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CGI Was the Future in 2001

My 5 Favorite CGI Moments in Invader Zim

I already said it before, but I’ll say it again: I loved the CGI in Invader Zim. Growing up in a time when it was still a new thing, CGI was rare. It seemed almost unheard of outside of movies, at times. So fit a little kid to see it being used on a regular basis in a cartoon, it looked like the coolest thing ever.

Even after almost twenty years, the CGI in Invader Zim holds up well, seamlessly blending with the 2-D animation. So I thought, heck with it; let’s make an article out of it. These are my favorite CGI moments in Invader Zim. There will be minor spoilers ahead.

Mobile-Home GIR, Invasion of the Idiot Dog-Brain

After a mishap while replacing a defective AI, GIR ends up trapped inside the base’s computer. While Zim tries to get GIR to cooperate so he can fix the mess, all the robot can think about is tacos. So he picks up his house body and runs all the way to Crazy Taco.

Aside from being a hilarious example of GIR’s insanity, this was one of the more creative ways the show used CGI. The animators deliberately designed GIR’s house form to resemble that of a dog. If you look closely as GIR rampages through the city, you’ll notice how seamlessly the CGI blends with the 2-D buildings. This was a memorable moment for Zim, and it still makes me smile to this day.

Battle of the Planets, Battle of the Planets of Doom

After taking control of Mars, which is a planet-sized spaceship, Zim plans to crash it into Earth and squish all life. Dib counters him by using the planet Mercury as his spaceship. What follows is an interstellar battle of planets, and I loved every minute of it!

This moment has to have been Zim and Dib’s biggest battle ever, literally. The two adversaries chased each other from the edge of the Sun to the rings of Saturn. For someone who grew up fascinated with spaceflight, this was like a dream come true! Plus, it had some of the funniest moments in the show spaced in between.

Nanowar, Nanozim

When Zim shrinks himself down to microscopic size to destroy Dib’s brain, Dib counters using a nanomachine to take the fight to him. What follows is a chase through Dib’s body as the boy, and later Gaz, attempt to stop Zim from wrecking Zim’s brain.

Nanozim was an earlier episode on the show, but one that used CGI to the fullest. I watched the event over and over on tape. I even tried making little versions of Zim and Dib’s ships out of Play-Doh so I could re-enact it. Then the part where they turned into robots and started fighting was so epic! If I didn’t love Invader Zim before, then this had me hooked on it.

War on the Irken Armada, Dib’s Wonderful Life of Doom

Ah, what could have been. While stuck inside a simulation, Dib envisions what his perfect life would be like. This dream life culminates in him leading an assault against the Irken Armada where he single-handedly brings down their flagship. Then he gets a medal and everyone gets free snacks.

While the battle sequence only lasted for a minute, it was impressive to look at. Dozens of ships of varying sizes clashed in a battle straight out of a sci-fi movie. Then Dib brings down The Massive in a series of shots that transitions between 2-D and CGI with epic music in the background. It was like Independence Day times a hundred!

Zim vs. Tak, Tak, the Hideous New Girl

The climactic season finale to Invader Zim upped the stakes for everyone on the show. In a bid to stop Tak from conquering the Earth instead of him, Zim engages in an epic dogfight in space. All of this happens while the Earth’s core is being pumped out, too.

The show had already seen its fair share of epic fights, but I thought there was something otherworldy about this one. The battle between Irkens in space as molten magma floated around them looked so cool. I can’t put into words why I liked this so much, but I just know I did. DO NOT QUESTION ZIM!

Oh, if you guys didn’t know, Zim has his own comic book series now! Crazy right? You can read it right here on this website!

Click here to see my other animation stuff.

2 thoughts on “CGI Was the Future in 2001 Leave a comment

  1. I think the reason why Zim’s CGI holds up so well is because instead of trying to be hyper-realistic it matched the show’s style and color palette perfectly. It looks really cool.

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