in wider shots.
Also noteworthy is the scene with Colonel Oates in Hell. The barracks is supposed to stretch on infinitely, but you can tell where the set ends and the matte painting begins, especially when Bill & Ted are doing pushups.
In Billion Dollar Brain, when Leo is shot dead, it's glaringly obvious that the blood looks like tomato sauce.
The makers of Bio-Dome managed to screw up one of the only effects shots in the film: A homemade grenade is tossed, and the explosion appears six feet to the right of where it landed.
Birdemic has killereagles which appear to be animated GIFs— they are two-dimensional, are frequently out of scale relative to the background, and hardly move their wings. See here.
Most of Hitchcock's The Birds used actual birds and remains terrifying fifty years later. However, there is one shot of a bird breaking a window into the house that obviously could not be done with a real animal, with stilted puppetry and close up camera angle.
Despite having arguably the best model-based effects outside of Star Wars, not even Blade Runner was immune to this. During Gaff and Deckard's drive to the police headquarters, we're treated to visible wires (when the spinner takes off), an obvious matte painting (buildings supposedly in the far distance moving and scaling at the same speed as buildings that are much closer), and shaky model work (the parked spinners on the building's roof aren't even painted). Thankfully, these are the only examples of this trope in the entire film, and the wire issue was digitally corrected for the Final Cut. (Originally, they would have been painted out, but the film was too far over-budget by then for that to be feasible.)
At least two matte paintings have noticeable perspective issues.
An intentional example: there is a shot in Blade: Trinity where Blade opens his eyes after seemingly being knocked out during a police raid, and his eyes look like very bad composited CGI. This was done in a hurry because Wesley Snipes was being difficult on set and refused to open his eyes during filming of the scene, requiring that the production team put in a quick fix to cover his lack of involvement. The end result looks very fake.
Blue Crush: The triumphant scene at the end where Kate Bosworth is standing on a surfboard that is obviously sitting on the floor, in front of a green screen, is one of the silliest examples ever.
In the movie Braveheart, carefully watch the scene where William Wallace rides into a manor on a horse and assassinates one of the treasonous Scottish lords. Pay special attention when he rides the horse out of the barn door opening and into the lake. Doesn't seem to be a very lively horse for dropping twenty feet into a body of water, does it?
You know towards the beginning, when Wallace and Hamish have the throwing-rocks-at-each-other contest? Just as the big rock passes Wallace's head, there's a continuity cut. It blatantly switches sides. Everyone's willing to forgive a certain amount of that kind of thing, but... you have to wonder how hard it would have been to reshoot a chunk of gray Styrofoam soaring gently through Mel Gibson's closeup.
The most horrible one must be a shot during the Battle of Stirling Bridge, when the English cavalry charges the Scottish lines to impale themselves on hastily raised pikes. The cut moves to a P.O.V. shot from the pikeholders' point of view as very obvious animatronics horses crash into the pikes. That wouldn't be so bad, except it's also quite obvious the horses are standing on a wheeled platform - their legs don't move at all. During a charge. And then, just before the next cut, the platform rolls ever so slightly backwards...
Perhaps it's obvious in some shots, but some of the shots of horses being impaled on spikes were so realistic that Mel Gibson was subject to an investigation by the ISPCA.
In the shots from the cavalry's POV, it is obvious that the Scots are holding up their spears long before Wallace gives the command to lift them.
And in the battle scene where the Scots turn round and wave their arses at Longshanks, one pasty Celtic bum has quite clearly already got an arrow sticking out of it (presumably intended for the next shot, when the archers fire; either that or the character prepares for battle by stabbing himself in the ass with an arrow).
In the scene where Campbell's hand is cut off, you can quite easily see that his entire arm is fake since it seems to be not only extremely long but also unnaturally bent.
In the final shot of the film look closely at Hamish's axe. It's flopping around like it was made of rubber, and probably is.
Carnosaur is, quite possibly, one of the only movie franchises to have the quality of its effects get lower with each passing film. A couple of the more glaring ones include the awkwardly designed (and looking) raptor suits in the third movie, a hand pulling on one of the tree hugger's legs in the first film (meant to be a small dinosaur) and the sad excuses of puppets and animatronics representing the dinosaurs themselves throughout all of the films.
The climatic battle in the first movie was shot mostly with models. Very unconvincing models.
Ironically, the filmmakers splurged on a life-sized animatronic T-Rex for the first film... which barely appears, since its movements were so stiff and robotic that they realized even their hand puppets and men in suits were more convincing.
Catwoman adds special effects failures to its litany of other ones. In fairness, it's probably technically superior to the Spider-Man Trilogy films, but as they're trying to model different layers of costume and skin and imposing clearly inhuman motion on a human figure it's more glaringly bad. Add to that the final fight being mostly CGI when it merely involves two human characters who (some wall-crawling aside) don't do anything a good pair of stunt-women couldn't do.
In the first scene of Casino, Robert De Niro rather conspicuously transforms into a mannequin just before his car is blown up.
Not a specific instance, but this trope is what caused C. S. Lewis to forbid any non-animation movie from being made of The Chronicles of Narnia. He believed that it was simply impossible for special effects to match up with the fantastic world in his stories, and it wasn't until decades after his death that anyone was able to convince his estate that doing so was now, in fact, possible.
Of course, that didn't stop the BBC from making a live-action miniseries of The Chronicles of Narnia in the early 90s. Fauns, Centaurs, Minotaurs, and some of the other normal-looking creatures were well-done with people in good costumes. Others, like phoenixes and fairies, were very obviously animated, in the midst of an otherwise-live action film. The effect was poorly done and extremely jarring.
Giant Rumblebuffin is portrayed as a regular guy with the camera positioned somewhere around his stomach looking up. The scene of him breaking down the castle gate is obviously a person kicking at a (not very convincing) model.
Clash of the Titans has some impressive stop motion monsters... and some downright terrible bluescreen effects. Particular offenders are the scenes with Poseidon RELEASING THE KRAKEN! and any time Bubo flies.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando has A LOT of this. Not only is it possible to tell Arnie apart from his stunt double whenever he's called upon for a shot, the catapults used to launch stuntmen through the air after being hit by "grenades" are clearly visible. When the Big Bad's island compound is blown up, the entire set has clearly been replaced with miniature scale model buildings and wooden/plastic standee mercenaries for the explosion shots.
...and when Arnold catches up to Sully, there's a part where his convertible crashes into a telephone pole. In slow motion, one can spot that both Schwarzenegger and Rae Dawn Chong were replaced in the car by dummies...and the head of the dummy filling in for Rae Dawn comes off and flies up into the air during the end of the shot. Shortly after, when Arnold is holding Sully over a cliff by his ankle, the wire that's really holding Sully up is clearly visible in the shot.
Also, said convertible ends up on its side with a lot of damage on that side of the car. After Arnie drops Scully, he flips the car back down onto its wheels. As he drives away in the convertible, the damage is gone.
Roger Corman's Creature from the Haunted Sea had a hilariously bad monster costume, even by 1950s/60s B-movie standards. It was a weird fuzzy creature with tennis ball eyes complete with ping-pong ball pupils, and it wore diving flippers.
In the Hammer Horror cheapie The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, a character empties a revolver into the mummy's chest at point-blank range. The slugs appear to evaporate at some point between the end of the barrel and the mummy, because the filmmakers declined to include any impact effects...including sound effects. Especially jarring if watched back-to-back with Hammer's The Mummy, in which a similar scene results in chunks of the mummy's body being blasted off.
Damnation Alley features an uber-cheesy motorcycle vs. giant scorpions scene that looks like it was done as a 4th-grade summer-school project. What's truly mind-boggling is that this wasn't a B-Movie — it was made the same year as Star Wars and its budget was 50% higher.
Subverted in The Dark Knight by way of Reality Is Unrealistic. The trailer was accused of fake-looking CGI for the shot where Batman clotheslines the Joker's eighteen-wheeler and it does a front-flip. As Cracked.com explains, that shot was created by flipping an actual eighteen-wheeler in the streets of downtown Chicago.
Although the scene does not look like CGI, it still falls into this trope for another reason - gas from the launching mechanism used to flip the truck over is incrediblyobvious.◊
Played straight in the scene where Batman interrogates Salvatore Maroni for information on the Joker. When he drops Maroni from a building, it cuts from Eric Roberts to an obvious stunt double, and back again. Even though the sound of Maroni's legs breaking is dubbed in, the way his actor moves is more like a sad little tumble than a fall from a building.
In The Dark Knight Rises, during the shootout between Bane's mercenaries and the GCPD SWAT team in the alley, one of the SWAT members has obvious squibs wired across his back to simulate being shot, which can be seen even before Barsad guns him down with a sniper rifle.
Another subversion is Dawn of the Dead's bright, pinkish blood, as director George A. Romero stated himself that it's meant to appear cartoony on purpose in order to give the movie a comic book feel. Less so is the greenish "undead pallor" makeup on some zombies that wasn't applied around the actors' eyes.
The Dead Zone has one scene of Christopher Walken lying in a bed that's on fire. He's clearly sticking through a hole in the bed, although the shot is brief enough that you barely notice unless you pause it.
Death Wish 4 The Crackdown has one scene guilty of this. When Paul Kersey kills the two mob members with the wine bottle bomb, the two mobs are obviously still shot dummies just before the explosion.
In Diary of a Cannibal when she eats the boy she met over the Internet, we are to assume that potatoes are his kidneys and a steak is his heart.
The movie Driven had most of its racing scenes actually filmed with real cars, but a few are CGI, and it shows. The CGI quality is actually pretty good, and it would have been marvelous in a space setting where nobody expects battleships to be too realistic. But since Driven had real-life subjects, the contrast between real and CGI scenes made the latter really jump out.
Two Fast Two Furious has the same problem. On the DVD commentary, John Singleton points out which cars during the two races are real and which are CGI. They're actually pretty obvious, so he didn't have to do that.
The extended cut of the film is made of footage that was cut before the final effects work was done so the Fremens' eyes will go from glowing blue to normal between scenes, and sometimes during the same scene.
Far worse looking is the hilariously bad shield scenes, where the actors look like they're dressed up in holographic cardboard Halloween robot costumes. (This was one of the first uses of CGI in a movie, however.)
The elevator crash in Earthquake was considered laughable even in 1974. It probably would have been laughed at in 1934, for that matter.
For those unfamiliar with the movie, a full elevator is caused to plummet by the earthquake. After several seconds of people screaming on the way down, to show that it's hit the ground, the camera lens is 'splattered' with cartoon looking blood that's bright red.
Straight-to-video movie Earthquake in New York is an example of CGI that was not just terrible, but also unnecessary. For those unfamiliar with this movie, an earthquake happens in New York, trapping some kids in the Statue of Liberty. Whenever we cut to a scene featuring said kids, we get an Establishing Shot of the statue, which is a computer-rendered graphic, slowly rotating against a background of grey mist. Not only does it look terrible and unrealistic, but they could have just used actual footage of the statue instead. The idea is that the statue is slowly falling apart (and each scene shows more damage), but if they'd just dispensed with using an Establishing Shot altogether, they could have avoided their movie looking like a 12-year-old knocked it up on a laptop.
A gag based on this appears in Epic Movie. During a fight scene, camera angles make it gradually more obvious that Fred Willard's stunt double is a much younger, Asian man. At first, it isn't even clear that the revealing is deliberate — it looks like genuinely bad editing.
Now, now, Epic Movie had some pretty awful Special Effects Failure on its own. One egregious one was when Captain Jack Swallows is breaking Edward out of prison, where he pretty much just swings a plastic brown dummy with a featureless brown head around. Its foot even bends backwards at one point. The Agony Boothhad a field day with this.
As well as the part where Snake lands his motorcycle on Cuervo Jones's car. Something definitely didn't look right, there...
And the infamously fake-looking CGI shark in the submersible sequence in which Snake travels to LA.
Occurs all the time in the Evil Dead series. The first Evil Dead suffered from it, but Evil Dead 2 was more lighthearted and Army of Darkness was pure comedy, so it didn't matter so much. Indeed, it's arguable that in Army of Darkness, this was the point.
Final Destination uses CG deaths for a lot of the kills, and for all of the premonitions. Whereas the prosthetics and physical special effects are on the whole convincing, the cartoon blood, organs and other kibble are more reminiscent of a mid-90's video game cut scene. It's especially odd in that the fourth and fifth movies' CG is somehow more blatant than the first three's.
Steven Seagal film Fire Down Below had a big fight scene amongst "toxic waste." It even glows at points - thanks to the obvious use of black lights, which the scene frequently switches between to hide the fact that dishwashing or laundry detergent was used (under the black lights) to produce the "glowing" effect. The scene in question looks like a regular light and a black light were on an alternating strobe.
Flash Gordon has a lot of effects that look very shaky, probably due to the sheer volume of effects shots needed in the movie.
It's part of the appeal (Roger Ebert noted in his review that they could have left a tube of model glue in some of the shots, and he LIKED the movie).
Earlier in the film, the giant Frankenstein tries to catch a toy warthog. Strange why they couldn't just get a real one, considering he never even touches it.
For the most part, The Frighteners has excellent special effects that hold up well. The Director's Cut DVD, however, reinserts a few deleted scenes. These are pretty well done and look as good as anything from the theatrical version, but one scene has Frank and Judge in the car together, with Frank driving like a madman. There's a reaction shot of Judge looking terrified, and the composite makes him look extremely flat and unconvincing compared to the other ghost effects in the film.
Several in the Gundam live-action movie G Saviour. It's clearly raining in the Sturges Airbase, yet all of the actors are completely dry. And then there's the CGI mobile suitsnote which were animated by regular Star Trek effects firm Digital Muse. While they look pretty decent (key word being "look"), their slow movements and actions (when compared to other Gundam shows or games) murder the awesomeness of the battle scenes.
The entire Showa Gamera franchise has some pretty poor effects - quite often even worse than the Godzilla films of the period could pull - due to their low budgets. Ironically, this situation was reversed by the two series' Heisei films.
Though even the Heisei Gamera trilogy wasn't completely immune to this trope. Several of the shots from Gamera: Guardian of the Universe where Gamera and Gyaos fly above Earth's atmosphere look off-puttingly fake. Thankfully, such instances were fully smoothed out by the time the second and third films were made.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, while already considered to be an abysmal film on every count imaginable, is another shining example of effects failure.
Most infamous are the Garbage Pail Kids themselves; the costumes for them are designed so badly that they mouths barely close when they talk. Also noticeable are the soulless looks in their eyes (which rarely blink), their poorly-functioning limbs, and in some shots you can even see where the heads attach to the rest of the suits; all of this, among many other things make for characters who were not only ugly beyond comprehension, but also incredibly creepy.
In one of many of Nat Nerd's urinating scenes, it looks as if he's urinating in two directions at once.
Valerie Vomit's vomiting effects are also quite crude.
The opening scene where the Garbage Pail Kids' "space ship" floats through space uses a very crude model to stand in as their spacecraft, as well as a very fake-looking Earth against the backdrop of outer space.
Though groundbreaking with its visual effects, Ghostbusters flubbed it a bit with plain old-fashioned prop work. When broken bits from Dana's roof come raining down into the street during the face-off with Gozer, one of the chunks clearly bounces off a police barricade, revealing itself to be foam, not concrete.
When the ground in front of the building breaks apart and some parts rise and some fall, you can see one part bounce a little after it stops - revealing that the section is on a spring of some sort. The edges of the chunks of road are also obviously hanging fabric instead of solid - you can see it flapping in the breeze!
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has several bad effects, which surprised many critics because of the reported $175 million budget (as well as coming out the same summer as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Star Trek from the same studio). First, we have any time CGI is used to animate a vehicle. In particular, the scene where the Joes' plane is heading to The Pit contains horrid texture work, looking almost as bad as the tie-in video game; attempting to give the plane a glossy shine but horribly botching it. Next, we have the chase scene in Paris with some of the most obvious CGI work ever: Scarlett on a motorcycle moves unnaturally rubbery, Duke and Ripcord in the Accelerator Suits have a shoddy sense of speed (made all the more grating by the special features on the DVD revealing that one of the CGI shots of them in the suits took four years to render, and the practical suits look great), and the Nanomites being used on the Eiffel Tower looked awful (some compared it to the slime from Ghostbusters). Finally, we have the sinking ice resulting from Cobra's underwater base being destroyed at the film's final battle.
The Giant Claw outsourced its special effects to a small-time Mexican company, with results that were highly embarrassing even in its time. Look up its trailer.
Godzilla. The monster king's movies have featured quite a few notable special effects... flaws. But it's notable that wires holding up puppets, like Mothra, are all but invisible in most of the movies. Then came Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. The villainous monster, Megaguirus, is a spectacularly menacing-looking monster. Except that in the big reveal scene, when Megaguirus takes off, she is held up by incredibly obvious strings. And this is in a movie made in the year 2000. It is very jarring.
This can be blamed on Sony's handling of the film. When they put it on DVD, they used a brighter version of the print. The strings weren't visible in Japanese prints as those particular shots were too dark for the strings to be visible.
On a non-monster note, one scene in Destroy All Monsters features a Kilaak-controlled man jumping out of a window to his death. However, the actual fall is portrayed by a stiff-legged dummy with its arms firmly at its sides, as if someone's accidentally dropped a well-dressed mannequin.
The suit in Godzilla vs. Gigan is the Soshingeki-Goji suit (from Kaiju Soshingeki or Destroy All Monsters). In the '70s, Toho stopped spending money on making a new Godzilla costume for every movie, so the 1968 suit ended up getting used for THREE MORE MOVIES. The suit would be falling apart anyway, since it's made of rubber, but all the fights it went through only adds to this, so that Godzilla's skin is slowly falling off over the course of the film.
If you thought the Goji suit was bad in Gigan, wait until you hear this. At one point, Gigan is rampaging across Tokyo. You see the inside of the building that is going to be crushed by the monster in mere seconds. Inside stand two Kelly dolls, just staring at each other, and are soon crushed by the monster's claw. Now, they probably were intended to be store mannequins, but the place does not exactly look like a store, and why they would even bother including them is not known. What's even worse is that they stand there for well over a second, as if the camera is deliberately focusing on them.
In the same sequence, Gigan steps on a toy car, and its bumper simply pops off, revealing the hood to be hollow.
Terror Of Mechagodzilla has surprisingly good effects for a '70s Godzilla movie. Except for a couple of parts. It only appears for a few seconds, but an alien machine is clearly made from Lego blocks. Also, there are some shockingly bad composite shots among all the good ones. During the rampage of Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus, there's a ground-level shot where the two monsters seem to be coming out of the ground at waist-level, and the background even shakes around.
The full CGI Godzilla swimming in Godzilla 2000 looks pretty bad, especially considering it was released the year after the American remake. The movie also offers tons of badly composited Chroma Key shots (along with, to be fair, some well-made ones).
The Showa-era films often had vehicles (military or civilian) running on tracks, held up by supports in such a way that their tires didn't even reach the ground.
The 1967 suit used for Son of Godzilla is widely considered to be the worst suit in the entire series. Its abnormally long neck, googly-eyes, and wide-mouthed, frog-like face is often compared to the Cookie Monster. The design changes were made to emphasize the "family resemblance" between Godzilla and Minya, whose own design isn't exactly a fan-favorite either.
The painted backgrounds in the film are also jarring, as there are thin black vertical lines running down the "sky" in virtually every shot that wasn't filmed on-location. You don't have to squint to see them, they're so blatant.
The 1955 film Godzilla Raids Again uses a poorly-made hand-puppet for close-up shots of Godzilla, who suddenly has very crooked teeth for some reason.
Though not nearly as bad, the hand-puppet used for close-up shots of Godzilla in the preceding film looks noticeably different from the head on the full costume.
In the 1991 film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, they don't even bother making Ghidorah's wings flap (they hardly flap at all, in fact) when he first appears. Odd, considering that they were able to make a Ghidorah with flapping wings in the 1960s that looked great. Perhaps this was supposed to give the impression that he was gliding.
Speaking of Ghidorah's wings, by 1972's Godzilla vs. Gigan, Ghidorah's costume, used ever since his 1964 debut, was in such poor shape that a new model had to be quickly built for the flying scenes, resulting in a non-articulate toy with glowing eyes. Ghidorah's costume was still used for the rest of the scenes, but due to its poor shape, lots of Stock Footage ended up being used for his action-oriented scenes, as he otherwise did nothing.
1994's Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla has okay effects, but one scene featuring Spacegodzilla and MOGUERA battling in an asteroid field is just awful. The asteroids, for one, barely move and are clearly made from Styrofoam. The conspicuous lack of stars in the background also makes it obvious that the scene is just props suspended in front of a black wall. What makes this even worse is when one considers that this was a full fourteen years after The Empire Strikes Back's fantastic asteroid field scene.
The entire Heisei era was a huge step up in terms of SFX, so the failures listed here are ones that really stand out. Some infamous goofs occurring in Godzilla And Mothra The Battle For Earth are Mothra's bouncy rubber legs, the wires holding her up being visible at times (as they are focused on by bright studio lights), and Godzilla's tail being a separate prop with a warped base during his first fight with Mothra. In Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, the tip of Godzilla's tail even breaks off on-screen.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah: In Godzilla's first appearance, he's obviously very poorly super-imposed over a still shot of a sunset; it's really apparent because, at one point, one eye is orange, and the other one is yellow.
Subverted in Godzilla vs. Megalon; The infamous tail slide may look like this at first, but the fact that they show it again shows that it was intentional.
The second US remake has a brief one in some rather obvious CGI insects in the scene where Dr. Brody and his son revisit their Japanese home to get information on Godzilla. While not as bad as some of the above examples in the franchise, it's still incredibly jarring in contrast to the rest of the film's effects.
In the 2000 adaption of The Great Gatsby, Myrtle's corpse is pretty clearly a dummy. Legs just don't sever cleanly like that after being hit by a fairly slow-moving car.
In the movie Gunslinger, a poorly designed door leads to this humorous exchange when it was shown on MST3K:
Crow: Hey, doors don't open like that... there's a number... he's in the hall!
There is also one scene in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later where Michael's mask is CGI. Really, really bad CGI. Word of God says that the director decided well into production to go with a different mask, so certain scenes with Michael had to be re-shot. However one scene couldn't be re-shot, so the mask had to replaced with CGI, frame by frame.
The "captives" in the fourth movie, which are clearly mannequins. Thankfully, the murky water helps obscure it a bit.
The Chroma Key effects in the first film were pretty poor. When the Trio talks to Hagrid outside his hut near the end of the film, it's particularly obvious that the view of Hogwarts behind the Trio has been pasted in. The quality of the film's Quidditch match also suffered for this reason. Fortunately, they fixed these issues on the second film and the Quidditch match in that film looks much better.
Also from the same film, there's a scene at the beginning at the Hogwarts Express in which Ron is holding his pet rat Scabbers, but it's clear it's actually a plush. He even moves it a bit and we see it remains stiff and lifeless all the time.
At the end of Deathly Hallows Part I, when Voldemort steals the Elder Wand, the supposed "white marble tomb" is very obviously made of styrofoam blocks. Worse, no attempt at foley effects was made to disguise this, so when the styrofoam blocks shift aside, not only are they visually obvious styrofoam blocks, the audience can HEAR...styrofoam blocks falling over.
In the eighth movie's "19 years later" epilogue, the makeup and costuming used to make the characters look older... left a lot to be desired.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II features gruesome and visual convincing practical effects for deformed and mutilated bodies, but the ending when the souls are released from Leviathan feature incredibly unconvincing crude 2-D drawings of skulls superimposed on the frame, whizzing by the running humans.
Despite costing 30 million more to produce than its box-office rival The Legend of Hercules, Brett Ratner's Hercules (2014) doesn't fare much better. With especially fake-looking CGI for its lion and hydra.
In High School Musical 2, during the song "Bet on It", Troy looks at his reflection in the water, and the "reflected" image is the same as the original, i.e. it's not mirrored. You might not notice it the first time, but it still looks ridiculous.
At the very least, you will most likely notice that Troy's "reflection" is quite plainly a CGI image pasted onto the water.
The film lets you clearly see the cable Christopher Lambert is suspended from during the final quickening in two shots.
The whole final quickening scene could qualify as this, with what looks like sketched cartoon demon faces surrounding Christopher Lambert.
Ironically, the lightning was intended to hide the cables that were holding Lambert in the air. Instead, it drew even more attention to them.
The scene immediately before is worse: as the remnants of the Silvercup sign fall, you can see thick white cables on either side pulling it down for several seconds.
While we're at it. one of the fight scenes in the DVD cut of Highlander: Endgame has a JVC billboard sloppily edited into a blurry white square, and the cut shown in theaters actually had half-finished effects.
Zaphod Beeblebrox's second head in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The fans refer to it as "The Pez Dispenser". It's... pretty bad. Thankfully it gets removed about halfway through the film.
Though at least it wasn't a mannequin head on a stick shoved onto his shoulder...
Considering that the for-real animal action in Hotel for Dogs is amazing, the sight of a building rendered with crappy CGI is a shocker.
An especially absurd example: The film by Uwe Bollvery loosely based on the House of the Dead video game series intersperses actual gameplay footage from the games. In a live action film.
By the way, it wasn't even true gameplay footage, it was footage of the demo run from the arcade version, with the "insert a coin" message blinking! Apparently, the two quarters required to actually play the game would have tripled the film's budget.
Hulk, while its engine was actually impressive, and the depiction was quite faithful to the comic book, still left most viewers unprepared for what a 3D version of that Hulk would have looked like in real life. Some remarked that he looked like Shrek, and others wished he'd been played by Lou Ferrigno (despite Ferrigno being human sized). The 2008 Incredible Hulk movie followed up on these concerns, giving the character a darker green complexion and a lot more veins and wrinkles, more in line with the '90s drawing style of Dale Keown.
In the Ang Lee film, he pulls the gun turret off of a (CGI) tank at one point, and there's no hole on the tank where the turret detached.
The Hunt for Red October suffers from some less than brilliant blue screen work in the finale with Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery having their last conversation once the enemy sub's been destroyed and from missiles that are obviously animated (MAD's satire "Hunt For Last October" summed it up by having a missile be ridden by Tom and Jerry!). Like several other entries on this list, it shows that even Industrial Light and Magic can have an off day.
I Am Legend: The CG vampire zombies featured throughout are blatantly obvious digital effects, though this is only obvious when you get a direct look at them-they are much more convincing when they are obscured in the dark.
Parodied in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, where Ma Bell's stunts are obviously performed by a man wearing her dress and hairstyle. He even has a mustache.
A joke also used in the previous year's Spaceballs.
In The Ice Pirates, Wendon (played by Bruce Vilanch) is decapitated by Roscoe and his severed head is carried around for a bit. Because Wendon literally is nothing more than a head, this is not fatal, and some scenes required him to speak while as a head. Most of the time this was done by having Wendon's head on a table (with Bruce's body underneath), but in one scene, when he's being carried, you can clearly see Bruce's body for a brief moment, and he appears to be wearing a t-shirt.
In Harm's Way was praised for its excellent acting and storytelling, but is infamous for the extremely fake-looking model ships used in the sea battle scenes. In fact, starring actors John Wayne and Kirk Douglas were embarrassed at how badly the naval scenes compared to the rest of the movie. It's rather sad, really, considering how much they tried to avoid another trope.
The film ''In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale" had one in the climactic battle scene, no less. The arrows that the archers use are obvious CGI.
Here's a film you wouldn't expect to see on this list: Inception, which won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The effects in the film are almost entirely spellbinding and very well executed - except for one tiny instance when Arthur sends the elevator flying up to initiate a kick, and the passengers floating inside thud down to the floor in a very artificial manner.
Independence Day features, for the most part, very well-done special and visual effects that hold up to scrutiny even today. However, there is a jarring moment where one of the giant alien spaceships is shown hovering just above the White House, tourists can be seen milling about and taking no notice whatsoever of the giant ship. Also, actors' marks are visible on the floor in many scenes, and during the alien's rampage in the operating room, you can see the legs of the puppeteer beneath the alien body. When the alien is shot, the wires that pull it back are also clearly visible.
To say nothing of the Shia LaBeouf Tarzan sequence. Not everything is better with monkeys. Actually, let's extend it to everything involving animals in the film, because there are some of the fakest prairie dogs ever committed to film. And there have been a lot.
CGI had appeared briefly in the 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, to depict — amongst other things — a Zeppelin. Despite being a prime subject for computer realisation, with flat sides and limited animation, full-length shots of the Zeppelin were obviously matted into the sky.
In the snake pit in the first film, Indy lands on the floor inches away from a rearing cobra...with a highly visible reflection in the clear barrier protecting Harrison Ford from any accidents. This was fixed on the DVD and nobody has complained.
The controversial Innocence of Muslims featured awful green screen that makes the actors look like they're floating on the desert, obvious brownface, and tire tracks in the sand despite taking place during the 500-600s.
Each version of The Invisible Woman has at least one:
1940: As Kitty strips to nothing in Mr. Growley's office, Virginia Bruce's black-sleeved arm can be seen passing in front of her midriff.
1983: When Sandy is Covered in Mud late in the film, it is obvious that Alexa Hamilton is not actually nude.
It Conquered the World (later remade as Zontar, the Thing from Venus) The monster... suffice it to say that the scene where it strangles the heroine had to be shot several times because the actress, Beverly Garland, kept bursting out laughing.
Believe it or not, this is because the creator of the monster was actually trying to make it work as a believable alien creature — it looks like an angry ice-cream cone crossed with a crab, yes... but it was supposed to be a being from a high gravity world. He tried. Even he admits he didn't succeed, but he tried.
Initially, it was supposed to be much more squat, as part of the "high-gravity origins" idea. Then Beverly Garland walked up to the outfit during a break, shouted, "Try to take over my planet, huh? Take THIS!", and kicked it over. They added the three feet of head.
The effects in Jack the Giant Slayer, while decent, are not up to the quality of the film's $195 million budget. A common complaint is that the giants by Digital Domain look too cartoonish. To say nothing about the beanstalk or the CGI in the opening.
Despite being touted as "the most realistic effects to date", the CG para-surfing scene in Die Another Day was criticized as being easily recognized as fake, especially in comparison with other, more realistic CG effects of fellow blockbuster smash, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Particularly jarring since Die Another Day starts off with a very well-done surfing sequence done with actual waves in Hawaii...
Ursula Andress is clearly wearing a flesh-colored towel when she steps off the conveyor belt "nude" in Dr. No.
In Goldfinger the statue decapitated by Oddjob's hat has a clearly visible break at the neck, and the head starts falling off BEFORE the hat makes contact. This is especially strange because the MythBusters James Bond special proved that knocking the head off a plaster statue for real is almost trivially easy.
Live and Let Die features a particularly bad shot of a man being killed by an inflating bullet.
The bluescreening for Jaws jumping between the cablecars in Moonraker.
Bond knocks a ski goon off a cliff in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. A dummy with skis attached to its feet falls off, with some dude yelling "aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh" simultaneously.
Oddly enough, claimed for the way Bond is rescued at the end of Thunderball. He launches a balloon attached to a harness, which is then picked up by a B-17G Flying Fortress. Claimed to be the most ridiculous special effect in the Bond series (or at least at the time), it is in fact the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System.
May Day's spectacular parachute jump off the Eiffel tower in A View to a Kill is achieved with a (very visible) ramp. In the same movie, the very obvious dummies that are thrown from the zeppelin. Their extremities buckle in several places.
Some special effects failures actually improve the film: the mechanical shark in the first Jaws movie worked so badly and looked so fake on camera that Steven Spielberg shot most of the film without it. Not having a monster to occupy camera time, he substituted suspenseful direction, in-depth story-telling, memorable musical cues, and plenty of good acting and dialog. None of the sequels and almost none of the movie's imitators reached this level of quality.
Parodied in an episode of Robot Chicken, where Jaws is re-released with CGI special effects, including the shark dodging a harpoon by leaping into the air in a multiple rotation somersault and giving it actual dialogue, claiming that it "adds a new dimension to the shark's character".
This is, of course, also a reference the controversy that ensued when Spielberg digitally replaced the FBI agents' guns with walkie-talkies in an Updated Re-release of ET.
An infamous scene in Jaws 3D had an obviously fake shark slowly advancing towards the window of a tank... and that was supposed to be scary because the 3D was meant to make it seem like the shark was swimming at the audience. In theory, this might have worked. In execution, however, the "shark" in question moved towards the audience much too slowly to evoke fear. It seemed more to float in the audience's direction, lacking any sort of motion to show swimming or, indeed, basic vital signs. That's not even mentioning the fact that it simply stops dead in its tracks after smashing the glass of the tank. You know, the tank that's under water.
Parodied in Back to the Future Part II, where Marty stands near a movie theater in the future when a holographic projection of a cartoony, poorly-rendered shark emerges and advances towards him. Marty at first freaks out and ducks, but when the hologram disappears, he straightens up and comments, "The shark still looks fake."
Jaws: The Revenge suffers heavily from this. Besides the awful model work used when the shark explodes at the end of the film, there are some spots in which you can see the mechanisms controlling the shark.
John Carpenter's Vampires features some of the worst "burning vampire" effects ever committed to film. Vampires pulled into sunlight don't burst into flame, but instead appear to light Roman candles up their coat sleeves. Seriously, that's it. This is especially pathetic in light of the fact that filmmakers had been setting stuntpeople on fire for decades, to the point that there are stunt performers who specialize in being on fire.
The 1956 adventure film Journey to the Center of the Earth features some very obvious rubber crystals that jiggle when brushed against.
At the end of the 1998 film Jungle Boy, the snake statue mutates into a really badly animated giant cobra. Also the film has a obvious elephant prop.
During the locker room scene after the titular character's first game in Juwanna Mann, one of his/her fake breast forms flies out of under his/her shirt and onto the window. It looks obviously CGI, and in one shot it disappears on the last frame.
In Kick-Ass 2, the effects of Hit Girl's sick-stick device are very obviously CGI; clearly nobody wanted to rig up practical puke and diarrhoea effects on teenage girl actors.
Robert L. Lippert's King Dinosaur. The numerous alien life forms of the planet Nova are all clearly animals from Earth. The eponymous dinosaur is just an iguana on a miniature set... which would be tolerable had one of the characters not claimed that it "resembles the Tyrannosaurus rex of Earth's prehistoric past."
In the 1970s horror movie Kingdom of the Spiders (starring William Shatner), the heroes board themselves inside a building to keep themselves safe from the killer arachnids. At the very end, they uncover one of the windows to look outside... only to see that the building they're in, as well as the entire town, has been covered in spider webs. The scene would be genuinely scary... if the webbed-up town wasn't a cheap-looking matte painting. What makes matters worse is, is it's not even like they showed it briefly and then moved on. They show the painting and freeze on it, keeping it up through the entire ending credits.
The Nicolas Cage-starring film Knowing contains a fair bit of Conspicuous CGI, including the forest animals on fire and several of the disaster sequences. The train crash sequence doesn't seem to possess any sense of weight. The plane disaster scene is quite genuinely nasty and most likely the part of the film that'll stick in the viewer's mind for a while.
Let's also include the shocking attack, complete with wobbly camera and transposed background.
In Labyrinth, when David Bowie (as Jareth) is singing "Dance Magic Dance" — it's one of the best and most memorable scenes in the movie... and worth of RHPS-style callbacks when you can go "It's a baby — it's a doll — it's a baby — it's a doll!"
And the obviously fake bubbles turning into a glass bauble... Yeah.
When they're looking out on Jareth's "kingdom", Sarah say it doesn't look that far. And it really doesn't:
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel have examples of this. In the first, there are the stone monkeys in the Cambodian temple and the deconstructed Husky dogs (and various other objects) in the time storm. The second however seems to be far worse. The underwater sequences at the start of the film feature bad CGI fish, but the most triumphant example has to be when Lara Croft is rescued by a submarine, and the matte work of the sunset in the background is just awful. Elsewhere in the film, we have the studio backlot as a bad substitute for a Kazakh prison, rancor lookalikes that emerged from the shadows, some clumsy Wire Fu involving a fight on top of the heads of terracotta warriors, and the Big Bad melting in acid.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was particularly bad in this respect. The scene near the beginning with the house in Africa blowing up had obvious flame effects matted onto a real house, Mr Hyde did not reach even the lower standards established by the first The Incredible Hulk movie (see previous entry)...
...and the scenes where Venice was being destroyed were embarrassingly bad, where it was obvious that a model city had multiple visuals overlayed on top of it, and that the visuals had apparently been done by different groups with different lighting sources and different ideas of the scale of the model. Never mind the fact that the Nautilus kept changing size, where it was wide enough to have full sized dining rooms and be huge in the open ocean, but tiny enough to navigate the canals of Venice.
The worst offender in that film was the CGI water, which was supposed to be overwhelming the Nautilus crew but was obviously just overlaid with footage of them running through it.
The Legend of Hercules, noted by many critics and audiences as looking suspiciously like a direct-to-video movie when it supposedly cost $70 million. Among the offenses:
Almost non-stop use of green screen and CGI instead of actual physical sets, leading to scenery that often looks fake and/or doesn't blend well with the live-action elements (a great example is the massive Greek colosseum Hercules fights in, which looks like something out of a videogame - CGI spectators included).
In some scenes with archers firing arrows, the arrows - made with CGI - instantaneously appear in the archer's hands instead of being drawn from a quiver.
Hercules fights the Nemean Lion, which is one of the worst-animated CGI animals in recent memory (apparently they used a lion head prop on a stick on set, and were restricted to its movements when making the CGI). See it in action here: 
Seen in 3D, some of the CGI effects stick out even more because they were actually rendered into the scene in 2D, making them look like flat cutouts.
About the only thing that makes Let the Right One In near-perfect instead of completely perfect is the terrible looking cat attack scene.
The 2010 film Lifted has a scene with some painfully obvious digital rain. In one shot, the camera is looking straight down from a high angle and we can clearly see that the ground is not getting wet.
The 1976 movie Logans Run has some of the worst miniature work ever. The "domed city" looks like a tabletop diorama made by school children.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, despite otherwise great special effects, has a somewhat shaky CG Legolas during the famous "elephant climb" scene, although most people were willing to forgive it because of how awesome that scene was. The beginning of the movie also has a not-quite-perfect CG Déagol when he falls into the river. The entire climactic sequence on Mount Doom is a bit dubious as well, especially whenever the scene requires the appearance of lava... however, it is understandable, as the post-production crew were working 72-hour days in a desperate attempt to finish those scenes in time for the film's premiere.
The army of the dead swarming the Pelennor Fields.
Also, in Fellowship of the Ring during the Mines of Moria, that one bit where we see Gollum's hands and eyes looks weird.
The Gollum scene was made before the final CGI model was created as seen in the other two films (Andy Serkis had, in fact, been cast contrary to previous reports as his voice is plainly heard during the torture scene just before Frodo leaves the Shire).
The animation in the cave troll fight scene in Moria is so bad that it's been used as an example in computer graphics courses of what suspension of disbelief-breaking animation looks like.
At the end of Fellowship, when Aragorn is rushing towards Borimir, one of the orc corpses looks up nervously as he he jumps over it, then quickly goes back to being dead.
The scene at the beginning with Gandalf in Bag End. Just before the tea is set to steep, when Gandalf sits down at the table his knees brush against it. The forced perspective trick momentarily falls apart when the part of the table in front of Gandalf wiggles and the rest doesn't.
At the end of The Two Towers, As Gollum argues with himself about what to do with the Hobbits, he angrily twists the branch of a dead pine tree. There is a sound of bark breaking off, but the branch is visibly unaffected. More jarring still is the fact that we can easily see that the pine needles he is walking on do not move, even slightly.
Theoden's fellow riders are often swinging at nothing at the end of The Two Towers because the CGI orcs have already fallen by the time they get to them.
From the newer trilogy of The Hobbit, there arises another regrettable instance where the overly-long hours against a tight schedule plays against the film: in the Theatrical release of The Desolation of Smaug, the barrel-riding river scene has several shots (ostensibly from Bilbo's POV) that blatantly come from an inferior camera rig, and come across looking like some tourist's rapid kayaking home video.
Peter Jackson is, unfortunately, the cause of essentially all the time-crunch induced failures listed. Despite being a brilliant film maker, he has the unfortunate problem of just not knowing when to say "OK, that's enough, we need to get this thing finished already," and just adding more and more awesome stuff until the last possible moment.
There's a jarring instance in Lost in Translation, which is mostly a realistic, effects-free film. Bob goes to a golf course with a forest and Mount Fuji in the background, and it's clearly a bad matte painting. The scene is long enough for it to become painfully obvious.
In the Roman Polanski version of Macbeth, a spotlight is shone at characters that are holding lit torches to illuminate a circular area around them. In one such scene, there's a very visible shadow on a wall on the same side of the character as the torch in question.
The Man Who Saves the World (aka Turkish Star Wars). Ever single special effect (excluding the ones stolen from Star Wars) looks cheaper than cheap. Most notable are the hilarious costumes of the various monsters.
Internet humor writer Seanbaby points out exactly one glorious aversion: in one of the movie's severaltraining montages, Turkish Luke kicks a rock so hard it hits a wall and explodes. Slow-mo replay reveals that the "rock" is actually a live grenade, thrown at a wall so a cameraman standing just outside the blast radius can film it. Solving SFX problems with More Dakka? We salute you, Turkish George Lucas!
The funniest has to be the Big Bad's death: torn in half. How do we know this? Because the camera showing his face has a piece of cardboard on the right half, then on the left half, both sides having the whole nose. Special Effects Failure doesn't begin to describe it...
The Man without a Face at one point shows a cat mauling a person, achieved by intercutting shots of a real cat with an incredibly unrealistic animatronic cat.
In "Manos" The Hands of Fate Torgo was supposed to be a satyr, but this failed rather spectacularly because he was wearing the leg construction backwards. It made him look like he just had huge knees.
And he was the one who designed them!
According to some accounts, the actor playing Torgo suffered permanent knee injury due to the misapplied application, leading to a painkiller addiction and eventually his suicide. It's a particularly nasty special effects failure that can take credit for the death of the actor involved.
A fairly minor one in Iron Man , but when Iron Monger AKA Obadiah Stane runs at Pepper after discovering her underground, Stane is very clearly not moving.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Hayley Atwell reprised her role as Peggy Carter 70 years after the events of the first film. She was artificially aged with computer effects rather than makeup (which could have done a much better job), and the end result was very off. One can't help but wonder why the studio didn't just hire an elderly actress; it would have been much less distracting for such a poignant scene.
The Avengers has a small moment of when the light from Stark's arc reactor is not shining through his shirt in several shots during the scene after Coulson's death.
The Matrix Reloaded also had numerous instances where Neo was clearly not in the scene and the entirety of his body was computer-generated. While not necessarily a Special Effects Failure, it didn't look very convincing, and the fact that the film cut to slow motion every five seconds only served to drive the point home.
The first fight with the clones of Smith, the Burly Brawl, early on in The Matrix Reloaded looks especially horrible.
Also note that the filmmakers and studio touted the sequels' "virtual cinematography" as a breakthrough on the level of the first movie's "bullet time".
And then to make it worse, when Morpheus is fighting on the semi they screw up a basic "bluescreen" Job. Good job taking it to the next level when you can't even handle THIS level.
When they did use CGI for that scene there were still failures, making Morpheus and Agent Johnson look like battling plasticine figures. Johnson's earlier jumping off a car is similarly something that - well, if they hadn't done the shot in slow motion they might have got away with it for at least one viewing.
The Medallion has plenty of bad green screen, Wire Fu, and a scene where Lee Evans pokes Jackie Chan with a knife, and light shines out of the wound — because Jackie is now immortal, see.
Meet the Spartans has a particularly confusing example of this: In a scene where Leonidas addresses the fat Spartan who just had his eyes punched out by an enraged opponent in a Yo Momma joke contest, the fat Spartan's eyes are chroma-keyed out of the picture◊... and you can clearly see the stone wall behind him through his eye holes, which would imply he's missing the back of his head as well... except he isn't, because just one shot ago the audience has a clear view of the back of his head, and he looks fine.
Meteor: A particularly infamous example of this trope, and the fact that it's a disaster movie makes it even worse.
It's entirely obvious that all of the spacecraft, missiles, and probes used in the space scenes of the film are all plastic models; so much so that they look like children's toys. On the Hercules missile platform, one can see the bolts and stickers on the station and the missiles it carries
In an early scene where the manned Challenger 2 space probe (which is clearly a model of America's first space station, Skylab) is seen crossing the void of space, one can clearly make out our Sun as nothing more than a spotlight.
In none of the shots does the asteroid Orpheus look anymore real than the human spacecraft crossing the screen, owing largely to poor lighting effects and unrealistic movements.
Particularly laughable are the shots of various meteors zooming into Earth's atmosphere, which is nothing more than a bright red light that in no way interacts with the surrounding with which they impact.
You're unlikely to find another movie where the missiles seen onscreen move slower than the ones in this movie do.
Also of note is the obvious styrofoam snow used in reused footage from Avalanche during the scenes with meteors striking the Alps.
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: The Movie used CGI for the Ninjazords because they didn't want to use the original props or costumes for the film. And boy do the CGI ones look bad. They're a poor match for the correct designs too. The Ninja Mega Falconzord is the biggest offender, being based not off the full-sized toy but a smaller special edition with the wolf's head uncovered and the cover for the Ape hand being able to hold a sword (a large version of one of the Ape's Ninja-to, but the artists interpreted it as the Shogun Megazord's fire saber. Ouch.) Finally, they botched the head.
There's also the scene where Ivan launches the Ninja Megazord through a building and it's extremely obvious the Megazord is a model (or perhaps even the figurine) being launched through it.
Misery: During the big fight scene, just as Annie Wilkes (played by Kathy Bates) falls to the floor and hits her head on the typewriter, the actress is replaced by a really bad looking Kathy Bates dummy.
Monster A-Go Go, when it bothered to even attempt effects (as opposed to dodging effects scenes altogether with exposition), tended to do them badly, as in the scene where the crashed space shuttle is found:
(MST3K crew laughs) Tom Servo: Douglas was very short, pear-shaped, and stood the whole way.
Mortal Kombat had some really bad effects like Reptile, the harpoon snake thing that comes out of Scorpion's hand, the shot of Sub-Zero freezing a monk, Goro looking incredibly goofy like a cousin of the Ninja Turtles, bad blue screen and that AWFUL CG shot of going up Shang Tsung's tower, spinning around it and entering the top window to reveal a badly superimposed Sonja.
The Mummy Returns has two instances. Dwayne Johnson's CGI form as the Scorpion King looks like something out of a videogame cinematic, and when the armies of Anubis attack, many of the jackal soldiers in the background phase through the actors, or die without having been attacked.
Interestingly, the scorpion parts of the Scorpion King's body look very good. The human parts...not so much.
We can safely add the CGI used on Imhotep's Mummy form as a failure of truly epic proportions. Due to the limits of technology the original Mummy was part CGI and part guy in make-up making him look incredibly realistic in both his movements and his interactions with the actors. But here he is entirely CGI making a firm clash of Uncanny Valley with special effects failure with his dead lifeless eyes, jerky movements, dry untextured body and (there is no other way to put this) a cheesy shit-eating grin. It doesn't help that the other cast members he interacts with apparently have no idea where he is meant to be at any one time which draws unnecessary attention to the fact he isn't actually there.
In the series' next installment, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Jet Li, along with his entire army, vomits up clay which covers him then fires itself, resulting in the Terra Cotta Army. The quality of the sequence is just atrocious.
Jet Li's character transforms into several things made of bad CGI, including a hydra-like three-headed-dragon.
In The Name of the Rose, Salvatore is brutally tortured and both arms are broken and dangling limply. This would have been a traumatic scene if Salvatore didn't mistakenly end up with two left hands in this scene.
Even in 1972, Night of the Lepus' use of cute little bunnies filmed on a scale-model set didn't exactly produce the intended scare.
Night Watch movie had so many problems with special effects during production, that the director had to replace most of them with computer graphics. Only one scene in the released cuts uses props: Zabulon pulling out his spine to use it as a sword. Thanks to this decision, the movie averts the trope.
There's also a sought-after unfinished version that leaked to torrents a few weeks before the release. Among other things it has several scenes with CGI objects rendered in wireframes and very poorly done face morphing.
There are a few in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), particularly the extended arms bit with Freddy and the obvious stunt double when he's on fire during the climax.
Not to mention that, during the last few seconds when Freddy pulls Nancy's mom through the door to kill her, it's painfully obvious that it's a dummy.
There's another scene when somebody jumps out a window... on to a horribly obvious mattress.
In the commentary, one of the producers comments on the shot where Freddy is chasing Tina, only to appear right in front of her. The "first" Freddy was a double, but far shorter than the genuine article. It looks like Freddy has briefly become four feet tall. note Although, it can be sort of justified, considering it was in dream world...
Ocean's Twelve suffers from this in any scene involving the laser net at the art gallery. Some of the statues in the scene where Toulour reveals how he used someone with mad acrobatic skills to get past it are this as well.
Once upon a Time in Mexico stands out for this. Many effects, from muzzle flashes to Antonio Banderas climbing a wall, were done near-perfectly...so it's all the more embarrassing when nearly every instance of blood or fire is painfully obvious CG on the level of a 1992 cartoon.
Here is a quick example of Ed Wood's nudie flick One Million AC/DC. (censored nudity, but still likely NSFW) (Note that the dinosaur in this is the same puppet pictured on the main page from The Mighty Gorga.)
An extremely bizarre shot in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (2001) has Mark Wahlberg's gun, hitherto a space ray gun, briefly turn into a nickel-plated M1911 and back again when the bad monkey is waving it around in a bad monkey fashion.
There's also the very brief scene where one of the Gorillas is giving a speech which ends with simply roaring. The inside of his mouth was noticeably lighter than the shadow inside of the actor's mouth.
Prancer was billed with the tagline "Come see Prancer fly." It is about a poor little girl on an apple farm and a reindeer in a pen who may or may not be Prancer. The reindeer does not fly until the very end when he is shown leaping only to cut immediately to a twinkling dot flying up to join other twinkling dots. Puma Man had better special effects than this movie...
There is one special effect shot in Reds; a ship tossing on a stormy sea. Not only is it a blatantly poor miniature, it's also a very unusual shot for the film which was otherwise always in the actors' faces.
Reptilian, a 1999 Korean Kaiju film made to cash in on the 1998 Godzilla remake, and somewhat of a Yongary (see below) remake, has to have some of the absolute worst CGI EVER. And the sad part is, it is apparently an upgraded version, so it may have looked worse.....
Reptilicus involves the monster spewing a stream of green slime. The slime is so poorly animated in stop motion. The rest of the movie didn't fare much better; whenever the monster ate somebody, the effect was similar to the ones in the Shark Attack movies mentioned below, only about a million times worse. Perhaps the single worst effect is when Reptilicus devours a farmer whole. This is represented by the worst animation you will ever see in your life.
The first Resident Evil film has the incredibly bad animatronic Licker.
This is opposite Retribution, wherein the CG Lickers are actually pretty decent looking while the other effects are pretty bad. Specifically during the car chase in Moscow where the car turns into an obvious CGI model at points.
All three Robocop films have had their climactic moments ruined by shoddy effects work:
During the final minute of the original film, when Murphy shoots Dick Jones (causing him to fall out of a window), the top-down shot of Jones falling downwards out of the building to the street below is an obvious model miniature that has comically-large arms. It's much more noticeable than the rest of the effects for the film (which had some of the greatest practical effects ever used in a movie up to that point), precisely because of how shoddy it looks.
RoboCop 2 (shot in 1990) was the last film to use stop-motion FX - and it shows. Badly. This is most noticeable in the final fight sequence of the film - the shots where RoboCain tries to shake Murphy off of him look oddly stilted and jittery.
The explosion of the OCP building in RoboCop 3. In what should have been an amazing shot that finally saw the end of the megalomaniacal corporation that tried to bulldoze Old Detroit, the footage looks five years older than the rest of the film, and shows a poorly made miniature pathetically breaking apart. Of course, this comes after a climactic scene where the wires on Robocop's rocket pack are visible on-screen.
Just before this, Robo incinerates McDaggett's legs before flying off with a woman and child. The shot just after Robo flies through the OCP building begins with McDaggett falling down - his legs are visible and are not burned in the slightest as he crawls, and the only aftereffect of Robo turning on his jets full-force on the floor is a light puff of smoke that disappears.
Additionally, any scene which uses stop-motion animation to create ED-209 as opposed to having a real-life animatronic prop. The OCP board meeting with the "drop your weapon" demonstration failure looked great. ED-209 falling down the stairs... not so much.
The green screen effects from The Room are pretty bad, though compared to the rest of the film, they are almost passable.
The "throw TV out of window scene" also features an obviously hollow prop, though if you've survived that long into the film you're unlikely to care.
Run Silent, Run Deep was a great movie about submarines. Much of the potential drama from watching one submarine shoot torpedoes at another was diminished by the tell-tale cable pulling each torpedo along a set path and informing the viewer that the torpedo would safely pass by without harm.
Also, in a case of artistic license with ships, when depth charges were used in the movie, a depth charge would come into direct contact with a submersed submarine, roll off the hull, and explode, but then would do little damage inside. Depth charges work in such a way that they don't need to come into direct contact with an objet to harm it. They explode and create a bubble underwater, which then displaces water with such force that it can bend and break metal.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians had lots to complain about in this area, but what stood out the most was the "polar bear" that was obviously a man in a cheap costume.
Joel: Aw, you can see the head piece draped over the body!
Seabiscuit. The far-shots all featured the jockeys on real horses, but the close-ups featured Tobey on an obviously fake horse with horrendously exaggerated neck movement that didn't at all line up with the movements of the jockeys on the real-life horses.
During the number, "Wonderful, Wonderful Day" in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, if you play close attention, you can see a bird on the set flying into the clearly painted backdrop.
The Shark Attack TV movie series are examples of the junk Jaws rip-offs, especially Shark Attack 3: Megalodon. Awful rubber sharks and ludicrous green-screen-meshed-with-stock-footage appears.
The titular Megalodon is frequently seen rising up out of the water to grab victims in its mouth. This is accomplished by superimposing footage of the victim over the mouth of footage of a shark head. The (main) problem is that the superimposed victim is always the same size relative to the shark head, whether said "victim" is a person, raft full of people, or entire boat, leading to the impression that the shark can change size.
A Shot At Glory features former Rangers footballer Ally McCoist acting as a former Celtic player Jackie McQuillan. The footage of Jackie's playing career is taken from McCoist's own, real-life one, and it is painfully obvious in some of the shots that Jackie is just wearing a Rangers top tinted from blue to green.
The finale of Shotgun (1988) features a car with a flamethrower. Said flamethrower has a reach of maybe three feet, but somehow manages to ignite mooks who are standing much farther away from it.
The movie Signs was actually pretty tense and frightening with its aliens until you actually saw the stupid things.
Most critics and moviegoers agreed that Son of the Mask was a shining example of special effects failure; most found the predominantly CGI effects of the various characters, particularly those of the baby and the dog to be cheap-looking, as well as downright terrifying.
Also noteworthy is Jamie Kennedy's nightmare sequence when his wife gives birth to multiple children. Bad enough that the scene's too inappropriate for a family film in the way it's portrayed. But besides the fact that Traylor Howard's character has no visible reaction to giving birth multiple times (supposedly played for comedic effect), the babies she gives birth to are clearly just plastic dolls.
This glaring error is also committed again later, when Jamie Kennedy flees from Loki with his son in his arms......Or rather, a plastic lookalike of him.
Most would say that Jamie Kennedy's facial makeup as The Mask himself was also horrific.
The film's relentless use of wide-angle lens closeups does nothing to alleviate the already-disturbing effects and makeup of pretty much everything and everyone seen onscreen.
The Blu-ray version of The Sound of Music. During the eponymous musical number, you can tell that the grass was painted green, which you couldn't in previous releases.
Much of the action in Space Mutiny takes in a building with visible bricks and sunlight, and this movie is supposed to take place in a space ship.
The 1997 film adaptation of Spawn is filled with a lot of poorly-executed CGI effects, despite being directed by a special effects artist who worked on Jurassic Park. The main offender is the demon Malebogia, who looks like he stepped out of a video game cutscene — his mouth doesn't even match what he's saying, it just occasionally moves up or down. Hell and the tunnel that leads into it are jarringly fake, and Spawn's cape is very textureless. This is a pity as the physical makeup and animatronic effects were done quite well.
If you watch the army of demons in hell closely you can see one going through his jumping back and forth animation cycle oblivious to the fact that he jumps off the piece of ground he's standing on and onto the air.
Even Speed was not invincible to this trope; in the scene where the first bus explodes, a lone red van is traveling ahead of the bus at the same slow pace. One can not only see the cable the van is using the drag the bus' burning hulk, but also the film crew in the distance who have blocked off the busy street.
Also in some shots when the second bus of the movie is speeding through the Los Angeles traffic, a camera can be seen hanging on its side.
In one scene, the bus slams into a black sports car sending it flying over the flatbed truck preparing to take it off the highway; several sets of wheels can be seen on its underside to aid in its glide off the truck.
In the famous bridge jump scene, not only can you see the ramp the bus jumps off of, but you can also see shadows on the part of the bridge they digitally removed for the stunt.
The obvious model underground subway train at the end of the film; additionally, after the train plows out of the unfinished rail station and grinds to a stop in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater, the final shot shows no sign of the unfinished station aside from the facade through which the train crashed.
The Sam Raimi's Spider-Man Trilogy, as praised as they were for their groundbreaking movement and effects work, had moments where they just looked... off:
In the original film, the close-up moments where Peter (as Spider-Man) carries Mary Jane through the city after rescuing her from the Green Goblin smacks of bluescreen work, as they show what appears to be the camera moving in an arc around a stationary stunt double and Kirsten Dunst to simulate movement. Their bodies are completely straight while traveling and don't react to the swinging at all, and in fact, MJ's hair appears to be blowing backwards.
The CGI in the rest of the film also looks very hokey. Particularly during the parade fight scene.
The opening scene of the sequel (where Spidey delivers the stack of pizzas) has animation that looks lower-quality than the rest of the web-swinging scenes. The model for Spider-Man looks to be slightly brighter than his costume in all other scenes, and at a lower resolution. This can be seen in certain distant shots in the third film as well.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is a good example of how bad 3-D special effects can be when they're not done right. Despite the fairly convincing CGI animation of the first two Spy Kids movies, the third film heavily relied on the use of 3-D as its main selling point. With most critics and viewers agreed that the 3-D rarely ever looked convincing and some even complained of the effects and glasses giving them headaches. While the bulk of the film does take place in a video game and has the look and feel of a video game world (With one level closely resembling something from a Super Mario game), the interaction between the CGI and the child actors with one another is unbelievable and quite obvious. Neither the poor CGI double of Valentin, nor that of the Toymaker's giant combat robots after he escapes into the real world during the film's climax help matters.
Speaking of the first two films, they too have their own instances. For instance in the first film, when Gregorio falls into jigsaw puzzle-based pit and peels his face from the plexiglass. The puzzle pieces are actually above it, rather than underneath. The Thumb-thumbs switching between CG and full-bodied costumes can also get obvious after a while.
The fourth film's effects also leave a lot to be desired. With blatant green screens, poor CGI, and at one point, a circuit board for the Spy Tracker 6000 featuring the words "Prop 1 Controller" on it.
In the extended TV edition of Star Trek The Motion Picture, after Spock leaves to go inside V-Ger and essentially trip on acid, Kirk decides to head out after him. As Kirk leaves the Enterprise in a space suit, the entire top fourth of the screen isn't actually the Enterprise... but the top of the set! Though some viewers mistakenly believe this shot was in the original theatrical release, it was actually from an unfinished sequence of Kirk and Spock taking the spacewalk together, which was cut due to effects problems and replaced with the solo-Spock spacewalk in the final film. The TV edition restored portions of this sequence to lengthen the film, but merely cut in the unfinished footage of Kirk's exit without the intended matte painting that would have hidden the visible wooden beams of the set. Note also that Kirk's spacesuit in this restored footage is different from the spacesuit he wore in the footage from the theatrical edition. So in the ABC version of the film, not only does the Enterprise consist partly of wooden beams, but Kirk's spacesuit has shapeshifting powers.
Also from Star Trek The Motion Picture, when Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and Decker leave the Enterprise to meet V'Ger near the end of the film, it's clear they're walking on a (bad) matte painting of the Enterprise's saucer section.
Star Trek II, III, IV, and VI contracted the special effects to Industrial Light and Magic. Star Trek V fell victim to ILM being booked up. With a writer's strike on, it was never going to get the extra time in post it needed before being punted out to starving theatres.
Though the climactic battle between Kirk and the Klingon commander in Star Trek III does very little to hide that the Genesis planet is, in fact, a soundstage.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country has its own effects problems. Many of the visuals featuring the Enterprise look like the film was made for TV, and a couple of shots are just plain awful. In particular, the pan across the ship as Chang recites Shakespeare, and the "slowly warping through space" shot after the Kirk/Spock chat in his quarters.
Worthy of mention here: Star Trek: Generations stole the Klingon ship effects from The Undiscovered Country. Not necessarily a Special Effects Failure, as they are good effects, but definitely an uncharacteristically cheap decision.
Made more jarring by the fact that Riker clearly orders a full spread of torpedoes to be fired because "we'll only get one shot." When the Klingon ship begins to decloak, the Enterprise only fires a single torpedo despite his order, because only one was used in Star Trek VI.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has good special effects in most cases. However, when Obi-Wan kills Darth Maul, you can clearly see Maul bounces sides of the pit he falls into like he was a rubber model.
Even worse is the scene when Anakin and Padme are infiltrating the foundry of Geonosis, Anakin's head clips through the metal door.
In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, similarly to the aforementioned Jaws, the creature in the garbage compactor wound up looking so awful that it was filmed as little more than a bunch of tentacles reaching from the water — and was arguably much scarier for it.
While fan-outcry against Greedo shooting first had more to do with messing with Han's character than anything else, it doesn't help that they illustrated the change by using the "Nudge" command in Photoshop to twitch Han three inches to his left and back again. It looks completely unnatural and happens at ridiculous speed. Thankfully, they corrected this in the re-re-release.
The special edition also introduces a scene where Han meets Jabba, originally shot with a human actor in a fur coat and now replaced with the most poorly animated and rendered version of Jabba the Hutt imaginable. When Han walks behind Jabba, the Failure is complete. Fortunately that was also fixed in the latest Special Edition version, where the awful CGI Jabba was replaced with the much better one from Phantom Menace and the interaction done more believably.
In the older editions, look closely at the edges of the screen when the ceremony at the end of the film is getting underway. As the heroes are entering the hall, the nearest three or four ranks of soldiers standing at the entrance are clearly painted cutouts. So is the entrance itself in fact. It wobbles visibly over the actual footage. Fixed in later versions of the film.
In the original Star Wars Cantina scene, there is a wolf like creature named Lak Sivrak, who is quite obviously a mask from a store. Thankfully, the digitally replaced him with a new alien for the 1997 release.
There are a lot of alien suit failures in the original cantina scene (another notable one is the big-headed purple guys, one of which has big purple hands, the other having gloved human hands). Word of God is that the guy tasked with making the prosthetics got sick and wasn't able to finish in time. When you're making a movie on a shoestring budget, you can't wait for these things.
In the establishing shot of Jabba's barge floating over the dunes in Jedi, they added a human walking across the deck, probably to give it scale. They shouldn't have, because it was spectacularly bad, with the guy seeming to teleport three times as he's "walking". This was replaced with a real person greenscreened in the Special Edition. It is perhaps the least-noticed change made to the trilogy.
Force Kick. More of a Fight Scene Failure, but still pretty stupid. This was averted in The Phantom Menace via CGI: behind-the-scenes promo webisodes showed Ray Park Force-Kicking Ewan McGregor, and a post-production guy at ILM picking Obi-Wan up via computer and moving him about a foot closer.
Although not as much as a failure, during the scene when Han is running away from the shield generator on Endor, a reflection of him can be seen from the ballistics glass.
In a scene where Luke leaps off a platform, ostensibly to the floor below, he can briefly be seen bouncing back up again off a trampoline just before the scene cuts.
In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, during the fight when Count Dooku drops part of the walkway on top of Obi Wan, it looks really fake. Obi Wan was just moved down on the screen when it fell on him without any of his limbs reacting to the impact. Even The Game did that scene better than the damn movie did.
And yet again when Mace Windu and Palpatine face off. Ian McDiarmid puts in a tremendous effort, but still moves like a man in his sixties. Then he backflips up some stairs.
Stargate'sBlu-ray edition deserves a mention. The picture quality is so much higher than when the movie was filmed that you can see the wires holding up the death gliders during close-ups on their pilots.
The sequels to Starship Troopers have horrendously worse effects compared to the original year movie. The effects of the original was the best you could have in 1997, while the sequels, both made in the 21st century, are worse than dodgy 90's CG cartoons. It is especially jarring because you hardly ever see the arachnids being affected by the "supposedly more advanced" weaponry while in the '97 original it was hard to see an arachnid and not see it being blown to pieces by automatic fire. The booby prize, however, probably goes to the explosion of the Q-Bomb at the end of Starship Troopers 3.
Most of the action scenes in Stealth are entirely CGI-rendered. Save for the closeups of the main cast in their aircraft cockpits, and for many, it was all too obvious.
Also jarring are some of the practical effects used in the action sequences where the trucks and aircraft blown up by the pilots are clearly models on closer inspection.
Also of note in the destruction of a skyscraper in Southeast Asia where the pilots are tasked with killing the nondescript terrorist leaders meeting here with no collateral damage. The pilots succeed at this a little too well: The building collapses so neatly as it collapses that one can clearly see the large roof of the tower separating intact from the tower below it as the whole thing crumbles into dust.
The kill effects in The Summer of Massacre are so terrible the film makes Birdemic look like Avatar.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace is another infamous example of this trope where poor special effects made a laughing stock of the superhero from the planet Krypton. It's been said by some involved that due to the multiple other projects they had been working on at the time, Cannon Films constantly made cutbacks on the film's budget; this was done to such a gratuitous extent that some of the actors went so far as to call the film unfinished.
Notable examples include numerous instances of bluescreen failure, particularly in the scenes taking place in outer space when Superman combats Nuclear Man and attempts to commandeer some very fake-looking nuclear warheads.
Particularly infamous is the scene where Superman repairs the Great Wall of China with his laser vision, which in the end looks like a very bad stop-motion effect.
The film is also loaded with poor bluescreen effects, not to mention reused footage from the earlier Superman films. Of particular note is a constantly-recycled shot of Superman flying directly at the screen in the exact same position, with the exact same expression.
Apparently the film could only afford so many explosions as the film cuts away from a shot of Lex Luthor's son's car sent flying into a quarry just as it was about to crash and explode.
Also noteworthy is the scene where a disguised Lex Luthor sneaks into a museum where he tries to steal a strand of Superman's hair which is shown to be strong enough to hold a half-ton weight in the air (just go with it) so he can create Nuclear Man; in said shot, not only is said weight shown to be an obvious prop when Luthor cuts it, but the floor of the display case clearly collapses before the weight comes crashing down on it.
Also noteworthy are the scenes where Nuclear Man wreaks havoc in the streets on Metropolis at the Daily Planet, where his ability to send people and objects flying backwards is simulated by the film literally going in rewind during said scenes.
Earth is backwards in some of the outer space shots.
Possibly the worst of the lot: the scene with Superman, Nuclear Man and Lacy all breathing perfectly well in outer space was supposed to be in the sky above Metropolis!
Probably done deliberately in Taoism Drunkard with the Watermelon Monster costume, with memorable results.
In the film Teenagers from Outer Space, they apparently couldn't even afford a decent prop for the gargon monsters, so they just used a lobster's shadow.
Pause when they "scan" the planet. Look closely. Yeah, the scanner is a guitar amp, filmed upside down.
In The Ten Commandments, when Rameses leads his chariots out of his palace, everyone's shadows point to the right. However, Nefertiri is watching them from a balcony, and her shadow is facing to the left. It's actually pretty glaring.
The climax of Tentacoli features two killer whales ripping a giant octopus to pieces. Or as it clearly appears, two killer whale hand puppets nibble on a dead octopus bought from a fish market.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Yes, the movie that would bring you the T-1000's morphing, Ahnuld with half his body blown away to reveal a T-800 endoskeleton, Ahnuld receiving amateur 'brain' surgery in the director's cut, and the most realistic depiction of being caught in a nuclear blast...starts with a bar fight wherein the smoke jets meant to create the effect of a biker getting fried on a diner's grill are clearly visible. One scene also clearly shows a stunt double riding Arnie's bike. Later on when they are fleeing the Pescadero Hospital and barrel out into the street in reverse you can very clearly see a driver behind the rear window, controlling the car.
Forgivable for actually being difficult to see without an old vhs player to slow through each frame, you can clearly see one of the biker's rubber knife bend when he stabs the T-800.
Whenever special effects were used in The Terminator, they failed. Most noticeable being the pale rubbery Ahnold head when he cuts out his injured eye, and all scenes involving the (largely Stop-Motion) übercool chrome-plated killing skeleton that moved somewhat like an arthritic zombie. Truly, less would've been much more.
Subverted in the latter example because the T-800 ruined an ankle joint when it got run down by the tanker (not to mention the subsequent fire damage), hence the staggering gait. In a sense, then, less was more. The shot of him shouldering and then breaking through the door is still sketchy though.
Stan Winston Studios, the special effects studio in charge of all the physical effects for The Terminator and Terminator 2 (As well as Jurassic Park, Aliens and Predator to name a few) later admitted the difficulties in making a realistic dummy that could have its skin cut off for the repair scenes while still looking fairly realistic for close up shots. This is most apparent in the sequence in T2 where the T-800 walks towards the SWAT officers shooting at him - several show the dummy model walking awkwardly towards the officers.
Arnie is replaced with a super-obvious dummy during the scenes when the T-1000 attacks him with an I-beam.
In the first movie, when the chrome skeleton rises out of the flames, in the background you can see a stagehand half stand to reach a lever to pull to raise it.
Part of the infamous blood-test scene in The Thing, where the Palmer-Thing splits its own head open and uses the halves to grab Windows' head. Windows' body is clearly a dummy - it looks much lighter and smaller than Windows. Also, Palmer's clothing briefly changes from a denim vest to a green t-shirt.
Also, during one shot after Copper's arms are pulled off his face looks bizarrely stiff and unnatural as he screams. That shot was actually of an arm-less double who was wearing a mask of the actor. Apparently John Carpenter was well aware that it might look crappy, but reasoned that no one would be looking at the dude's face anyway.
The blue butterfly in the Eddie Murphy film A Thousand Words looks like a really cheap effect pasted in by an amateur video-editing program.
The Three Stooges: When the stooges jump off the roof of a hospital, the next shot has obvious dummies falling to the ground. Clearly an homage to the original shorts, which occasionally used a similar technique.
The movie Thunderpants covered the main character's birth. He ends up farting, propelling himself out of the birth canal, up into the air, and into the arms of a doctor. While in the air (and, might it be added, at an impossibly steep angle), we get a close up of the new-born baby. It's obviously a doll, complete with hair, painted eyes, and not even being the right size.
Tombstone: Morgan Earp dies, and the music picks up as Wyatt stumbles out into the street with his blood on his hands, weeping, during a rainstorm. The wide shot makes it obvious that the "rain" is only falling within a twelve-foot radius around Kurt Russell.
While The Towering Inferno is still a shining example of the disaster movie genre, it still had its expected lapses:
One jarring example is during the rooftop scene where Paul Newman's character escorts several women to be evacuated by an incoming helicopter. After two of the women panic and rush towards the chopper, it's forced to pull away and is brought down by heavy winds. Cut back to the explosion and we see the chopper used here is a very obvious and blocky cardboard set piece with no rotors.
Another comes after they blast the water tanks in the uppermost floor of the tower, where the concrete floor beneath the tanks begins to cave in two neatly cut halves, indicating that it is part of a model set.
While most recognize that the Glass Tower in all of the fire scenes is a scale model, there are numerous scenes where it is particularly obvious.
Another film you wouldn't have expected on this list: Transformers. While the effects are most often believable (so much so that everyone complained when The Golden Compass won the Visual Effects award), there are two instances when the CGI doesn't match up with the live action elements - The scene when Ironhide steps out of the pool and the scene where the Predator drone is over the desert during the Skorponok battle, revealing that these two are separate CG elements.
Another example from the first film is when Optimus Prime picks up Sam and Mikaela. The two teens are fairly-obviously shaking unnaturally when being picked up, revealing the scene as a very elaborate green/bluescreen shot.
This also applies to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but on a much larger scale. Pay very close attention throughout the third act and you'll find shoddy compositing, half baked CG models that look like an Asylum film and a lack of motion blurring that, while making the characters easier to tell apart from one another, makes them less believable on screen.
This also occurs in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, mostly with the horrendously rendered heads of JFK and Nixon. What's worse is that this movie used some of the best 3D since Avatar, which makes the heads look even more like obvious CGI.
Despite being the most recent entry the franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction actually has lower quality control with its CGI. Some standout examples include the cube-like transformations of the man-made Transformers; a CG figure of Rainbow Dash being poorly inserted into a scene, and floaty animation on the robots in general. They even screw up the explosions during the opening by stopping them halfway through their animations.
At the climax of Troma's War, a truck filled with explosives drives into a boat. The explosion starts a good five seconds before the truck makes contact. Given the budget of the film, it's hardly a surprise they couldn't do another take.
An another film where Jackie Chan uncharacteristically relies on CGI is The Tuxedo, which had a bigger budget than The Medallion because it was a Hollywood film. The rapid "dehydration" is plenty terrifying, but the insects that cause this, the striders, look fake as can be. Granting Jackie Chan superpowers seems to be, most of the time, simply a matter of speeding up his movements digitally.
Robert Pattinson's "sparkle" in the first Twilight movie? It looks like he's sweating. On top of that, the part where they rip James apart is obviously foam.
Then there is him running with Bella through the trees... Audience reaction: Laughter.
And then, there's Renesmee. Why did they paste a CGI face onto a baby◊ instead of using a real one? We will never know. But, we could have ended up with worse. At least it's not as bad as the horror that is Chuckesmee.
The film is notable for having the least convincing CG flame effect in recent memory.
There's also the brief scene where a still image of Eric Bogosian's character pulls himself up from a cliff at about three frames per second. See here (at 1:57; clip also contains the aforementioned "flame" effect starting at 3:11)
The psi-hounds in Vampire Academy are laughably bad. Also, Christian setting them "on fire" wasn't very convincing either. They appear heavily unfinished.
An awful lot of the CGI work in Van Helsing is shockingly bad. The 'swing on a rope' scenes where they just veer off to the side for no reason. The 'Anna falls on the roof' scene. Way too many of the monsters. And what was in this film except CGI (and Hugh Jackman in too many clothes)?
The special effect failures in Volcano mostly have more to do with poor direction than effect quality, but the post-production effects often simply don't match the actors' reactions to them, such as people failing to notice a skyscraper-sized plume of ash and lava. There are, however, also some shots where the CGI elements are clearly rendered at framerates below 24fps, causing them to look quite jittery.
One of the three versions of The War of the Worlds released in 2005 was set during the same period as the book, and claimed to be the most faithful adaptation. While the quality may be up for debate, the quality of the effects is not. The heat-ray was straight out of a '90s video game, the tripods clattered along independently of the surfaces that they were standing on and the nighttime was represented by superimposing starry night sky over some of the visible blue afternoon sky while being filmed in bright sunny daylight.
Waterworld has a couple of moments of blatant rear projection and some rather wonky physics in the model work. Compared to most of the stuff on this list, it actually looks decent enough. So what makes it worthy of being here? The final budget: 175 million dollars.
The otherwise very good Where Eagles Dare had three: the first was when an obvious dummy plummeted down a cliff to impact the bottom, the second a shot showing badly faked smoke added to the skyline of a castle that supposedly had multiple fires burning, and the third when a vehicle exploded and rolled off a road, with really obvious dummies sitting in the seats burning just before the roll.
Some shots of the eponymous creature in The White Buffalo clearly show the rails that the animatronic creature gallops on.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was innovative when it came out in 1988, and still holds up today. However, there's one scene when Eddie is in the alley in Toontown and there are several shots where, due to time and budget concerns (see the DVD Commentary for more information), they had to opt out of rotoscoping out the fiberglass prop gun standing in for Eddie's toon gun and replace it with animation. Sticks out like a sore thumb among the rest of the film's effects.
One really good example of a more "accidental" Special Effect Failure is when Roger pleads for the director Raoul to let him do another take, Raoul's coat sleeve goes up to Roger's hand, instead of Roger grabbing it himself.
In Why Did I Get Married, Too? at the end of the film where the couples gather together again in The Bahamas for Gavin's memorial service, you can tell they that the paper lanterns they release into the sky and ocean float up towards a very obvious greenscreen effect.
The melted chocolate river looks more like brown water or sewage. (Appropriately enough, it was brown water.) It doesn't help that even the characters initially think it's such before Mr. Wonka corrects them!
When Augustus Gloop is sent shooting up the pipe in the Chocolate Room, the effect is very clearly done via stop-motion. The chocolate river surrounding the tube also reveals that the film was visibly sped up for said scene.
Blueberry Violet doesn't look very genuine. The effect of her skin turning blue is "accomplished" by simply shining a colored light on the actress' face.
Charlie and Grandpa in the Fizzy Lifting Drinks sequence are clearly cartoons, and as pointed out in the Rifftrax, the bubbles around the two almost hide the strings.
The Wonkavision scene, when the Wonka bar and, later, Mike Teavee, appear on the screen after being teleported there via Wonkavision. The podium holding the teleportee is clearly visible.
The reason for the Adaptation Species Change from nut-sorting squirrels to giant chocolate egg-laying geese was to avoid this trope, as the filmmakers knew there was no hope of pulling off the squirrels with turn-of-the-Seventies tech.
The Wizard of Oz has some great special effects, as well as some not-so-great ones. The visible strings controlling the Lion's tail may have been acceptable for 1939. However, one particular egregious incident yanking one out of the narrative is this: you can actually see (in full view) the Tin Woodman unwinding the rope keeping the Wizard's balloon down.
Wristcutters: A Love Story seems to have had a special effects budget of whatever loose change the filmmakers found under their dashboard.
The effect used to depict Emma Frost's diamond form pops out for its low quality. Also, though Wolverine's bone claws were well done, his adamantium claws, particularly in the bathroom scene, inspired much derisive audience laughter. You'd think in a movie explicitly about a mutant with metallic claws, that would get more CGI attention than anything, especially when incarnations in previous films (by the same FX studio, even!) were pretty good quality.
Professor X's cameo at the end of the movie. Let's just say that if the CGI technique to make Patrick Stewart look younger looks worse than the third movie (which predates Wolverine by three years), you're doing something wrong.
It's quite obvious that the train action scene is filmed in front of a green screen.
The Silver Samurai suit doesn't look as convincing as it should be considering how well rendered armored battle suits in movies like Iron Man are nowadays.
While the digital bear at the beginning of the film is somewhat hokey, the practical-effects created bear that appears shortly afterward just screams animatronic.
In X-Men: First Class, a quiet scene has Magneto teaching Mystique that she can't focus on hiding her mutant identity when threats could come from anywhere, demonstrating his point by levitating the weight she's lifting into the air and dropping it on her, forcing her to change back into her mutant form to grab it. Not only is the weight noticeably hanging on wires when Magneto levitates it (it can be seen jiggling in place as he speaks), but the makeup used when Mystique grabs the falling weight looks like it was whipped together for Jennifer Lawrence in a hurry, as it has an obvious "seam" where the makeup ends and her actual forehead begins.
The special effects are extremely top notch, but there are times when the 70s-era Sentinels (notably the one that Magneto places metal into on the train) look off.
In the stinger, Apocalypse's pyramid-forming looks a bit on the Conspicuous CG side.
The triumphant moment of Mystique smiling at Xavier and Beast after refusing to kill Trask is somewhat marred by the dodgy CGI effects used on her eyes when she looks over at them. The compositing of the CGI makes it look like she's going cross-eyed.
Yongary, a Korean version of Godzilla, has, at the very least, a visible nozzle during a close-up of the the title monster's head as it was breathing fire and a visible fifth wheel to prop up the rear half of a jeep the monster had sliced in half with a laser shot from its horn.
Zu Warriors — the 2001 version, not the 1979 cult classic film. Awful, eye-burning effects that belong on a 1995 screen saver and the characters farting purple fireworks as they "fly" (read: get blatantly pulled along by thick, obvious wires).
This is almost a given with many low-budget films made today by studios such as The Asylum. The CGI is especially chintzy, lacking any sense of mass and often badly composited into the film. Watch any of their films: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, Mega Piranha, Transmorphers, Alien vs Hunter, and you'll see just how shameful it is.
In fact, the CG in Transmorphers is really bad that even the founder of the visual effects studio that worked on it thinks the overall result is crap.
Anytime something is set on fire. The fire looks rather like an animated GIF pasted over the film. This is of course without mentioning the failure evident in just about every other effect.
Basically anything toted as a "Sci-Fi/Syfy Original". Particularly bad in Sci-Fi (or Syfy, for the move VD inclined) sequels to big-budget theatrical releases. Dragonheart had the main dragon splendidly rendered, scale by scale, while its sequel had a scale textured but smooth and shiny skin on the Mary Sue replacement.