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Quotes / Special Effect Failure

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Fan Works

Once a potent symbol of the feared Thorkoth race, the flying saucer had suffered the inevitable Gibsonian decline of that once mighty spacefaring empire. Chesley Bonestell paintings had given way to shoddy mattes, expensive optical effects to over-lit models and dodgy chroma-key. Anti-gravity machines hung by visible wires while bubble machines made pathetic imitations of luminescent protoforms. The walls wobbled noticeably, and the instrumentation looked like it had been scavenged from a sound studio's bankruptcy sale.
Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space


"As it was... disbelief had not so much to be suspended as hanged, drawn, and quartered."

Live-Action Films

"Shark still looks fake."

Live-Action TV

"Now he's eating stop-motion cartoons! I've got to do something!"
Jonah Heston, Mystery Science Theater 3000, watching Reptilicus

"It seems like lawmakers should exhibit a little more awareness of what they're releasing than the makers of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Look, I dunno, I just had the CGI team mock up a furry potato with a corpse's face; someone smarter than me can figure out if that's nostalgic for people."
John Oliver, comparing a poorly thought out anti-abortion bill to the movie's infamous rendition of Sonic, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver


"The owner of the ship makes several speeches boasting about how stable it is; it can stay level even during a raging tempest. I wonder if those speeches were inserted after the filmmakers realized how phony their special effects look. Every time we see the ship, it's absolutely immobile in the midst of churning waves."


"Kirk loses his grip and slips off the mountain. We then see an unrelated man wearing the same clothes also falling off a mountain. Then, Kirk is hanging upside-down in front of a rear screen projection of a moving rock face; Spock as well. The scene awkwardly ends seconds before Kirk touches the ground while Spock floats above him, suspended by movie studio cables. I'm not sure I understand the meaning of this abstract sequence. Perhaps someday, movie scholars will be able to decipher how these bizarre images relate to one another, but I'm not smart enough to decipher the meaning of these seemingly unrelated shots."

Tabletop Games

"You can tell they spent hundreds of dollars on the effects.
Chez Geek "Z-Movie" card.


Chorus: ... can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O, pardon!...

Web Original

"This airplane looks like the kind of present your grandmother gives you for your birthday when you're a toddler and she figures, 'Hey, he's only three. I could give him a stale dog turd and he'd be happy.' The effect is just amazingly bad, and the models will only get worse from here on in. (The upcoming submarine models look shockingly like bathtub toys. If, in fact, they aren't just that.)"
The Agony Booth on Submerged (2005)

"I don’t need to see a fake bullet in the opening gun barrel sequence, I doubt anybody did. The fake Hong Kong backdrop as Bond climbs out of the ocean looks like it came from a dodgy cartoon. The laser effects actually somehow look worse than they did back in Goldfinger."

"We’ve had three credits sequences so far in this series. One of them was the iconic Superman credits sequence from the first film, which was beautifully animated if basically the same idea. The second one was similar, but overlaid over a recap of the first film. The third was the utterly hilarious Richard-Lester-goes-crazy-with-slapstick citywide Rube Goldberg machine, and this time it’s just downloaded from a government website with some text that looks like it was overlaid on it on an Amiga."
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Superman IV: The Quest For A F*** to Give

That’s a green screen.
That’s a green screen.
Jack is talking to a tennis ball.
Those characters are climbing up a 6 ft tall green thing in front of a green screen.
That character is pretending to ride a horse in front of a green screen.
I’ve never seen Ian McShane more embarrassed.
Now Ewan McGregor is talking to a tennis ball.
Now the princess is in a cage surrounded by a green screen.

"Jo would have suffered severe brain damage from a rock that size hitting her on the head. Luckily it bounces."

"Michael Grade, responsible for pulling the trigger on the 1985 hiatus, has apparently cited this story as the one that persuaded him that Doctor Who was crap, a claim that Eric Saward took issue with, pointing out that Grade was in a position to give the program more money. But the flip side of this is what possible reason Michael Grade would have for giving more money to a program that’s blowing what it has on a pantomime horse. I mean, it’s tough to point at this and call it a compelling case for giving the program more money."

"Note to the costume designers: go look at a tiger or other mammal with a long tail. It doesn't just hang straight down. A tail that hangs straight down (with a kink at the end) is blatantly cloth wrapped onto wire. Please don't give a main character a tail unless you're prepared to use CGI in every scene she's in."

"Clark arrives there, where he proceeds to deflect their magical throwing of rakes at him with his heat vision in a scene that can best be described as looking like a Sega CD game."
Smallvillains on Smallville ("Spell")

Trillaphon: " about that magical talking-cat mouth? You could have made a more realistic talking-cat effect 80 years ago with scissors and hand puppetry."
Hydrogen: "There are probably 99-cent smartphone apps that could do that effect better than this movie did. And they come with 10 varieties of pre-recorded fart sounds at no extra charge."

"Due to a salary dispute with the BBC, actor Anthony Ainley has been fired from the role of The Master. Thankfully, we were able to complete his remaining scenes with a suitable replacement. A cardboard cutout."
Doctor Who: The Abridged Series

"So, post-production Justice League tried to remove Henry Cavill's mustache with CGI and he looks like fucking Human Shrek"
Lorenzoni Repeater, Twitter

"That is the fakest background that has ever faked being a background."
CinemaSins, about the rooftop scene in Spider-Man: Homecoming

Web Video

"When you're doing worse composite shots than me, stop making movies!!."

Dragon: No star shining tonight?
Chick: The soundstage is quite desolate!

"Is it possible for a movie to embody a Geocities page? Because somehow this film does it, complete with shitty GIFs, blinky text, and low-res pictures of your favorite bands."

"That's clearly just a cheap plastic container that we just slapped a hologram on top of. But when you're making a sci-fi movie, you'd rather have too many holograms than not enough."

"There's a shot in this movie in which Reed Richards, after he becomes the stretchy guy, warps his face to look like someone else to be in disguise. When he warps back into Reed Richards, it looked like a movie that came out in 1993 that was trying to use CGI effects that weren't invented yet. I'm not exaggerating, there wasn't a single thing convincing about it."

"The visuals are a lazy, unfinished mess, cobbled together by no less than five separate effects companies, resulting in a cartoony, CGI fakeness to the picture's most important moments."
Jonathan Paula, on Fantastic Four (2015).

"Before we go any further, I have to address the abysmal quality of this picture's visuals. The sheer ineptitude of Threshold Animation Studios cannot be overstated. The facial expressions are unsynchronized, the textures are boring, and the character designs are ugly. The animation here is so terrible it resembles one of those quick and dirty South Korean news reports, if it were rendered with a Nintendo 64 - sans Expansion Pak."
Jonathan Paula, on Foodfight!.

"It's weird, you've got this big budget sci-fi movie with giant spectacle and grand space battles... and then you've got a scene with a naff snake in it that looks like it's out of an Ed Wood movie."

"This is one of the lamest Hells ever designed. Not only does it look beyond fake for a big budget movie, not only is it some of the laziest layout work for something that could be creative in its sleep, but this is the shittiest devil ever! Literally! He looks like a giant piece of shit! If somebody sculpted a turd to look like a hyena with sea turtle dicks for ears covered in Ron Weasley's pubes and the voice of Dr. Claw parading as the Lord of Darkness, I'd say, "What are you smoking? Give me some! And you're fired". I'd call it a cheap CGI puppet, except it's not even a functioning puppet; the lips don't even move when he talks! (plays clip of the devil talking) This means that, technically, the Ninja Turtle Christmas Special had better effects, because they at least made an attempt to have their lips move! This looks like Sauron's pet chihuahua!"

Real Life

"Beautiful-looking picture, but the whole thing fell apart because the effect of the snakes on Megaera's head was not sufficiently well done for the climax of the film. Not a memorable film, but it could have been terrific."
Christopher Lee on The Gorgon, The Films of Christopher Lee

"This animatronic baby was moving its head, and Marc [Alaimo] was holding it up for the camera, playing the scene for all it's worth... It looked as if he were proclaiming to the world, 'Take a look! This is a phony baby! You can get one at Toys "R" Us! Thirty-five dollars and ninety-five cents!' We were howling with laughter and crying in frustration at the same time. The day will live in infamy."
Ira Behr on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Covenant"


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