Life of Pi (2012)— Few CGI effects are harder than hair: all those infinitesimal shafts, the light dappling off every one. Which makes it more impressive that Ang Lee set out to make his seaward epic with a digital tiger – a furry costar created entirely from pixels. (Photo: Release)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)— For Terminator 2, CGI and special models were combined. Without a doubt, CGI had a huge impact on the creation of the Terminator! Turning an arm into a metal spike was not an easy feat in the early 90’s. (Photo: Release)
Jurassic Park (1993)— Jurassic Park is the first movie that ever-used computer-generated imagery (CGI). But it was not all about digital effects; the life-like models had a huge impact on the kids who aspired to become geologists as a result! (Photo: Release)
Forrest Gump (1994)— This film’s best effect is literally invisible: Costar Gary Sinise wore blue-screen fabric around his legs to play double-amputee Lieutenant Dan. (Photo: Release)
Babe (1995)— Real live animals did the “acting” in this farmhouse fairy tale by George Miller and Chris Noonan. In postproduction, special effects engineers applied some innovative computer modeling over their jawlines, creating human-like talking “mouths” over the original animals. (Photo: Release)
Twister (1996)— We can all agree that those digital tornadoes look cool. Heck, the plot of Twister is mostly just people admiring those tornadoes. But can we talk about that flying cow? (Photo: Release)
Titanic (1997)— For his sinking-ship masterpiece, James Cameron used every trick in the book. The climactic moment when Titanic cracks in two required a massive tilting set, a hundred stunts, and CGI. (Photo: Release)
The Matrix (1999)— The famous slow-motion bullets and full camera rotation was handled by a Hong Kong movie and video game company – they even made their own camera just for the movie! It was rare to have such equipment in the late 90’s, so this was a big deal in and of itself. (Photo: Release)
Hollow Man (2000)— Here is an example of what Green-Box technology can do. Kevin Bacon had to wear special clothes, which ended up being a huge chunk of the production costs. (Photo: Release)
The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003)— Andy Serkis became the first superstar of the performance capture era playing Gollum, the poignantly insane ring addict. Gollum was the killer app for CGI: proof that computer effects could enhance humanity, not just replace it. (Photo: Release)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)— Director Gore Verbinski translated that sensibility perfectly with Black Pearl’s living skeletons: anatomically detailed, ghoulishly organic, yet animated with a playful touch. (Photo: Release)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)—Doug Jones played two characters in Guillermo Del Toro’s horrific bedtime story: the beckoning freaky-but-friendly Faun and the faceless all-devouring Pale Man. Their elegant prosthetic designs made them creepy, yet hauntingly beautiful. (Photo: Release)
Transformers (2007)— Industrial Light & Magic special effects company is the force behind the details in Transformers. With the time it took to make this film, we’re not surprised that this film won 10 awards. (Photo: Release)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)—Only David Fincher would take Brad Pitt – generally considered one of the finer specimens of human beauty – and transform him into a wrinkly, decrepit old toddler. (Photo: Release)
Avatar (2009)— Avatar used all the latest CGI developments. It leaves the audience in awe and wonder; which of the actors are real, which one is a model, or is it all digital? I am not sure if even James Cameron himself could answer these questions. (Photo: Release)
Inception (2010)— Sure the movie has a lot CGI, but what about that famous hallway scene? Christopher Nolan didn’t want to rely heavily on CGI, so this scene was created using a giant centrifuge and attached cameras to the set itself so they could track the actors’ movements. (Photo: Release)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)— Well, I don’t know how many frog legs or how much animal blood you need for a magic potion, but I do know that CGI is the magic ingredient that created the shiny explosions and sparkles in this magical experience. And how about that duel scene with Harry and Voldemort? Sorcery. (Photo: Release)
Gravity (2013)— There’s not much gravity in Gravity, and Sandra Bullock spent whole days inside a high-tech rig to create the illusion of weightlessness. Might’ve been easier just to go to space. (Photo: Release)
Interstellar (2014)— When you’re creating a wormhole, it helps to have a theoretical physicist on your team. Scientist Kip Thorne helped the effects team explore Interstellar’s cosmic ideas. (Photo: Release)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)— The 2015 Oscar-winning “Mad Max” sequel from the franchise’s visionary director, George Miller, used a lot of practical effects and relatively minimal CGI to create its post-apocalyptic action. (Photo: Release)
The Jungle Book (2016)— The film was shot almost entirely in a warehouse in Los Angeles. The beautiful jungle and all of its animals were created with CGI after shooting ended. However, everything looks so convincing that many are hailing it as having some of the best visual effects of all time. (Photo: Release)
Today marks the 5th anniversary of the premiere of the 3D work of art, Life Of Pi.
The 2012 film about an Indian boy lost in the ocean with a tiger as his only companion, automatically became a cinematographic for its revolutionary technology used to achieve the beautiful special effects that crowned it as the winner of the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
From the shipwreck scene to the magical island filled with meerkats, and of course, the impressive Bengal tiger made entirely out of pixels, Life of Pi is one of the most influential films in the history of cinema.
Celebrating the anniversary of the film, here’s a list of the 21 most influential special effects movies in the history of cinema.