Longtime fans of the property are no doubt hyped that ThunderCats is finally being brought to the silver screen by Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard, but it would be an understatement to say things didn’t turn out so well the last time we saw a big budget movie populated almost entirely by a cast of anthropomorphized felines.
Tom Hooper’s Cats was initially positioned as a potential awards season player, given the filmmaker’s penchant for working almost exclusively within the realms of prestige drama, not to mention the star-studded ensemble he’d assembled to bring the beloved musical to life. Instead, it ended up as one of 2019’s biggest box office bombs and the stuff of nightmares.
Cats was utterly terrifying, which most definitely wasn’t Hooper’s intention, and it quickly became a laughing stock. In a new interview, though, Wingard was quick to promise that ThunderCats isn’t going to fall into the same traps that blighted the disastrous musical, but you know full well that if the designs of the central characters aren’t up to scratch, then the comparisons will only invite themselves.
“I don’t want to reinvent the way they look, I want them to look like ThunderCats. I don’t want to do it live-action, either. I don’t want it to look like Cats, I don’t want those kinds of issues. No disrespect to that director, whom I don’t mean to throw under the bus any more than everyone else has. I want to do a movie you’ve never seen before. A hybrid CGI film that has a hyperreal look and somehow bridges the gap between cartoon and CGI.”
Wingard’s description of how he envisions ThunderCats makes it sound as though he’s aiming for something that exists on the plane between live-action and animation, similar to Jon Favreau’s The Lion King, which is also ironically about big cats. The Disney smash hit only featured one shot that wasn’t created inside a computer, but it wasn’t technically considered an animated movie, either, and a combination of motion capture and photo-realistic CGI is probably the best way to approach an adaptation of the 1980s animated favorite.