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Project14 | Animatronics: Whose Your Favorite Animatronic from Film?


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Animatronics aren't just for Halloween.  Some of the greatest movie characters of all time were in fact animatronic.  There's so many we can't fit them here so feel free to leave your favorite animatronic from the movies in the comments below!


Vote or suggest your favorite animatronic character from the movies!

Poll Results
  • E.T. - the figure required a high level of detail in order to develop the personality of the character in film.  E.T. was capable of 150 different movements, which included many different facial expressions, neck, hand, and of course, finger movements. (5%)

  • Chestburster (Aliens) - To achieve the effect of the Chestburster emerging from Mary, two Chestburster puppets were used. The first was a simple glove puppet, built to be tough enough to rip through Coles' artificial foam latex chest and clothing. The second, "post-burst" puppet was a more delicate animatronic, incorporating cable-controlled mechanisms that allowed a wide-range of fluid movements. (5%)

  • Jabba the Hut (Star Wars - Return of the Jedi) - the character of Jabba the Hutt was one giant puppet, one of the largest and most expensive ever made.  It incorporated animatronics and was operated by three puppeteers from the inside. (5%)

  • Terminator - The skeletal chrome machine shown in the film was originally supposed to be depicted through stop motion animation. Instead, a then-state-of-the-art full-sized animatronic puppet based on Jim Henson's technology was used. (21%)

  • Johnny Cab (Total Recall) -an automated taxi service, consisting of small self-driving vehicles piloted by an integrated conversational android that acts on passenger voice commands. Much like a human taxi driver, “Johnny” will whistle tunes and engage in small talk during the ride, and is even capable of expressing emotional states. (5%)

  • Dancing Alien (Spaceballs) -  just like in aliens the tiny animatronic robot pops out of the stomach,  the little alien pops out of his stomach, but then proceeds to sing and dance like that frog in the Warner Brothers cartoon. (5%)

  • Gizmo (Gremlins) - Partly due to its size and the tiny parts required to keep it running, the animatronic Gizmo broke down. A lot. Numerous delays were caused by Gizmo malfunctioning, with long stretches where crew members had to just stand around and wait for him to be repaired. (0%)

  • Harry (Harry & the Hendersons) - a radio controlled servo motors control the face of Harry and its operated by a giant joystick. (0%)

  • Jaws - the jaws of a real great white shark aren’t attached to the rest of its head. Instead, they’re an entirely separate muscle giving them a weaker bite you'd think.  In the Jaws animatronic, there is no such differentiation. Because of the shark’s mechanical limitations, it’s never able to fully reveal its separate jaw muscle. Instead, it just chomps and chomps repeatedly snapping its teeth together in the same pattern rather than expanding its mouth. (0%)

  • Kuato (Total Recall) - an n impressive display of animatronics, requiring some fifteen people just to control all his movements. (0%)

  • Gmork (The NeverEnding Story) - During the final scene, the robot that was Gmork malfunctioned somewhat and one of its claws slashed a young actor's face right beside his eye. (0%)

  • Chucky (Child's Play) - The film created multiple Chucky animatronics such as a flailing tantrum Chucky, a walking Chucky, and a stationary Chucky. The animatronics face was controlled by a remote control through a rig that goes on one's face and captures facial movements. (5%)

  • Gremlins - Gremlins pioneered an animatronic puppet approach to bring their characters to life, and like many effects films that broke new ground, the process was trial and error. (0%)

  • Alien Queen (Aliens) - The alien queen in the movie Aliens was a giant animatronic robot that stood 14-feet tall. The mechanical monster was animated using cables and hydraulics, and required a crane for support. Two puppeteers inside the device operated its arms while 16 were need to move the rest of it. (11%)

  • T-Rex (Jurassic Park) -  The main T-rex puppet weighed over six tons and was mounted on a flight simulator-style platform that had to be anchored into the bedrock under the soundstage. Although its actions were occasionally preprogrammed, the prehistoric monster was generally puppeteered live. A three-foot T-rex armature was packed with sensors; when the armature moved, the full-size Rex would duplicate the movement in real time. (16%)

  • Aubrey II (Little Shop of Horrors) - notable (along with E.T.) it properly lip-syncs.  They built five iterations of Audrey II, ranging in size from a few inches to over twelve feet. A trio of lip-sync puppeteers fresh from Return to Oz were hired and rehearsed for three months. They were joined by additional crew – as many as 70 for the largest plant – to manipulate the vines and control the gross body movements. One of those puppeteers was concealed inside the head, but the rest worked via five-foot-tall levers hooked to cable controls in a sweaty space beneath the set. (5%)

  • Every Dinosaur in Jurassic Park - Every dinosaur in Jurassic Park was animatronic.  To get a right the designs were supervised by real-life paleontologist Jack Horner.  Stan Studios created the dinosaurs to appear as lifelike as possible.  Highly detailed full-scale sculptures of the dinosaurs were created before molding foam rubber skins went over complex robotics. Puppeteers then remotely control motion with "Waldos" that captured their performances for the machines to mimic. (11%)

  • Other - Let Us Know Your Favorite Animatronic from the movies in the comments below! (5%)


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