The trailer for the upcoming adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats has been thoroughly roasted, currently holding a staggering 319,000 downvotes to its meager 122,000 upvotes on YouTube alongside a collection of comments like “This is what the people in the birdbox [sic] saw before they die.” That is, no doubt, due to its uncomfortably human, downright unsettling computer-generated cats, which made actors like James Corden, Idris Elba, and Jennifer Hudson look as though they’d been frozen in the middle of an Animorphs transition sequence.
Just as the backlash to Sonic’s bristly face and humanoid teeth prompted a redesign of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie, the heads of the studio behind Cats have now assured anyone scared of the Cats cats that the images lingering in our nightmares are not what we’ll see when the movie hits theaters. “You’re seeing subtle changes,” Eric Fellner of production company Working Title told Variety. While the studio was rushing to release the teaser, it has since had time to finish rendering the human-cat hybrids, which rely on “digital fur technology” after attempts with prosthetics and fur on humans proved unsuccessful. “The characters have progressed and are progressing every day.”
The upcoming Cats film has been called many things including “terrifying,” “disturbing,” and “a drug-induced nightmare made real,” and that has perhaps influenced the studio’s approach since the trailer dropped in July.
“The reality is that 100 million people or more saw the trailer, and, yes, there were some people that didn’t like it, and as is the world we live in, those who didn’t like it were the most vociferous,” Fellner said. (Apparently, the response from fans of the musical was more positive, as they knew what furry horrors to expect.)
Since an updated trailer hasn’t been released, what exactly that “progress” looks like remains unclear. We can only hope that the trailer’s most unsettling elements—like the fact that the cats have inexplicably human hands and truly bizarre proportions—have been addressed in some way to quell our feelings of body horror. Will Dame Judi Dench’s face still be covered with odd, flesh-colored fur, for example?
So, will Cats be the scariest movie of the year? There’s only one more week until we find out; the movie hits theaters on December 20, just in time to make your family Christmas movie outing a little creepier.
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