By EW Staff
Updated August 19, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Advertisement

It walks, it talks, it moves like a genuine living creature. But it doesn’t ask for backstage perks or $20 million contracts. No wonder computer-generated figures are becoming some of Hollywood’s most popular stars.

AS SEEN IN
“Scooby-Doo” (2002)

CHARACTER STUDY He was beaten to the punch by such B-listers as Mr. Magoo, Dudley Do-Right, and Josie and the Pussycats. But now, after 30-plus years as a Hanna-Barbera ‘toon, Scoobert ”Scooby” Doo — the canine ghostbuster with a speech impediment — finally makes it into a live-action movie.

FIRST SEEN IN
“Men in Black” (1997)

CHARACTER STUDY These legal aliens (the outer-space kind) are long, tall, cool, caffeinated freaks. Sleeble, Neeble, Geeble, and Mannix, as we’ve come to know them, have cushy (and presumably high-paying) jobs with the Men in Black. They also crash in the coolest bachelor pad in CG land, and display more machismo than Vince McMahon and the entire WWE.

FIRST SEEN IN
“Stuart Little” (1999)

CHARACTER STUDY Adopted ”son” to a family of well-off New Yorkers, E.B. White’s storybook rodent gets animated with some help from the always popular Michael J. Fox.

FIRST SEEN IN
“Jurassic Park” (1993)

CHARACTER STUDY Prior to 1993, 2-D textbook illustrations and the prehistoric renderings of ”Land of the Lost” dinosaurs left many an imagination dissatisfied. But then Industrial Light & Magic’s computer generated T. Rex made prehistory into movie history, by snacking on lawyers, velociraptors, and the like. He later played the lead in the sequel (”The Lost World”) and made a cameo in ”JP3.”

Jurassic Park: Universal Pictures’;

AS SEEN IN
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

CHARACTER STUDY A liquid-metal improvement on the original Terminator, the T-1000 is sent from the future to kill John Connor (Edward Furlong) and battle Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. In his evildoing, this shape-shifter takes on the form of a coffee-sipping rent-a-cop, a linoleum floor, and his favorite disguise: an aviator-spectacled Los Angeles police officer (Robert Patrick). Scary.

AS SEEN IN
“Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)

CHARACTER STUDY Of somewhat human origin (he’s actually a hobbit beneath that oily skin), Gollum has become a detestable, slithering slug. Possessed by the One Ring, he lurks in the shadows, following hobbits Frodo and Samwise on their journey to Mount Doom.

imageCredit = ‘Lord of the Rings: New Line’;

Shrek made our list of best CG characters

AS SEEN IN
?Shrek? (2001)

CHARACTER STUDY A fractured fairy tale hero, this not-so-jolly green giant would be just fine if not for the wall he builds between himself and the outside world. But as happy endings go, this one’s a doozy: He gets the ogrrrl of his dreams and a new best friend — albeit a jackass.

Yoda made our list of best CG characters

AS SEEN IN
?Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones? (2002)

CHARACTER STUDY After thrice appearing as a puppet (”Empire Strikes Back,” ”Return of the Jedi,” and ”The Phantom Menace”), this backwards-speaking midget gets a well-deserved retooling in ”Episode II” as a youthful, high-flying CG Jedi. Freed from the restraints of strings and intrusive hands, Yoda seems even more real — and he continues to benefit from the versatile voice of Frank Oz, who previously spoke for ”The Muppets”’ Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear and ”Sesame Street”’s Grover and Cookie Monster.

imageCredit = ‘Star Wars-Episode 2: Attack of the Clones: © & TM Lucasfilm, Ltd.’;

Jar Jar, E.T., and Draco made our list of worst CG characters

Find out which other computer generated movie stars made our ”best” list

And a Few of Our Least Favorites…

FIRST SEEN IN
?Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace? (1999)

He talks funny (jive talkin’, you might call it); he moves in exaggerated, swinging jerks; and he’s such a stereotype that audiences find themselves blushing with embarrassment every time he shows his Rastafarian face. In some circles (Lucasfilm among them), Jar Jar is considered a success — a CG character blended seamlessly into a human world. But nobody can deny that his clunky pratfalls were annoying enough to launch a ”Star Wars” backlash.

AS SEEN IN
?E.T.: 20th Anniversary Edition? (2002)

Call it the Curse of the Special Edition Inserts. George Lucas’ CG Jabba the Hutt in ”Star Wars: Special Edition” is a step backwards and the added ”spider walk” scene in ”The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen” is laughable — but they were only precursors to this, the most heinous act of meddling. Twenty years after its initial release, a digitally transformed and superimposed E.T. walks like a drunken duck and sways like he’s filled with Jell-O? or maybe he’s bloated with 20 years’ worth of Reese’s Pieces.

AS SEEN IN
?Dragonheart?
(1996)

”Who’s the fool now, Connery?” ”SNL”’s Alex Trebek imitator might ask Scotchman Sean Connery, who voiced this laughable and rather forgettable CG failure. Looking as if he crawled from the reject pile in Jim Henson’s workshop, the fiery-tongued Draco could be a quality entry in Conan O’Brien’s ”If They Mated” segment — think Kermit the Frog and one of the Budweiser lizards. As if talking dragons aren’t inherently funny enough, a dragon talking with James Bond’s heavily accented bravado surely is.

imageCredit = ‘Star Wars-Episode 1: The Phantom Menace: © & TM Lucasfilm, Ltd.’;

Comments