Movies like The Lion King and Cats are mere pretext for the larger narrative of technological progress.

If historians of the future try to pinpoint the exact moment when the term "digital fur" became ubiquitous in our culture, they might identify the evening of July 18, when the Cats trailer premiered online just as the first public screenings of Disney's The Lion King remake were unspooling across the country.

Here were two state-of-the-art endeavours, using computer-generated fur — by all accounts an enormously difficult and time-consuming special-effects undertaking — toward extremely different ends. On one side was a new version

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