If “Cats” had nine lives to start with, we’re not sure it’s got any more now.
Widely panned by critics and currently resting at an 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, “Cats” hasn’t had the best go of it in theaters so far and its reputation is only getting worse. On Friday, Universal reportedly told thousands of theaters that they’ll be receiving an updated version of the film with “some improved visual effects,” according to a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
The publication claims that director Tom Hooper requested the move, which is “unheard of for a finished title already in release.” The specifics of what would be improved were not clear, though many early viewers of the CGI-dense film said it did leave a lot to be desired.
HuffPost reporter Matt Jacobs questioned whether the “digital fur technology” Hooper widely touted stopped “working when it came time to do the paws” while fellow reporter Bill Bradley explained that “the CGI kind of had ‘Scorpion King’-meets-FaceInHole vibes.”
“By CGIing the cat bodies over the actual dancers, it all comes off looking a bit like a cartoon,” he said in a review for the film.
Jacobs’ critique was echoed by Variety writer Jenelle Riley, who tweeted a jarring screenshot of actor Dame Judi Dench in the film. Her un-“Cats”-ified hand is featured prominently alongside her fur-covered body.
Riley told viewers that they’ll know if they’re being treated to the not-yet-updated version of the film based on that.
This isn’t a joke: CATS was rushed into theaters before being finished so a new version is being sent to theaters with updated effects. How do you know if you have the old version? Look for Judi Dench’s human hand, wedding ring and all. pic.twitter.com/VDUOevePU9
— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) December 22, 2019
HuffPost has reached out to Dench and Hooper for comment.