Screenshot: The Dark Knight

There’s no end of videos shitting on bad movie CGI, but this new video from the YouTube channel Looper takes the opposite approach. Rather than make fun of The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns or the plane crash in Air Force One, it celebrates the practical movie effects that still hold up today. Clocking in at six and half minutes, the video manages to cram in a ton of details and behind-the-scenes shots of half a dozen practical movie effects.

The effects in question include the semi-truck flip in The Dark Knight, the anti-gravity fight in Inception, the blood geyser in Nightmare On Elm Street, the werewolf transformation in An American Werewolf In London, the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, and the hobbits in The Lord Of The Rings. From rotating rooms to forced perspective to detailed puppets to simply playing film backwards, there are a lot of simple but impressive tricks that went into creating those final effects. But perhaps most impressive of all are the practical effects that brought Robert Patrick’s T-1000 to life in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Although a lot of the T-1000 is created with CGI, the “melting” effect was done largely with animatronic puppets created by Stan Winston. Here’s a still from the video:

(Screenshot: “ Movie Special Effects You’d Never Guess Aren’t CGI”)

It’s the sort of thing that would likely be all CGI today, but the practical effects add a real weight to the final shot. The video is a lovely tribute to that kind of creative, thoughtful filmmaking.