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20 Movie CGI Scenes You Might Not Have Noticed

23 April 2013 | Features, Other Lists | by David Zou


Computer-generated Imagery is an invention that has both sides. If it’s used in a bad and excessive way, the scenes will look too fake and your mind will easily jump out of the story. While the best CGIs are the ones that seamlessly add the authenticity to the scenes and make audience believe everything they see are “real”. That’s part of the movie magic, isn’t it?

Here are 20 movie scenes where the CGI is applied so well that you never noticed it without being told.


20. Lincoln


CGI Scene: A dash of CGI tinkering allows Richmond Virginia’s Capitol Building to double for the White House.

Why It’s Great: It looks the part, and doesn’t distract from the film’s general aesthetic, in which practical effects are more prevalent.


19. E.T.


CGI Scene: In the 2002 re-release, the Feds who chase Elliot and E.T. are no longer armed with shotguns, with their heavy weaponry replaced by walkie-talkies.

Why It’s Great: It’s a seamless swap and makes the Federal Agents seem a little less psychotic.


18. Forrest Gump


CGI Scene: The digitized feather that bookends the film, floating whimsically across the screen.

Why It’s Great: It’s an eerily beautiful way to open and close the film, and a perfect metaphor for Forrest’s floating life.


17. Blood Diamond


CGI Scene: The gut-wrenching phone call scene at the film’s climax, in which digital tears were added to Jennifer Connelly’s face.

Why It’s Great: Who needs an actual performance when you can just CGI all the emotion in post!

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  • Jim

    These articles would be so much more enjoyable if thy weren’t split into 5 pages. That’s so pointless. At least give us the option of viewing the entire article as one page, and put the whole article into your RSS feed, not just the first one.

  • hesoyamdonMonster

    wow !! good article

  • WoWed

    The E.T. walkie talkie/gun swap is very noticeable if you ever saw the original film

  • Comment

    Tron LEGACY!!!!! Jeff Bridges as CLU

  • Voicedude

    Both Fincher and Cameron are the masters at this, True Lies has some subtle stuff, and there’s a ‘passing helicopter shot’ in Titanic where NOTHING – not the ship, people, waves, smoke, birds, or anything – is real! The only missing master here would be Robert Zemeckis, whose Forrest Gump has mind blowing, natural looking CGI far beyond that feather! And what about the scene in Contact where Jenna Malone runs to the medicine cabinet for dad’s pills? WATCH THAT SCENE, and then talk to me….

  • Hans Richardt Kall Schmidt-Nie

    Fine list, except that the replacement of Walkietalkies in ET was a huge story and most people noticed. The CGI was not that seamless. Maybe the FBI seems less triggerhappy in the new version, but they sure like to talk…

  • Ana

    Can’t agree on Jennifer Connelly’s CGI-generated tears in Blood Diamond. If we’re okay with that, then where do we draw the line? Why get actors to convey emotions through their facial expressions if you can just add them in later…?

  • MDS

    so this is basically an article about Fincher

  • Roxtaf

    I am sorry to say, i had noticed every single CGI scene you mention, and some of them are obvious “can only be done with CGI” scenes

  • Iam_Spartacus

    Forgot the adding of “I Hate Niggers” on John McLane’s sign in Die Hard: With A Vengeance. He wouldn’t have gotten away with it out in public. And not to mention the near-miss cars crossing at the intersection during the downtown chase sequence.

  • jack boy

    most of those where pretty obvious especially the james bond,

  • austin idol

    South Amerika doesn’t play FOOTBALL. That is succer er… soccer. Any game that 99% played ends in a 0-0 tie doesn’t deserve anything.