2019 saw a lot of incredible and acclaimed films being released… and then there was Cats, the film adaptation of the same-named musical that’s been a Broadway fixture for decades. Among the many things that Cats caught flak for was its poor visual effects, making it all the more amusing that stars Rebels Wilson and James Corden not only presented the Best Visual Effects category at the 2020 Oscars, but spoofed their movie in costume.
The two actors walked out on stage dressed in approximations of how their Cats characters appeared in the movie, i.e. Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat and James Corden as Bustopher Jones. Honestly, I’m curious if the Cats movie’s critical reception would have been better or worse if the cast had worn practical costumes the whole time rather than being CGI monstrosities.
Speaking of which, Rebel Wilson and James Corden pointed out that as members of the Cats cast, no one more than them understands the importance of good visual effects. Forget all the outcry at how Cats looked when the first trailer dropped last summer: this is not only a movie that director Tom Hooper and his team finished just a day before the London premiere, but Universal Pictures sent theaters an updated version with improved VFX shortly after it opened wide!
So yeah, one should not turn to Cats when looking for stellar examples of visual effects, making it all the more funny that Rebel Wilson and James Corden were willing to poke fun at their movie’s infamous reputation while at the Oscars. And as an added bonus, we got to see them bat around the mic stand like it was a feline plaything before learning who won the Best Visual Effects award (it was 1917).
Of course, VFX is just one of the ways that Cats failed to leave a positive impression in the cinematic landscape. Released last December on the same weekend as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Cats ranks at a measly 20% among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, while the audience score is 53%. Commercially, it’s only made close to $72 million worldwide off a budget around $95 million, resulting in it losing a lot of money.
Because of Cats’ poor reception, Universal took the movie off its ‘For Your Consideration’ page, although it still got positively recognized by PETA. James Corden also admitted that he hasn’t seen Cats after hearing the bad word of mouth, while theater junkie Evan Rachel Wood called it “horrible.”
Rebel Wilson and James Corden’s gag wasn’t the first time Cats has been mocked during awards season. Ricky Gervais took aim at the movie during the Golden Globes, to the point that part of his punchline was bleeped out. And even though tonight’s Academy Awards marks the end of the awards season, something tells me we haven’t seen the last of Cats being mocked in special events.
There’s no word on when Cats will arrive on home media, but feel free to read CinemaBlend’s review of the movie. You can also plan your visits to the movie theater this year accordingly with our 2020 release schedule.
Photo Credit: ABC
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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