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10 Most Impressive CGI Scenes In '90s Movies, Ranked | ScreenRant

Looking back on movies of the 90s, there are certainly some uses of CGI that are laughable to modern audiences. Computer graphics were still in their early days and the computers used at this time had less power than the average phone nowadays. So it is all the more impressive when there are CGI scenes that still wow viewers decades later.

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These sequences might be noticeably less advanced than the CGI used today, but they remain classic examples of the incredible storytelling that can be achieved through visual effects. From aliens invading Earth to a return to the Titanic, the CGI in these 90s movies holds remarkably well.

10 Traveling Through Space - Contact (1997)

Contact is a sci-fi drama starring Jodie Foster and tells the story of the people of Earth communicating with some form of extraterrestrial life. The movie is a much more grounded alien story than others, but it still needed to bring some impossible images to life.

The movie opens in a fantastic way as the camera pulls back from Earth while the sounds of famous broadcasts from throughout history are heard. The audience is pulled further and further through the cosmos as the sounds fade. At the time, it was the longest continuous CGI shot in movie history.

9 The Aliens Carry Out Their Attack - Independence Day (1996)

While Contact is a more contemplative sci-fi movie, Independence Day gets right to the action of an alien invasion epic. After various massive alien ships enter the Earth's atmosphere, they position themselves all over the world in preparation for an attack.

The movie used a lot of miniatures and practical effects to pull off its massive scenes of destruction. But for the scene in which the aliens blow up the White House, CGI was used to combine the digital and practical effects, mixing old and new methods to pull off the most iconic shot of the movie.

8 Color Comes Into The World - Pleasantville (1998)

The underrated and wonderful comedy movie Pleasantville likely seems like a fairly small-scale movie at first glance. It stars Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon as two teens who are sucked into a wholesome black-and-white television show from the 1950s.

Though there are no large action moments to speak of, it was the first time CGI was used to combine black-and-white and color in the same shot. The entire movie was shot in color only for the color to be digitally removed as necessary in post-production.

7 New York City Of The Future - The Fifth Element (1997)

Movies of the past like Blade Runner have shown futuristic cities with flying cars, but The Fifth Element's take on New York City of the future was a more colorful and vibrant one than audiences had seen before.

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The wild sci-fi movie features a memorable scene of a character scaling the wall of a building in the middle of the city as the flying traffic zooms by. It was a moment that placed audiences in the middle of this place that felt like a wonderful combination of a fantasy world and a world they are familiar with.

6 Forrest Meets The President - Forrest Gump (1994)

Another movie that might not be so obvious with its CGI is Forrest Gump. The Oscar-winning drama follows Tom Hanks's lovable titular character on his journey through huge moments of American history. But there was some impressive work done to recreate these moments.

Along with moments like creating massive crowd sizes in Washington and putting Forrest in the midst of a Vietnam battle, CGI allowed him to meet various presidents. Hanks was magically placed into stock footage of JFK and made to appear that they were having a conversation and even shaking hands.

5 Standing At The Front Of The Ship - Titanic (1997)

James Cameron has often been a ground-breaking director and Titanic was no different. Though the movie is one of the more divisive Best Picture winners in history, it is still a grand Hollywood spectacle with some very impressive filmmaking at work.

As a sign of good CGI, many fans probably won't notice that the most famous scene in the movie is largely created with effects. As the star-crossed lovers embrace at the front of the ship, fans get swept up in the romance of the moment, forgetting that the boat and the ocean are complete CGI creations.

4 Pod Racing - Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)

Though not everyone is a fan, the Star Wars prequels have some iconic moments. And while many fans were disappointed with The Phantom Menace, they were blown away by the epic pod racing scene in which young Anakin Skywalker competes.

Critics often complained about George Lucas relying too heavily on CGI in the new Star Wars movies, but this sequence proves there were some things the old movies just couldn't pull off. It is a fast-paced and thrilling action scene that is a clear highlight of the franchise.

3 Walking Through The Prison Bars - Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

James Cameron approached Terminator 2 as a very different sequel that flipped the original on its head. But with Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic villain now a hero, an even more formidable bad guy was needed.

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The T-1000 was a much more advanced Terminator made of liquid metal which provided a lot of challenges for the filmmakers to bring it to life. The T-1000 morphing his body into various weapons was cool, but there is something about seeing the villain walk through the bars of a prison cell that was mind-blowing to witness.

2 Dodging Bullets - The Matrix (1999)

Looking back at the big sci-fi movies of the 1990s, The Matrix still holds up with its ambition and its visuals. It featured a lot of interesting new filmmaking techniques that became hugely influential for movies that followed.

This is another movie in which the most iconic moment is a showcase of its ground-breaking CGI. As Neo is cornered by a villain, the scene slows down as he dodges the bullets fired at him with the camera revolving around him. It was a stunning moment that coined the phrase "bullet time."

1 The T-Rex Emerges - Jurassic Park (1993)

Bringing dinosaurs back to life is something only a filmmaker like Steven Spielberg could achieve. Jurassic Park features some very impressive animatronic dinosaurs that helped deliver the magic feel of the movie, but it also features some of the most amazing CGI achievements of the 90s.

The iconic scene of the T-Rex breaking out of its paddock used practical creature effects for some moments, but seeing the dinosaur step out in full view is a sight that is still unforgettable and completely CGI.

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