Movies with the most beautiful creature designs, ranked
Audiences have seen an incredible change in special effects over the past few decades. Since the 90s alone, CGI has changed a lot, from full effects to pixels they can manipulate. Filmmakers have more access to better effects, as long as they know how to use them. From practical effects to CGI, movies have specific styles they use to bring fictional creatures to life. It takes a strong visionary to be able to tell which effect to use, when and how to make them tell a story in a cohesive way. This is a list ranking the movies that have used effects to create the best creature designs.
seven The Descent (2005)
The 2005 movie Lowering gave audiences a lifelong fear of primal humanoids. The film follows a group of adventure-loving friends as they go cave diving in an unfamiliar cave system. Once inside the dark tunnels, they find they are not alone. Bloodthirsty cave robots begin hunting them, as the friends try to find a way out of the tunnels.
The caterpillars had a very simple design, based on what a humanoid would do if it evolved inside a cave. It was executed with precision. Pointy ears for hunting in the dark and pointed, pointed teeth for offensive attacks. It was a good design that was true to less is more. Pair that design with the claustrophobic and dark atmosphere, and the movie was terrifying.
6 Predator (1987)
A horror classic from 1987, Predator is a film that follows a team of mercenaries, led by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Butch, as they traverse the jungles of Guatemala to rescue a group of politicians. Once in Central America, they find a trail of bodies leading them to an interstellar fighter, which then lands on the team.
Predator was an intense hunter versus prey story that turned the tables on humanity. This character was such a fan favorite, that the Alien vs Predator the movies were made just to answer the question of who would win. The design wasn’t just for weapons and armor. The alien itself had a lot of detail, like how the body is optimal for camouflage and is designed for powerful close combat attacks. The four-clawed jaws were intimidating, and it was a good scare when the helmet came off.
5 A Quiet Place (2017)
From 2017, A silent place is a sci-fi horror film that takes suspense to the next level. Lee, played by John Krasinski, and a pregnant Evelyn, played by Emily Blunt, must survive in complete silence in order to hide their children from monsters that hunt using sound. Their struggle escalates as the time draws near for Evelyn to deliver her baby. The family must work together to prepare a way to fight against the creatures to protect their family.
Blind creatures that hunt by sound have been shown in other films before. However, A silent place did an amazing job designing a believable alien, while leaving audiences terrified by the slightest noise. It was great to open the head to increase hearing while hunting and close it to protect their vulnerable spot. The realistic indestructibility was an impressive feat with the armored skin. The design was taken a step further in the sequel; there, the attention to detail has shifted to the monster’s movement and agility.
4 Alien (1979)
Ridley Scott changed the science fiction genre in 1979 with Extraterrestrial. The story of the crew of the Nostromo spacecraft, as they respond to a distress call. Finding a nest of eggs, they awaken a creature that pushes them into a battle for survival against a creature that wants to consume them all.
Covering seven films, two mash-up films and a series in the works, Extraterrestrial is an incredible franchise. In part, the design of the Xenomorph is responsible for the success. The animalistic qualities, like wall-crawling, jumping, and incredible balance, have all been reasonably explained through the details of the body. The second spooky mouth was perfect for a melee strike. They even went into enough detail to make the creature drool, a slime that made the audience’s skin crawl.
3 Lord of the Rings (2001)
The Fantastic Fantasy Movie The Lord of the Rings, from 2001, was an amazing adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s epic of the same name. The fate of the world is thrown into the hands of a young hobbit when he is entrusted with a legendary ring. With the help of his friends, Frodo Baggins, played by Elijah Wood, must cross the continent to destroy the Ring and restore balance to the world.
Thethe Lord of the Rings The trilogy is a grand, grand scale fantasy that could have been done poorly with the CGI of its time. Instead, Peter Jackson knew that the practical application of good creature designs would be the perfect way to bring Middle-earth to life. There were many different kinds of fantastical beings that needed to be created, and all of them required attention to detail, while remaining true to the source material. The Orcs were a prime example. The sharp teeth, deformed ears, and bright red eyes were all unsettling to behold and gave off an evil aura. The sickly gray and blue skin was honed to match the surrounding world and contrasted with the warm colors of the good guys.
2 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Guillermo del Toro brought many creatures to life in his films. Pan’s Labyrinth, from 2006, is a beautiful film that follows the story of young Ophelia, who settles with her mother in the house of a brutal dictator. Outside the domain, she learns of a mythological quest in the world of Pan’s Labyrinth.
Del Toro is known for his practical creature applications. Of Imitate at Hellboyall of his movies contain wonderful designs and built-in ways to bring them to life. Pan’s Labyrinth used some CGI, but the important Fauno and Pale Man were made to be filmed. This gave the film the feeling that the mythical creatures belonged in the world. The intricate markings on Fauno and the way they blended into the decor was expert design that required a master eye to create.
1 Monster Hunter (2020)
The movie 2020 monster hunter follows Captain Artemis, played by Milla Jovovich, as she leads a team of soldiers as they are transported to a new world of giant monsters. In a battle for survival, the group teams up with a local hunter, who knows how to defend themselves against the creatures. They must learn how to defeat monsters if they want to return to their world.
Although the film did not bring in the expected dollar amount at the box office due to the pandemic shutdown, monster hunter was a very good video game adaptation. The source material is incredibly detailed, as the games focus on proper hunting techniques and monster anatomy. Diablos and Rathalos were almost faithful to the original designs. This film was also careful not to fall into a cheesy CGI rut like some adaptations. They really worked into the key details of the monsters, while keeping the effects high.
Each of these films created interesting creatures in their own way. Some were based on source material like books or video games, while others were original designs focused on scientific accuracy. They were all creative and scared the audience. They cleverly blended into the worlds the filmmakers created for us without making us doubt its credibility.