Top 10 Live Action Movies with the Best Special Effects

List the best SFX in any live action film you have seen. Animated movies get their own list for this.

The Top Ten

Avatar Avatar Product Image

The most impressive thing about the effects was the way the CG characters interacted with the live action ones. The sequence between Jake and Neytiri when she sees Jake's human body for the first time is what I mean. Jake touches Neytiri's Face and Neytiri holds Jake's hand, and it looks perfectly seamless. - Extractinator04

Revenge of the Sith Revenge of the Sith Product Image

The opening sequence. Calm flyover of a lone Star Destroyer, two fighter jets appear, then as they look down below the Star Destroyer, WAR! In a long take, you have two fighter jets winding their way through an enormous battlefield. The juxtaposition of sedate view versus intense battlefield is a reminder that Lucas is one great visual director. - Extractinator04

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Product Image

Smaug himself. You can NOT find a better computer generated dragon than the destructive Smaug. The tales are true. - Extractinator04

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl Product Image

Remember that part where Jack Sparrow entered the harbor with his ship sinking enough to get him to step onto the dock? Know how they did that? They had a giant tank of water, put a green screen behind it, stuck a movable dock in it and kept the ship in one place. They then slowly let the water out and moved the dock away while filming, then they reversed the film. End result? Complex shot achieved by use of the simplest effect to do, ever. - Extractinator04

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Product Image

Bootstrap is the only one of Jones' crew who is not motion capture; he is five hours' worth of makeup with CGI in closeups. The makeup is so great I always thought he was a CGI character. - Extractinator04

The Dark Knight Rises The Dark Knight Rises Product Image

The Bat is not CGI. It is an actual sized purpose built vehicle suspended in midair by wires from choppers and cranes with hydraulic controls to make it look like its maneuvering. - Extractinator04

The Terminator The Terminator Product Image

This was a justly cheap movie for its day, with a budget of only 6.5 million dollars; which is why the producers of The Sarah Conner Chronicles managed to convince studio heads that they could make a great Terminator show on a Television series budget. This does, however, highlight Stan Winston's genius, since the T:SCC people are following his creation of the destroyed Terminator makeup. Oh, and let me not forget his astounding puppet T-1000. Thought the T-1000 was CGI? Only ten minutes of screen time the T-1000 takes up for its transformations are CGI. That is not even counting his Predator and Alien Queen designs. Stan Winston was astounding; he created the most iconic creatures and machines outside Star Wars, firing up an entire generation's imagination - and horror. And amazement. - Extractinator04

Terminator 2: Judgment Day Terminator 2: Judgment Day Product Image

The T-1000. Twenty years later, and that liquid iron murder machine remains more impressive than ever, from the moment it heals its first wound all the way to its Shape Shifting Swan Song. Also noted for being the first time a CGI character spoke on film. - Extractinator04

This was dangerous to film, because many of the crashes were actually preformed irl. - Sop

I like the fact that there were more raw effects than cg used.

Doctor Strange (2016) Doctor Strange (2016) Product Image

The effects in this movie are the most impressive I have ever seen.

Yeah, when they walk on the walls and stuff, so impressive! - darthvadern

Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 3 Product Image

Lack of screen time aside, the Symbiote was particularly well done. They turn the symbiote into a scary tentacle. It does not bond with SpiderMan, it latches onto him. The best moment is during the bonding scene. You see the Symbiote's shadow first looking a lot like Venom's head, complete with mandible and tongue. Then it morphs into abominable fingers that grab onto Spider's arm. - Extractinator04

The Contenders

Spider-Man 2 Spider-Man 2 Product Image

Doc's four tentacles. They had a full puppet rig for all of the close-ups, and CGI for action shots. And it. Is. OUTSTANDING. - Extractinator04

Transformers Transformers Product Image

The Transformer bots are Tech Porn. The sheer jaw dropping complexity of the AIs and their million moving parts makes it impossible to believe that a human being actually designed that thing. And then you realize the visual effects designers needed to invent entirely new tech to get it done, a leap that had not been made since Jurassic Park. Iron Hide's cannons alone contain more parts than any of the other automatons. - Extractinator04

Jurassic Park Jurassic Park Product Image
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Star Wars: The Force Awakens Product Image

Simply the brief sequences from the trailer were absolutely stunning. Most impressively is that all of the effects are done practically rather than the CGI approach of the prequel trilogy. Special mention to the Millennium Falcon dog fighting the TIE fighters. Another mention goes to BB-8, who is a controllable practical effect as proven at Celebration Anaheim 2015. Most of all, though, the muffin Rey makes. She puts the mixture into a bowl right in front of the audience's face, and while the audience is distracted watching her in the background the water seamlessly forms into a muffin. - Extractinator04

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Product Image

The appearances of Peter Cushing, who has been dead for wenty years, as Grand Moff Tarkin, and a twenty year old Carrie Fisher as a young Princess Leia, thank you, ridiculously great motion capture. they get quite uncanny, but they are nonetheless stunningly realisticlooking. If you did not know they were CG, you would not be able to tell their parts were not filmed back in 1976. The combat in general are gorgeous, all of which is down to excellent cinematography but most of which is down to ILM's fantastic effects work, as always. The Death Star's strength is given a background test in this movie, leaving behind an enormous explosion with a wave of rubble. In the words of Director Krennic, "It's beautiful." - Extractinator04

Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets Product Image
Avengers: Age of Ultron Avengers: Age of Ultron Product Image
The Dark Knight The Dark Knight Product Image
Inception Inception Product Image
Ant-Man Ant-Man Product Image

The digital reverse aging of Michael Douglas to look like he did in 1989 is extremely impressive - it looks like he came off of the set of Wall Street to film a scene for a movie that would not be finished for 25 years. At the end of the film, the Quantum Realm sequence. The movie's outstanding Yellowjacket suit? It does not exist, it is completely CGI. The sheer number of people who thought it was a real costume speaks a volume of how impressive it is. The depiction of Ant Man's size changing looks crazily cool sometimes. - Extractinator04

Captain America: Civil War Captain America: Civil War Product Image
Transformers: Dark of the Moon Transformers: Dark of the Moon Product Image

The effects in this take it one step further than the others with an all out alien invasion and the appearance of Driller, a machine that is not only bigger than Devastator in size and piece count, but the scene in which it smashes a skyscraper towards the end took ILM's top performance computers an hour to load. Also, it took up the entire ILM render farm to be finished! - Extractinator04

The Golden Compass The Golden Compass Product Image

The CG animals in this look EXACTLY, SPOT ON the same as the real ones in our world. - Extractinator04

Mad Max: Fury Road Mad Max: Fury Road Product Image
Godzilla (2014) Godzilla (2014) Product Image
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