Where would cinema be without visual effects? Less thrilling, less awe-inspiring, and less creepily harvesting the souls of the dead for some dumb war movie no one wants. But as much as we love a good spectacle, as we've mentioned before, some of these technically impressive movies look hilarious once you take a peek behind the digital curtain. Like how ...

Game Of Thrones -- Jon Snow Gets His Testicles Stuck In A Fake Dragon

A lot of fans couldn't have been more disappointed in the final season of Game Of Thrones if it had ended with footage of George R.R. Martin staring blankly at an empty Microsoft Word document while a sad Simon and Garfunkel tune played. But even the naysayers have to admit a whole lot of work went into the show, especially its visual effects -- from the army of White Walkers to whatever CGI they used to make the actors not look super bummed out all the time. But let's talk for a minute about the dragons -- or as they appeared on set, a big blue head on a stick propped up by a random grip.

HBO
We kind of like the show better now that we can imagine the dragons as cranky, grizzled teamsters.

This season featured several scenes wherein characters rode those majestic beasts, like The Neverending Story if someone used Falcor to inexplicably commit spontaneous mass murder. To accomplish this illusion, the actors simply sat atop what look like elaborate mechanical bulls in front of a green screen. If you think that doesn't sound too taxing, we refer you to Kit Harington's anecdote about how his "right ball" got "trapped" in said device, and he "didn't have time to say stop."

and my right ball got trapped.
HBO
and I didn't have time to say stop,
HBO
On this buck. swinging me around by my testicles. Literally.
HBO
Meaning that even as styrofoam placeholders, dragons can do the impossible and get Harington to emote.

And remember pint-sized badass Lyanna Mormont's dramatic death scene, in which she takes out a giant? First they filmed the actress stabbing a bit of green foam.

HBO

Then they had the actor playing the giant hold what looks like a hastily made voodoo doll of Kermit the Frog.

HBO
HBO
You can tell this is before any effects were added because it's light enough to see what's going on.

And in the scene where the Lannister army gets set on fire, they understandably didn't want anyone's face melting off. So they wore full rubber suits, including fake faces.

COC
HBO
HBO
If you pause at just the right time, it looks like King's Landing is being defended by an army of Dick Tracy villains.

Related: 8 Movies That Looked Hilarious (Before The CGI Was Added)

Stranger Things 3-- The Mind-Flayer Was Either A Dude Or A Beach Ball

The third season of Stranger Things found the gang battling Soviet agents who were conducting elaborate experiments in an underground bunker that for some reason necessitated building a giant shopping mall on top of it. Maybe it was to cover the massive amounts of electricity they were using. Or maybe those commies just love Orange Julius. Regardless, the show gave us what we all ultimately wanted: a bunch of creepy monsters terrorizing children. Like that scene where the revolting "Mind-Flayer" stalks the hallways of Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Scary, right? But behind the scenes, it looked more like erotic Spaceballs cosplay.

Netflix
Netflix
"Annnddd JAZZ HANDS!"

Why even film a real actor? Well, it seems as though they needed someone to knock over furniture like a disgruntled IKEA patron

Netflix
Yup, no way to get that effect with a piece of string. Better to employ a sci-fi mime.

When they weren't dressing some poor grip up like an off-brand Mysterio, sometimes the Mind-Flayer was just a beach ball. Which, to be fair, is in keeping with the season's summer setting.

wuhanb
Netflix
urt
Netflix
Well consider our minds officially flayed.

Of course, by the end of the season, we realized that the real monster was puberty.

Related: 8 Serious Hollywood Scenes That Look Hilarious With No CGI

Aquaman-- Faking The Underwater Scenes Involved Giant Cranes And CG Hair

In an idea so potentially ridiculous that it was a running gag on America's bro-iest 2000s TV show, someone decided to actually make an Aquaman movie. And it was actually pretty good! A lot of the movie understandably took place underwater. And since CGI is apparently cheaper than whatever dermatological work would be required to de-wrinkle Jason Momoa's waterlogged skin, they faked the ocean scenes with a blue screen. This also meant that everyone's floating hair had to be computer-generated.

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures

And to make it look like they were swimming, the actors were hoisted up by large cranes and dangled in front of one another like puppets.

Warner Bros. Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
At least Kit Harington doesn't have to feel lonely about his junk being crushed by mocap equipment anymore.

And anyone claiming that superhero movies aren't cinema clearly hasn't seen this GIF of Willem Dafoe pretending to ride a giant shark.

Warner Bros. Pictures
We defy you to argue that this isn't the height of the art form.

Related: 6 Famous Movie Moments That Look Hilarious With CGI Removed

The Climax Of Avengers: Endgame Was Less Emotional In Person

We all know by now that the most exhilarating parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are accomplished by simply having esteemed actors dress up in futuristic pajamas, then filming them as they hop around a soundstage like sugared-up preschoolers. Well, the recent money-gobbling behemoth Avengers: Endgame was no exception. And from the look of the behind-the-scenes footage, even some of the most emotionally charged scenes look like a community theater production of The Road Warrior without CGI. Like the scene in which Peter Parker is snapped back into existence and reunites with Tony Stark. It's touching in the movie:

Walt Disney Pictures

On set, things looked a tad goofier:

Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
"Mr. Stark, I feel ... kinda stupid."

And in case you didn't see it because your eyes were full of tears (or you were in the bathroom trying to rinse your eyes because they were stinging after you tried wiping the tears away with your salty popcorn hands), there's when Tony equips the Infinity Stones and sacrifices his own life for the greater good.

Walt Disney Pictures

In real life, he didn't even have a prop gauntlet. He just stared at his bare hand, as if Thanos slipped him a special brownie in between scenes.

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Walt Disney Pictures
Sadly, no one gave him a giant novelty "We're #1!" foam finger as a stand-in. After 40 movies, Marvel has clearly forgotten how to have fun.

And speaking of the MCU ...

Related: 5 More Movies That Look Deranged With The Special FX Removed

Captain Marvel-- Wow, That Cat Wasn't There A Lot of the Time

Captain Marvel obviously featured a ton of visual effects -- giant alien spaceships, de-aging, and the hard work put in by whatever branch of Industrial Light & Magic maintains Jude Law's hairline. But the movie also featured a ton of effects work you probably didn't even notice. As we've mentioned before, star Brie Larson was horribly allergic to Goose the Cat. Rather than simply using Taylor Swift in a Halloween costume, they opted to create a CGI cat. So while filming, there was either nothing there ...

Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
Or they used a stuffed cat, presumably lifted from the Aristocats section of the Disney Store.

... or they used ... um, some kind of radioactive burrito?

It's also possible that the whole "stuffed cat" thing is an elaborate hoax to explain away this footage of Larson launching a cat across the room.

And speaking of treating animals like shit ...

Related: 19 Photos That Shatter Your Image Of Famous Special Effects

DumboIs Just ... Yikes

Despite its categorization, Disney's "live-action" remakes almost always feature some kind of bizarre CGI component, from the talking dogs in Lady And The Tramp to Will Smith's "swole Smurf" look in Aladdin. Probably because they didn't want Bob Barker all up in their business, Disney opted not to use a real baby elephant in their recent remake of Dumbo. In fact, a lot of the time they used a human being. So for scenes where, say, Dumbo tumbles out of a train compartment, they had a poor faceless dude in green spandex doing gymnastics covered in hay, like some kind of drunken Cirque du Soleil performance.

Walt Disney Pictures

And to make sure the eye lines matched with the human actors, the actor playing Dumbo had to dress like some kind of Lovecraftian version of Shrek.

Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
We cannot stress enough that a real actor somewhere has this photo in their resume.

Tell us this won't haunt your dreams for the rest of your life:

Walt Disney Pictures

And the full-sized elephants had people for legs!

Walt Disney Pictures
If only there was some way to animate characters without the elaborate use of green screens. But what would Disney know about that?

Boy, it sure must have cost Disney a lot of money to make a movie about how shitty it is to work for Disney!

You (yes, you) should follow JM onTwitter, or check out the podcastRewatchability.

For more, check out Old Movies Used To Just Shoot Real Bullets At People:


 

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