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WIRE Buzz: AMC joins BBC's War of the Worlds; VFX Society claws Oscars Cats joke; Sonic

By Josh Weiss
The War of the Worlds

BBC One's three-part War of the Worlds miniseries will hit American boob tubes by way of AMC, Deadline confirmed early this morning. Written by Peter Harness (McMafia), the H.G. Wells-inspired project aired on the BBC between late November and early December of last year.

Staying pretty faithful to its source material about a deadly Martian invasion in turn-of-the-century Britain, The War of The Worlds stars Eleanor Tomlinson (Jack the Giant Slayer), Rafe Spall (Men in Black: International), and Robert Carlyle (Yesterday) in the leading roles.

"This adaptation is faithful to the book in terms of the radicalism of H.G. Wells’ storytelling. It was a surprising book back then and we hope to have made this a surprising adaptation now," Harness said in a BBC One interview. "It was a politically charged book about things outside of itself, referencing politics and the state of the world. It was part of the birth of science fiction and part of the birth of the idea that you could use science fiction as a way to tell stories about the world and politics. It shines a light on the way the world is governed and the way people behave and I think it will resonate even today."

Epix has its own TV adaptation of the Wells sci-fi classic which premieres Sunday, Feb. 16. Starring Gabriel Byrne and Elizabeth McGovern, with the Epix version set in the modern day.

While James Corden and Rebel Wilson created a viral moment by lampooning Tom Hooper's ill-fated Cats movie at the 2020 Oscars this past weekend, the VFX Society wasn't feeling the joke. Showing up onstage in full feline regalia, the two comedic actors joked about knowing a thing or two about "good visual effects" before presenting the awards for Achievement in Visual Effects.

"Last night, in presenting the Academy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects, the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie Cats. The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly," the organization said in a statement Monday.

Sam Mendes' 1917 (a WWI movie made to look like it was all done in one take) ended up winning the VFX Oscar, beating out heavy genre hitters like Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King. Cats was originally being promoted for awards consideration, but got pulled at the last second.

"On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is immensely disappointing that The Academy made visual effects the butt of a joke. It demeaned the global community of expert VFX practitioners doing outstanding, challenging and visually stunning work to achieve the filmmakers’ vision," continued the society's statement. "Our artists, technicians and innovators deserve respect for their remarkable contributions to filmed entertainment, and should not be presented as the all-too-convenient scapegoat in service for a laugh. Moving forward, we hope that The Academy will properly honor the craft of visual effects – and all of the crafts, including cinematography and film editing – because we all deserve it."

Hooper admitted to finishing the movie a day before its premiere and even then, updated prints had to be sent to theaters on opening weekend in order to "patch" glaring VFX oversights like human hands being left on certain characters.

Co-written by Hooper and Lee Hall, Cats flopped at the box office with $71 million against its $95 million production budget. With a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the big screen take on the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage play is a certifiable dud. However, specialized and immersive screenings held by Alamo Drafthouse are helping to give Cats a "so-bad-it's-good" cult status.

The film is up for a litter box-ful of Razzies.

In a new Sonic the Hedgehog featurette from Paramount Pictures, Jim Carrey breaks down his live-action take on Dr. Ivo Robotnik, discussing the character's insanity, love of machines, and awesome facial hair.

"Being able to do a movie that brings a good memory back and connects with new generations of people — it was really amazing," says Carrey in the video below. "I'm very lucky in that regard ... I'm just havin' so much fun ... We've created a monster we won't be able to control."

Take a look:

Directed by Jeff Fowler, the film underwent a major overhaul after audiences negatively responded to the CGI design of the titular character (voiced by Ben Schwartz). Delaying the theatrical release by three months, Paramount allowed Fowler and his team to give Sonic a much more classic look — one that was much more popular with fans.

Sonic the Hedgehog hits theaters this Friday, Feb. 14. Early reactions are lookin' very good.