Bam. Pow. Whack. Kaboom. Look at these words and look at them closely. These are onomatopoeiae. What is an onomatopoeia? Besides being a hard word to both read and write, it’s when a sound is associated with a word. Long before the days of the moving pictures, onomatopoeias were a special effect of the sort. They helped add substance and excitement to a given scenario. However, this is 2017. We have the technology to create something bigger. Today’s special effects are nothing short of jaw-dropping. There is no shortage of Hollywood movies utilizing these effects to the best of their ability. Hence, it’s quite hard to put together a list like this. Fear not though readers, for we have done just that. Buckle in, strap down and get ready. Your life will never be the same again.
You know James Cameron. Even if you don’t know James Cameron, you know James Cameron. Perhaps Hollywood movies like Terminator or Titanic ring a bell. The point is, James Cameron makes some of the best Hollywood movies around and along with this, come special effects. Cameron’s hit 2009 film Avatar is proof of this. The big budget flick featured a whole world of just digital characters. It truly is a lesson for special effects students for years to come.
2. JURRASIC PARK
Sure, the latest Jurassic Park film with Chris Pratt was a fun ride but it’s nothing compared to the original 1993 version. Hollywood movies were different in 1993. Special effects have never seen the likes of the practical effects and advanced CGI that Steven Spielberg used in Jurassic Park. The following movies in the series, however, failed to capture that original magic.
3. THE MATRIX
There is no spoon but there certainly are a lot of special effects in the Matrix movies. Just like Jurassic Park, The Matrix set the bar high for Hollywood and advanced special effects. Ever since then, Bullet Time, and slow-mo tracking shots are everywhere and we have The Matrix to thank for that one.
When it comes to Hollywood movies, director Christopher Nolan isn’t known for his special effects. Nolan prefers old school effects on old school film. However, he deviated from the norm with Inception and boy did it turn out alright. Legend has it, Reddit.com is still discussing the film to this day.
5. TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY
What was the best film of 1991? No matter what you answer is, it should be Terminator 2: Judgement Day. In 1991, Hollywood movies were just beginning to comprehend the concept of special effects. Then came James Cameron breaking the door wide open and changing the industry forever.
Ironically, Gravity doesn’t have all that much gravity involved. Instead, moviegoers are treated to hours of Sandra Bullock floating helplessly in space. It’s Hollywood movies like this that remind us just how important special effects are.
Yeah, it’s our old pal James Cameron again. Cameron is never satisfied with his amazing Hollywood movies so he wanted to change the world again with Titanic. While young Leonardo DiCaprio stole the show, the killer special effects really brought that sinking ship to life. The breasts were real though. You know what scene I’m talking about.
What do you get when you combine Matthew MCconahey, wormholes and special effects? You get one of the best movies of the decade. Fact.
9. LIFE OF PI
Ask any professional about special effects and they will say that hair is some of the hardest stuff to create. That’s what makes Life of Pi so amazing. Just check out that rad CGI tiger. Not many Hollywood movies come close to effects like that. On second thought, no movie does at all.
10. THE LORD OF THE RINGS
You were all waiting for this one. If you were lucky enough to be an impressionable teen during the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, then you remember just how amazing those special effects were to your innocent eyes. With these effects (and the natural New Zealand landscape, of course) Peter Jackson was able to bring J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece to the big screen. Hence, making three of the best Hollywood movies of all time.
11. EX MACHINA
Ex Machina won awards for their special effects and it was well deserved. If you focus on the robot Ava in the film, you’ll see just why no other Hollywood movies that year came close to the excellence of this film.
12. ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Ok, so Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland will not go down in the history books with other Hollywood movies. Actually, that’s a lie. It will, but not in any positive way, shape or even form. Perhaps the only redeeming quality of this film is the amazing special effects. They do an amazing job of capturing Alice’s psychedelic adventure down the rabbit hole. Something Johnny Depp is surely familiar with. Too bad the movie fell sort of flat.
13. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
A wise man once said that of all the special effects tricks, hair is one of the hardest. Well, that wise man is still right and there are other Hollywood movies that agree. Take Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for example. It has fur, hair, fuzz and black wrinkly skin, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s all thanks to the beauty of special effects. Where will Hollywood movies go next? Real apes?
14. DISTRICT 9
2009 was a weird year for Hollywood movies. In fact, 2009 was a weird year for special effects, too. Fortunately, Hollywood movies and special effects came together in perfect harmony for the Hollywood science fiction thriller film District 9. If you like aliens, South Africa and Peter Jackson, you just might want to give this one a chance.
15. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
When Disney decided to turn a ride into a movie, everyone thought they were crazy. After all, they made Hollywood movies out of them before and it didn’t exactly work out. However, special effects were straight up proper in 2003. Furthermore, Johnny Depp’s supreme acting ability and potential alcoholism complimented the special effects quite nicely. Thanks to the CGI in this movie, skeletons were turned into something of Hollywood legend.
What is Michael Bay famous for? Most people will say special effects and that is partially true. Give the guy some credit, though, he can make a darn good action movie. Take Transformers, for example. Years ago, Hollywood movies featuring giant robots fighting each other would look absolutely horrible. Just watch any old Godzilla movie for reference. Thankfully for Michael Bay, amazing special effects turned this movie into a multi-million dollar franchise. Be wary, though, the sequels are certainly not the best Hollywood movies out there.
17. HARRY POTTER
As you can guess, a movie featuring a lot of magic needs to have top notch effects, too. After all, magic isn’t real. Right? Magic isn’t real, is it? Well, enough on that. The point is Harry Potter was an amazing book and needed a certain touch of movie magic to make it to the big screen. Thankfully, Hollywood movies had the technology upon the release of the first Harry Potter and never looked back. From there, the series showcased some of the best special effects around. Hence, making author J.K. Rowling a proud mother (and millionaire author). That just goes to show how important effects can be in Hollywood. It shouldn´t take place of the plot, though. Are you listening to Michael Bay? Of course, you’re not listening. Just go back to your explosions there, Michael.