Why James Corden and Rebel Wilson should have stuck up for Cats

The pair’s Oscars appearance upset the visual effects industry – and it also seemed to be unfair to their director and fellow actors

Rebel Wilson and James Corden have got whiskers bristling with their gag at the Oscars on Sunday night, when they appeared as their characters from Tom Hooper’s unsettling and widely derided film Cats: “Nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.”

The Visual Effects Society (VES) took umbrage, saying it demeaned their work: “The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story badly told.” If anyone is to blame for that in Cats’ case, it is TS Eliot – and even his estate has said he would have had a sense of humour about the thing.

Well, move my breasts weirdly high up my torso, cover me in digital fur, and stick a tail on me – I am with the visual effects guys on this one. Watching Cats was infinitely less entertaining than reading reviews of Cats, which was the last time I cried with laughter – maybe the last time I felt joy.

there is something so 2019 about how there is literally nothing to indicate that cats is an enjoyable experience on any level, and yet we will all enthusiastically put ourselves through it pic.twitter.com/nrYVws89jh

— lil venice bitch (@MikeDolanVEVO) December 19, 2019

Even now, rereading Catherine Shoard on its “pure bestial horror”, tears of mirth prick my eyelids. If I had it my way, no film writer would write about any film other than Cats, as I have seen nothing to suggest that would ever get less funny. The internet has not been so much fun since Fyre festival.

With joy so hard to come by, every sacrifice made in the making of Cats – the $95m budget, Tom Hooper’s reputation, Idris Elba as a sex symbol – was worth it for the merriment the world had at its expense. But Corden and Wilson, having been compensated for their part, don’t get to share in that, just as Fyre fraudster Billy McFarland doesn’t get to crack a joke about the caterers.

That’s the thing about taking the money: as everyone who has gone on a gameshow knows, you forfeit your right to further redress. You certainly don’t take the money, then hang your colleagues out to dry on a world stage.

Taylor Swift gets it. She told Variety of her experience of working on Cats: “I had a really great time working on that weird-ass movie … No complaints.”

No doubt adding insult to injury for the visual effects community was that Corden and Wilson’s performances were singled out by many as notably bad in a very bad film, also starring Jason Derulo. Tabby cat-Wilson ecstatically rubs her tail between her legs, unzips her own fur to reveal more fur and pink, sequin lingerie, and speaks mostly in truly terrible cat puns. But sure: it was all the visual effects’ fault.


Elle Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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