I’ve been eager to see what the Cats movie, set for release on December 20, 2019, will be like ever since I first heard about it. Eager, and a bit apprehensive. I saw the play several times, and of course, I own the sound track as well. For me, it has stood the test of time. However, Broadway to big screen doesn’t always translate well. And then, last week, the first trailer was released.
To say I was creeped out would be putting it mildly. And I wasn’t alone. The internet collectively lost its mind over the direction the makers of the movie chose with the animation. Rather than wearing costumes and make up, the way the actors did in the play, the characters in the movie are coated in CGI (computer generated imagery) fur, resulting in not quite human, but not quite feline creatures.
I keep asking myself why I’m so weirded out by the trailer, when the play featured actors in cat suits with faces painted as cats. Their movements were just as cat like as the movements of the actors in the trailer. And I never felt anything but charmed by these humans in feline costumes.
Then I found out that there’s actually a psychological explanation for the reactions the trailer caused in me and so many others. There’s a term in CGI, “uncanny valley,” which is used when CGI gets a little too real. It’s the unsettled feeling people experience when visual simulations closely resemble humans in many respects but are not quite convincingly realistic. The Cats movie trailer took uncanny valley to a whole new level.
After seeing the trailer, I doubt I’m going to go see the movie. I could barely finish watching the trailer, so the thought of sitting through two hours of this is more than I can handle. It’s truly a shame, because the movie version features a stellar cast, including Taylor Swift, Dame Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, and Jennifer Hudson. Swift will play Bombalurina, Dench will play Old Deuteronomy, McKellen will be Gus the Theatre Cat, and Hudson will play Grizabella, who arguably has the best known song of the play, “Memories.”
But why don’t you see for yourself, if you haven’t already:
What do you think? Did the trailer creep you out, or did you find it intriguing? Will you go see the movie?