'Cats' is being re-released with 'improved visual effects' after mauling from critics

'Cats' is being re-released with 'improved visual effects' after mauling from critics

I think we can all agree on perhaps one thing this year: that after watching the first Cats trailer, we all knew the images of dystopian horror we'd just been confronted with would never leave us, not completely.

One day, 10 years from now, you'll be mowing the lawn, your mind wandering pleasantly to those halcyon days of youthful exuberance past. A cat will run across the lawn, and there'll be something about it, some look in its eye, some oddly human feature.

The cold sweats will start, the panic - rising to your throat now - will engulf you once more as you remember the cursed day that you stared, disbelieving and horrified, as several neutered, asexual - and yet at the same time weirdly intimate - part-human cats danced - yes danced - with such horrible grace that you were left asking yourself some pretty searching questions.

Remind yourself of the full horror of the Cats trailer right here:

But that was then, and this is now. And in the here and now, Cats, by some minor miracle, has actually been released into cinemas.

Maybe we're all the foolish ones: maybe this is a glimpse into a horrific version of the future it's already too late to avoid. Perhaps 'feline' will become a niche of cinema in much the same way as the road movie or the buddy film did before it.

However, it seems that critical consensus of Tom Hooper's Cats has not been swayed in such a benevolent direction.

Rotten Tomatoes neatly sums up some soundbites from recent reviews, which range from, "It's one of those rare cinematic events that feels like a collective hallucination - improbable and entirely indescribable." (Clarisse Loughrey, for the Independent), to "Artistically, it's a hairball. There's no story to speak of, Mr. Webber's music is immediately forgettable and, like a cat standing at an open door, it takes forever to get where it's going." (Wall Street Journal).

So not quite an Oscar contender, then.

However, it seems as though Hooper's Cats still has one of its nine lives still to play with, after news emerged from the Hollywood Reporter that Universal had told thousands of theatres that they would be receiving an updated version of the feline romp with "improved visual effects".

The Hollywood Reporter notes that this move is unprecedented for a "finished title already in release", and insiders state that the move was undertaken at director Tom Hooper's request.

Cats has not enjoyed a happy opening in theatres, per Forbes, and after months of having the same recurring nightmare where the horrifying feline version of James Corden visits me in my sleep, frankly I'll be relieved when it's all just a distant memory.