Watch: The Impressive Evolution of Visual Effects from 1878 to 2014

May 15, 2014

Evolution of Visual Effects

Last month, we featured a video that looked at the evolution of filmmaking from all the way back in 1878 to the films of 2014 Now another film reaches all the way back to the same year in the past, but this time with a focus on how visual effects have evolved over the years. It's a little hard to really get a significant vibe for the evolution of these special effects with such brief clips and using only one film to represent an entire year, but it's very interesting to see how far we've come in a very short period of time as technology becomes better and better exponentially every single year (and sometimes more frequent than that). Watch below!

Here's The Evolution of Visual Effects from YouTube user Jim Casey (via Movies.com):

We appreciate the hard work that went into assembling this video, but we do have some gripes. First of all, not every single clip in this sequence features a true visual effect (though we suppose the definition of that could be argued). For example, the clips from Creature of the Black Lagoon and The Wizard of Oz don't seem to have any visual effects, but just cool make-up or impressive sets. And some of the visual effects were poor even for their time. There's a shot from This Island Earth, the film mocked in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. Still, it's crazy to see just how the quality of these effects has improved.

Find more posts: Feat, Sci-Fi, To Watch



Is it me or was there not a single clip from The Lord of the Rings in there? At the very least, I think Gollum would qualify.

ccoleman on May 15, 2014


I didn't see it either. Also no JAWS.

DAVIDPD on May 15, 2014


No Terminator 2 either, thought the liquid metal effects of the T1000 was a first of its kind. Still amazing how far it's come, though I hope a mixture of new and old techniques puts and end to CG heavy films.

Steven on May 16, 2014


oh but there IS T1000 in this video. Rewatch

sterpazook on May 16, 2014


T1000 at 2:04. And the T1000 has to thank the Abyss for doing malleable liquid first though of course T2 went further with the technique.

David Diaz on May 16, 2014


Oh yes...thanks. The Abyss is a classic 🙂

Steven on May 16, 2014


Definitely. I love the director's cut.

David Diaz on May 16, 2014


I agree. I wish we'd see more practical effects on screen. With the advances in robotics these days, we can definitely do better than Jar Jar Binks....

TheOct8pus on May 16, 2014


They showed the T-1000 oozing through broken glass, it was in there.. re-watch it

shane willett on May 16, 2014


Yep - certainly did about 5 hours ago if you had taken the time to read the other comments....

Steven on May 16, 2014


Also no Birdemic...what a crock

Danimal on May 16, 2014


nope, no horror Like Evil Dead, NightMare, they had Werewolf in London, and Birds, but horror has done leaps in bounds for CG and animatronics so that's a little F' up... serious where was the Jim Hensen, not Muppetts, but Dark Crystal or Labrynth, those were just as good.. was there any Star Wars?? WTF

shane willett on May 16, 2014


No Jar Jar Binks? I know he's horrible and the worst thing about the prequels, but in regards to special effects he was the first digital sidekick.

Jay on May 16, 2014

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