In a bland world such as ours, where aliens and monsters don’t really exist and the scariest living creatures on Earth are the members of the Tea Party, we have to depend on film in order to bring truly fantastical characters to life. In the old days, a man in an ape suit or a little person wrapped in tin foil masquerading as a robot were about as close to fantasy as we ever got. But over the past four decades, filmmakers have been taking advantage of advancing technologies, both digital and practical, in order to bring some otherworldy characters to the big screen.

Whether a director wants to visit the inhabitants of an alien world, create a towering monster, or digitally remove the herpes from Megan Fox, almost anything a filmmaker can envision is now possible. But special effects are tricky, and just because you have computer generated imagery or an animatronic character on screen doesn’t mean an audience will connect with it. There is a fine line between special effects perfection and a SyFy Channel movie reject. They take millions of dollars to complete, yet when done right, these characters can make us feel more than any square-jawed Hollywood thespian, despite the fact that they aren't technically real.

This Friday, Real Steel opens starring Hugh Jackman and dozens of pugilist robots created using a combination of CGI and animatronics. In honor of this rock ‘em sock ‘em movie release, we’re taking a look at the Top 20 CGI and Animatronic Characters In Live Action Movies.

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Written by Jason Serafino (@serafinoj1)

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