Empathy, Anthropomorphism, and the Uncanny Valley Effect: Why Audiences Strayed Away from the Film Adaptation of Cats

Cantrell, Kate ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5689-614X and Hawkes, Lesley (2021) Empathy, Anthropomorphism, and the Uncanny Valley Effect: Why Audiences Strayed Away from the Film Adaptation of Cats. The Journal of Popular Culture, 54 (3). pp. 1-23. ISSN 0022-3840


Abstract

The 2019 film adaptation of the musical, Cats, was a box-office flop, unpopular with critics and audiences, and failing to recoup its production cost. The two major criticisms levelled at the film – its perceived lack of plot and unsuccessful animation – contributed to Cats’ inability to make an impact. While plot problems also beset the musical, the second criticism levelled at the film – the 'creepy' CGI – points to the uncanny valley effect as an explanation for the film’s failure. Specifically, category ambiguity hinders the audience’s ability to empathise with the characters and triggers feelings of discomfort and disgust.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Humanities and Communication (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2021 03:24
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 03:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cats; anthropomorphism; empathy; film; screen media; popular culture; the uncanny valley effect; negative affect
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190204 Film and Television
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200525 Literary Theory
Fields of Research (2020): 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470599 Literary studies not elsewhere classified
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3605 Screen and digital media > 360505 Screen media
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4702 Cultural studies > 470214 Screen and media culture
47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4705 Literary studies > 470514 Literary theory
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9502 Communication > 950203 Languages and Literature
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130103 The creative arts
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1302 Communication > 130203 Literature
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280122 Expanding knowledge in creative arts and writing studies
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280116 Expanding knowledge in language, communication and culture
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jpcu.13021
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42282

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