5. Scorpion King
The definition of unintended humor can be found in The Mummy Returns’ CGI rendition of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the Scorpion King at the film’s close. I know they were just setting up for a Scorpion King spin-off film, but was it really cheaper to do a digital copy of The Rock’s face than to have him come in for a day? People don’t expect much going to a summer action flick like The Mummy, but we would say The Rock’s CGI rendering is the worst celebrity CGI makeover.
It’s hard to believe jokers like Barnyard and Shark Bait came out the same year as beautifully animated films like Cars and Happy Feet. And we know what you’re saying too: Barnyard is a children’s film made by Nickelodeon and it can’t be put at the same standard. But wait, Otis is a male cow with an udder? And the film is full of criminal acts, brutal violence, and not-so-subtle jokes that wink at parents? Even still, the amateur CGI is what really wants to make us hide this thing from future generations.
3. The Max Reebo Band
(Return of the Jedi Special Edition) – 1998
Sure, offensive Star Wars revisions deserve a list of their own. And maybe some Star Wars fans were more enraged by the digital addition of Hayden Christenson at the end of the trilogy or the terrible rendering of Jabba the Hut in A New Hope. To us though, nothing is worse than The Max Reebo Band at the beginning of the Return of the Jedi Special Edition. While the original scene was a bit unnecessary to begin with, Lucas’ new music, extended length, and CGI singers elevate the scene to the point of almost making the entire first half of the film unwatchable. Sorry George, but these characters belong in some kind of terrible Monsters Inc. ripoff, not Star Wars.
(Lost in Space) – 1998
In this big budget feature film remake of the classic TV series, filmmakers hired the famous Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to design Blarp (or Blawp), the alien monkey-like character. We know the Creature Shop’s style worked magic for productions like the Muppets and Labyrinth, but I think it’s safe to say they should stick to animatronics and puppets. As far as straight up laughable design and texturing in a big-budget film goes, Blarp definitely takes the cake. To put it in perspective, Lost in Space came out five years after Jurassic Park. Wait, what?
1. Jar Jar Binks
(Stars Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace) – 1999
Maybe history’s been too hard on this innocent Lucas creation. After all, with all the significant reasons to dislike Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, why dwell on on this poor Gungan clutz? After going back and rewatching some of Jar Jar’s scenes (my goodness there are a lot of them), the verdict is in: Jar Jar Binks is, without a doubt, the worst CGI character of all time. Blarp might be more poorly animated, but Binks is utterly offensive in almost every respect (especially in the context of the beloved Star Wars saga!). But worst of all, Jar Jar launched us into an entire new era of the George Lucas love affair with computer-generated characters and endless digital revisions.
Next week, we’ll take a look at some of the best CGI film characters. But as we are considering our list for next week, what are your favorite CGI characters to hate?