To follow up more iconic (and, admittedly, traditional) moments in film animation, it’s important to provide a counterpoint. One thing modern animation techniques have proved is that technology does not necessarily mean better graphics. Sure, the below five examples of terrible animation aren’t exactly Money for Nothing, but they’re truly bad.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003): The “burly brawl”
The whole reason the Matrix excelled in its first outing was because the cinematography was truly incredible. Then it decided to up the stakes as Agent Smith’s presence became more of a threat, and you get fight scenes like this. As soon as you see Neo ascend above his countless enemies, it takes on an Aardman Animations-esque sheen.
While it was hard-pushed to beat the original, The Matrix Reloaded was filled with such scenes. Luckily, the Wachowskis released the third, more redeeming end to the trilogy just six months later.
The Mummy Returns (2001): The Scorpion King
Just look at it. It’s rumoured that the game version of the film had better graphics for The Rock, though the more you watch it, the more you think they may as well have done his role in 16-bit animation. Absolutely woeful.
Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008): Shia LaBeouf sadly doesn’t plunge to his death
Apologies in advance for the fan-made, potato-quality video, but you’re not missing much. If the fact they were making a fourth Indiana Jones movie wasn’t bad enough for most people, the inclusion of the perennially-unlikeable Shia LaBeouf certainly ensured it was disliked. His “best” moment comes when he takes inspiration from the monkeys, swinging from vine to vine to catch a moving vehicle. None of it adds up. None of it.
In Time (2011): Jaguar E-Type car crash
Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried starred in a modern reboot of Logan’s Run, where people know when they’re going to die via sub-dermal colourful implants. Exciting! There’s a car crash, too, which is most probably the worst use of modern CGI of all time.
As it executes its roof flip, the director clearly remembers that it’s a soft-top with the roof down. To get around this promise of almost certain death for the young pair, the car instead front-flips down the hill, at one point leaving the ground completely. The vehicle defies the laws of gravity, just as the film defied predictions that it wouldn’t make its money back (in fact, it more than quadrupled its investment).
Escape from LA (1996): Kurt Russell goes surfing
In one of the most 1990s films ever made, Kurt Russell reprises his role as Snake Plissken 16 years after the release of the great original, Escape from New York. It tanked, and one scene in particular underlines why the film really didn’t live up to the hype: where Plissken and his chum inexplicably surf along a street.
The highlight is at 1:19, when the pair transition from kneeling on the floor with surfboards to riding the waves to chase “Map to the Stars Eddie” (Steve Buscemi); his obviously green-screened driving ought to have its own separate entry on this list.