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3 Movie Moments You Had No Idea Were CGI


CGI, more or less, is a good thing. Although it is nice for a director to use an old-fashioned trick to get the cool images he wants in his film, for the most past, CGI is a good way to show an awesome Sci-Fi universe or a cool explosion. Take the Star Wars films for example. The moment George Lucas had the technology available, he went back and re-edited his old trilogy to make it seem more impressive.

However, most of the time we know when CGI is CGI, right? For example, the Hulk was definitely CGI, while Nick Fury was just Samuel L Jackson with an eye-patch. However, there are moments in movies, when you discover a scene you thought was pretty standard and then later discover that it was actually done with CGI. This can mind-blowing when you stumble across these facts. Sometimes, they just looked so real. Sometimes you can’t see why the director would ever need to use CGI.


The movie ‘Blood Diamond’ ends with an emotional phone call. Leonardo Di Caprio lies in the middle of the South African jungle, the bad guys closing in. He has a bullet in his chest and death is a sure thing. He just has time to call the girl he has a thing for, Jennifer Connelly, and they share a tear-breaking conversation, as Di Caprio’s life slips away. (On a side-note, has Di Caprio ever survived a movie?) Director Edward Zwick decided to add that extra layer of emotion to scene and add a CGI tear, rolling down Connelly’s cheek.

Why? Surely a tear is one of nature’s cheapest tricks at giving off an emotional scene. What was the problem? Couldn’t Jennifer Connelly get herself to cry? Was there not an onion at hand on set? I am guessing that the tear was decided upon during the editing process, but it seems like such a tiny thing, it is quite laughable to think that Zwick went to all that trouble to add it.


Fight Club is a mind-blowing movie for many reasons, but if you were fifteen when you watched it, the only thing you cared about was the fact that you got to see Helena Bonham Carter’s nipples for a millisecond. During her sex scene with Brad Pitt, we are treated to a quick montage and the sharp-eyed viewers will notice that one of those shots features Helena completely naked in the throes of passion. It is quite strange, as Helena Bonham Carter seems like the kind of high-brow actress that wouldn’t do that kind of shot.

Truth is she didn’t, although she did give David Fincher permission to show a CGI-animated double of her naked. It is such a brief shot and it is so well done that no one noticed that the entire shot is animation. Helena Bonham Carter tricked everyone who has seen that movie into thinking that they saw her naked. But you didn’t. That shit is just for Tim Burton (and probably Johnny Depp).


Early on in the third Die Hard movie, John McClane is forced by Simon Gruber to walk through Harlem, wearing nothing but a sandwich board. The sandwich board reads ‘I Hate N*****s’. It is one of the most memorable scenes, as it is both funny and ‘oh no, they didn’t’. But the truth is: no, they didn’t.

Well, I can’t use the N Word, can I?

When filming that scene, the director got Bruce Willis to wear a blank sandwich board and act out the scene, where he is saved by Zeus. The offensive writing was digitally added in the editing room. Like the tear in ‘Blood Diamond’, this seems like such a tiny thing, no one thought to question if the writing was real or not. At least here, it kind of makes sense. Could you imagine if a cheeky shot was leaked out of Bruce Willis wearing a racist sandwich board, in the nude, before the film was released and therefore out of context? It seems like the kind of cheap trick the media would play. However, McClane is far too smart for that. (Cue Die Hard 5.)