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CGI Mistakes You Totally Missed

Movies possess the ability to transport us to a reality beyond ours. They can show us worlds full of superheroes, aliens, and dinosaurs. And that's all thanks to the magic of CGI. When done well and used correctly, CGI is one of the greatest tools at a filmmaker's disposal. But if animators get lazy, overburdened, or careless for just a second, then CGI can totally ruin everything happening on-screen.

For example, take the abomination that is Cats. Yeah, it's a pretty awful movie, and a lot of that has to do with the cringey, creepy effects. For example, in one instance, the animators forgot to finish working on Judi Dench's cat costume, leaving her with one clearly human hand. It's a pretty glaring error, but let's not just rag on Cats. There are plenty of movies out there with animated mishaps, some of which are far more difficult to spot. So today, we're taking a look at everything from Marvel movies to sci-fi masterpieces as we discover the CGI mistakes that you might've missed.

Avengers: Endgame has a CGI mistake in one of its very best scenes

The Marvel Cinematic Universe gave us 21 movies leading up to the epic conclusion that is Avengers: Endgame. In a movie teeming with an enormous amount of CGI, it's miraculous that so much of the movie pulls you in without any reality questioning. It's also a testament to the acting capabilities of the incredible cast that they're able to portray the necessary emotions while staring up into the giant foam heads of CGI character stand-ins.

Of course, given that these movies have such a large fanbase, it stands to reason that slip-ups would be noticed as fanatics hover with their noses inches from the screen, pen and legal pad at the ready. Some of these mistakes are so miniscule they're hardly worth mentioning at all, such as a rendering issue in one of Thanos' legendary finger snaps where his fingers ever so slightly pop out of his glove. Others, however, could lead us to miss out on several seconds of action as we scratch our heads.

A prime example of this would be in the climactic moment when Mjolnir finds its way into the hands of Captain America. Seconds before this, Thanos is pushing the ax, Stormbreaker, into Thor's chest while the god of thunder resists with all his might. It's at this moment that the legendary hammer zips through the air and clips Thanos' shoulder. A second after the hit, Thanos turns back to face his star-spangled attacker ... and he's no longer holding the ax, but instead, he's wielding his dual-bladed sword. An unfortunate oversight.

In Time features the world's worst car crash

Released in 2011, In Time stars Justin Timberlake and brings to life a dystopian future in which time has been monetized. In this sci-fi flick, all humans have been engineered to stop aging at 25, and they've been given a timer on their forearms that constantly counts down. If this timer reaches zero, you die instantly. So, of course, the primary currency of this world is time itself. Sure, it's an obvious metaphor but an intriguing plot nonetheless. Most of the film takes place in a visibly believable landscape that doesn't need to implement an excessive amount of CGI. There is one scene, however, that used it with terrible results.

The main characters are making a getaway in a stylish sports car when they drive across road spikes. The spikes blow out their tires and send the car careening off the road, tumbling down a rocky hill. Suddenly, the car turns all CGI, and trust us, it's bad. Real bad. Adding insult to injury, you can see that the car is completely empty. No passengers are even in the car as it rolls down the hillside. This blunder is particularly frustrating because the use of CGI doesn't even feel necessary, and it seems like this should've been an easy mistake to fix as they could've just added dummy passengers in editing.

The animation in Attack of the Clones is pretty atrocious

In the early 2000s, CGI was lacking in many departments. Granted, most of the time, we're able to overlook a lot for nostalgia's sake, but some mistakes from the period seem avoidable, as if they merely came down to a lack of oversight. And it's especially worse when you inject a copious amount of bad animation into a scene that's supposed to be slow and sentimental. It really kills the mood.

For example, take Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones, particularly that cheesy scene where Anakin and Padme are having a meal together. The doomed Jedi sends a piece of fruit floating across the table using his powers. But moments before delivering a piece of the fruit to his lover via the Force, the CGI use is apparent as he cuts into the fruit.

Once the piece of floating fruit reaches Padme, she plucks it out of the air using her fork and takes a bite. However, the bite doesn't even register on the fruit until after she pulls back from the fork. The scene itself feels unnecessary and comes across more as George Lucas trying to show off. Emphasis on "trying."

This Shazam! action scene has a funny CGI mistake

However you felt about the adaptation of Shazam!, it's hard to deny that a 14-year-old's first stop with his new superpowers would be to stock up on Cheetos and Red Bull. The story follows Billy Batson as he discovers how to be a hero after a mysterious wizard endows him with godly powers. Most of the action sequences in this superhero flick maintain a fun visual aesthetic that doesn't have us rolling our eyes too much. There is, however, one glaringly obvious slip-up in one of its most iconic fight scenes.

In his first battle with the villainous Dr. Sivana, Billy struggles to fully utilize his powers, stumbling through a mall as he tries to master the power of flight. There's a particular sequence where our hero is jogging through the air by an escalator as panicked bystanders scramble to escape the mayhem. But if you pay attention to the background, you can see several crew members (complete with set passes around their necks) along the right side of the frame. They stand by almost statuesque, quietly observing as everyone around them sprints across the mall.

Director David F. Sandberg stated that it was a mistake they caught later on in post-production. They tried correcting it by adding CGI shopping bags to make it seem as though the crew members were shoppers in the mall. It was a valiant effort, but a quick rewatch shows the mistake is still apparent.

In Watchmen, check out Nite Owl's goggles

Watchmen — 2009's dark, gritty adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel — is still the source of much debate among superhero fans. Some laud it for its accuracy to the source material, but others dismiss it as a hackneyed attempt by director Zack Snyder to once again capture lightning in a bottle after the success of 300. The movie takes place in an alternate reality filled with superheroes who tend to be a product of their environment. Some of them are overly self-righteous, others are a bit kooky, but none are as powerful as the glowing super-being known as Dr. Manhattan, played by Billy Crudup.

Most of Crudup's scenes as Dr. Manhattan were with the actor in a full motion-capture body suit, complete with 2,500 glowing blue bulbs. The CGI of the character itself was quite magnificent, even somehow escaping the dead eyes that can plague some animation, which was quite a feat given that the hero's eyes are just glowing white eyeballs. But even the most thorough animator can still slip up from time to time. In one of the final scenes, as the villainous Ozymandias is confronted by other heroes, there are several moments when you can see Dr. Manhattan in the reflection of Nite Owl's goggles. Only it isn't the CGI rendered Dr. Manhattan — it's Billy Crudup in his light-up onesie. The mistake may be small, but it's still one that will consume you the next time you journey into the dystopian world of flawed superheroes.

That's not a skydiving Dwayne Johnson in Rampage

Rampage is an action-packed film starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and while it might not have smashed box office records, it nevertheless speaks volumes that $428 million is a light showing for our favorite WWE alumni. Based on the Midway game of the same name, Rampage follows primatologist Davis Okoye (Johnson) as he attempts to find a cure for a pathogen that has mutated several animals into gigantic monsters. One of the infected animals is a rare albino gorilla that he personally rescued from poachers and can communicate with through sign language. Sounds all in good fun ... but what if they need to go skydiving? 

At one point in the movie, Okoye has to parachute from a crashing plane, and in the chaos, he's able to rescue another passenger (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). But as our hero is drifting to the ground, it's painfully clear that a stuntman filled in for Johnson that day. A quick mid-air conversation between the two characters clearly shows that CGI was used to plaster the actors' faces onto stunt doubles. And when Okoye pulls his parachute, it becomes even more obvious, this time causing audiences to squint questioningly at the screen. The Rock's features distort, causing the left side of his head to cave in and his cheek bone to poke out awkwardly.

It doesn't help that while Johnson floats back to the ground, the camera fixes on him as he emotes heartfelt sentiment at the plane crash below. While the movie is asking for sympathy, you can't help but stare at his right eye and how off kilter it is, warping the star's rugged features.

The Matrix has a CGI mistake in one of its most iconic moments

The Matrix opened our eyes to all the possibilities that computers hold for our future. Over 20 years later, most of the movie holds up well, and it's still fun to tumble down the rabbit hole with Morpheus. However, while Neo might be a messiah, the movie itself isn't flawless. In fact, there's one scene in particular that contains a CGI blunder ... and it's a moment that Matrix fans have seen many, many times.

In the climatic moments of The Matrix, Neo and Trinity are on the rooftop of a skyscraper, en route to rescue their beloved leader, Morpheus. And that's when one of the sinister Agents takes over the body of a helicopter pilot and confronts our hero. Neo unloads the rest of his bullets at the Agent, who dodges every single one. Neo chucks his now empty guns aside as the Agent raises his own pistol and takes aim. No doubt you know what happens next, but what you probably haven't noticed is everything that's disappeared as the camera pans around a bullet-dodging Neo

The bodies of the SWAT officers they had just fought all vanish, along with Trinity herself and the empty guns Neo chucked aside. Given how long ago in CGI's history The Matrix was released and how iconic the movie is in pop culture, it's easy to forgive this mistake. But it doesn't make it any less easy to ignore as the camera pans around 360 degrees of empty space.

The claws in X-Men Origins: Wolverine are pretty awful

It's hard not to love everyone's favorite mutant, Wolverine. He was brought to life by Hugh Jackman, who played the superhero for 17 years before wrapping up his final appearance as the gruff, regenerating hero in the wonderful Logan. But while he appeared in several X-Men movies, Jackman's first dive into Wolverine's background came in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And fortunately for the movie, we're willing to watch it thanks to our love for Jackman ... because the filmmaking itself? It's pretty rough, especially those sub-par CGI effects.

A lot of the action scenes are still fun, and we even get a glimpse of a different version of Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool. But when you slow a scene down and try to get all contemplative, it can be hard to disguise a lack of CGI quality. Early on in the movie, Logan is in the bathroom examining his claws, and it's painfully obvious these blades are animated as they fail to twist and turn with the movements of Jackman's fists. Given that they aren't sparking against concrete or clashing with Deadpool's ridiculous sword-claws, it's hard not to stare.

Bad Boys for Life has a CGI mistake in a scene you wouldn't expect

Fans of the first two Bad Boys movies anxiously awaited a third installment of the beloved franchise, and in 2020, their patience was rewarded. It was refreshing to see Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return to the screen as the wise-cracking Miami detectives. Of course, in a series as action-heavy as Bad Boys, there's always going to be some computer animation. But while you can probably guess which action sequences might've had to implement CGI, some blunders actually appear in mundane scenarios.

In one scene, Martin Lawrence is glancing over a lady's shoulder to watch what's on her electronic device. The camera then shifts its focus from the device to a baby in the background. While the maneuver makes our eyes want to focus on the adorable infant, if you keep your eyes fixed to the iPad, you can watch a ridiculous CGI mishap. It's obvious that computer generated imagery has been laid over the device in post-production, and the effect has been done rather lazily. As the camera shifts, the CGI-generated screen fails to follow along, resulting in a noticeable misalignment in the computer screen that the characters are watching.

Alien Warfare is a bad movie with a glaring mistake

At one point or another, you might've seen Alien Warfare in the "trending now" section during one of your endless Netflix searches. You might've been fooled into thinking this was a little-known extension of the Alien universe and excitedly rolled the dice. Let's squash all that right now and say that while joy can be found in both good and bad movies, sometimes it's best to trust your peers and not waste your valuable time. After all, this film boasts a whopping two percent on Rotten Tomatoes and countless one-star reviews on IMDB, and it's well deserved. And it also contains a CGI mistake so brash that its inclusion here felt necessary.

In one scene in particular, a Navy SEAL squad is discussing their plans in a laboratory setting. The scene cuts to a woman in a lab coat, and behind her is a computer monitor that appears to be turned off. A second before the frame cuts to another shot, the computer monitor flashes to green. Another look shows that the monitor had been taped with a green screen for editing in post-production, and the CGI hadn't been used long enough to sustain the whole shot. All it would've taken was another second of the same editing that had already been used. It goes to show how little mistakes can pile up to result in a truly terrible movie.

Watch for the disappearing clutter in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The use of computer generated imagery in the Harry Potter series is unquestionable. After all, this is a movie about wizards, and you need some animation to make all their spells come to life. However, with all that CG magic happening on-screen, there are bound to be a few mistakes here and there. For example, you may have giggled at the clumsy computer-generated bathroom troll in The Sorcerer's Stone, but that fiasco was simply a product of its time. Another huge CGI error in the series is more of an oversight that probably slipped by without you even noticing.

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, we met and fell in love with Gary Oldman's misunderstood Sirius Black. And after the film has exhausted all our emotional capabilities, we wind down with Harry and Sirius for a heartfelt moment. Black then hops onto a hippogriff and flies off into the night. In the shot where the hippogriff takes off, the ground underneath him is completely clear of any clutter — so clear, in fact, that it shines with the reflection of the moon. A quick moment later, Harry and Hermione run across the same ground, and it's cluttered with leaves and debris. Obvious as it may be, it's a mistake we can be willing to overlook because these movies are just so magical.