The next day, you withdraw your children from school and tell them that the only education they need is m***********g Die Hard. At the end, Hans Gruber is clinging desperately to Holly's wrist, but John McLane unclasps her watch and Hans plummets to the streets below. Their "bad guy falls to his big, dumb death" shot looks ... pretty goddamned good. Not just good for 1988; that shot will look pretty convincing 50 years from now, when post-apocalyptic survivors mistake it for a documentary.
20th Century Fox
It's about here that you stop and ask yourself: Are special effects actually getting better with time? Is it possible that with all of the advances in technology (not just CGI, but prosthetics and animatronics), it's always been about whether or not the director knows how to shoot around their limitations?
You can look at the dinosaurs in Peter Jackson's King Kong, and wonder why they seem so wonky ...
... and it isn't because "Well, it's from 2005." It's because even though that movie cost $207 million to make, they were more interested in creating an overstuffed, sprawling King Kong epic rather than more focused, compact version that nailed every shot. The result was a largely pointless sequence which features dinosaurs that look laughable compared to the ones in 1993's Jurassic Park. You could say that Spielberg's film didn't feature anything on the scale of King Kong's massive slapstick dinosaur stampede, but that's the point. The moment Spielberg realized he couldn't shoot that scene without it looking stupid, he'd have cut it.