Top 10 VFX Films of the 2000s
Starting in the 1990s, the Star Wars prequels harkened in the age of digital cinema. George Lucas and ILM elevated the hybrid film with groundbreaking character animation and virtual environments even more with Episode II and III. Just watching the improvements from Clones to Sith shows the leaps and bounds the industry made in the 2000s. From Yoda to General Grievous to R2-D2, the animators created believable digital creations alongside human actors. And the opening space battle in Sith still stands as one of cinema's most thrilling start.
The Harry Potter series is one of the defining series of the 2000s. Each entry broke ground in different areas. The Chamber of Secrets brought Dobby to the world, a big step forward in CG character acting. The Prisoner of Azkaban made Dementors a frightening sight. The Goblet of Fire changed the way fire effects were done and also breathed life into cinema's best dragons. Moreover, the series single-handedly transformed the London VFX industry with state-of-the-art character animation and virtual environments.
King Kong made us cry. Peter Jackson and Weta took performance capture to the next level with Kong while expanding their virtual sandbox. Combining performance capture and character animation, the giant ape became a character we cared about. The film set the groundwork for other films to dare to put a digital creation at the center of their emotional story. And the vfx artists put Kong in beautifully constructed environments on Skull Island and 1930s New York City.
The Pirates of the Caribbean series brought new landmark cinematic wonders with each installment. In The Curse of the Black Pearl, the moonlight revealed skeleton pirate crewmembers. ILM had its own performance capture wonder in Davy Jones, right in the middle of the action with a small footprint, thanks to Imocap, in The Dead Man's Chest. And don't forget The Maelstrom, which raised water simulation beyond Poseidon, in At World's End.