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Photo credit: YouTube/Universal
8 ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’
The VFX: Make-up depicting multi-layered bio-organic skin over cybernetic exo-skeleton, the liquid-metal shape-shifting T-1000 and the nuclear nightmare detonation.
Quintessential scene: The battle at the steel mill.
7 ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
The VFX: Clever use of no CGI elements whatsoever including electrocuted Nazis, ghosts that arise from the Ark, melting/exploding bad guys, the sky opening up, pyrotechnics, the Tanis map room light beam and the Nazi car flying off the cliff.
Quintessential scene: God’s wrath is unleashed upon opening the Ark of the Covenant.
6 ‘Star Wars’
The VFX: Blasters, aerial spaceship dogfights, light sabers, the Land Speeder, the Sandcrawler, R2-D2 projecting Leia’s video recording and Alderaan meeting its untimely ruin.
Quintessential scene: The Death Star battle.
5 ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’
The VFX: The UFO, matte paintings, models and the $1.5 million (in 1981, no less) electronics-and-puppeteer-controlled E.T. puppet.
Quintessential scene: E.T. and Elliott hop on a bike and take to the skies.
The VFX: Glowing blood, electrified fences, thermal vision and the Predator’s invisibility cloak.
Quintessential scene: Anytime the Predator engages his active camouflage.
The VFX: A ferocious tree, graves rising through the earth, gory make-up, ghosts, gooey portals to the other side and a steak that comes alive.
Quintessential scene: The parapsychologist rips his own face off.
2 ‘Independence Day’
The VFX: 3,000+ special effects shots including pyrotechnics, models, bio-mechanical suit-wearing aliens, and a full-scale assault involving jets, alien fighters and warships.
Quintessential scene: The White House is wiped off the map.
The VFX: Android innards, alien eggs, a giant fossilized spacecraft interior, and the 7-foot-tall Alien with two mouths, dripping fangs and acid for blood.
Quintessential scene: The chestburster.