Katie: Hi, God. It’s me, Katie. I have a few questions, but I guess my first one is what in the fresh hell is this? Some of the cats are wearing clothes in addition to their fur—does this mean that the ones who have opted not to are scurrying around in the nude? Why does Dame Judi Dench’s cat look like…that? Judi, you have an Oscar. Is everything okay at home? At this artfully lit neon milk bar we see in the background, do they serve cat milk, human milk, cow milk, or one of the trendy, environmentally friendly non-dairy options that are all the rage at the moment? And most importantly, what drug was Academy Award winning director Tom Hooper on when he decided that this trailer looked good, and can I get some of it?
Here’s the thing about Cats: some Broadway musicals are not meant to be adapted into films. They’re onstage masterpieces, and the magic just doesn’t translate to the screen. Other Broadway musicals make delightful movies, and their film counterparts give a classic story a whole new life. Cats is neither. There is never an appropriate time or place to stage a production of Cats. If you ever find yourself thinking, “Hey, maybe I should get the ball rolling on a Cats revival,” stay right where you are, and email me, Katherine Randolph, at email@example.com. I will put you in touch with the appropriate professionals who can help you through this.
Andrew Lloyd Webber should’ve faced criminal charges the moment he put pen to paper and started drafting this horrific fever-dream of a show, and Tom Hooper owes me a personal apology for making this film. I would also like to respectfully ask Mr. Hooper to release Jennifer Hudson, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Idris Elba (in that order) from whatever prison he’s been keeping them in for the entirety of production and promotion of this movie. James Corden and Taylor Swift have the overwhelming earnest energy of two people who are truly overjoyed to be in Cats, and I could never deign to understand Jason Derulo, but I know that Jennifer, Judi, Ian and Idris are in danger. Those are our men in there, and they need our help. As Jennifer Hudson’s cat Grizabella sings in “Memory,” “I remember the time I knew what happiness was,” I can only assume she’s referring to those sacred, golden days before the Cats trailer was released.
So after reading this Trailer Take up to this point, you might think to yourself, “Okay, Katie, we get it. You don’t want to see this film,” but that, my dear friend, is where you’re wrong. I want to see Cats more than anything in this world. I can honestly say that it’s my most anticipated film of the year. Cats is going to be stunningly and immeasurably insane, and I for one plan to be there at the first showing on December 20th, preferably with a friend and some kind of homeopathic, legal hallucination-inducing tea.
Juliana: I don’t know a lot about the Broadway musical Cats. Pretty much all of my knowledge surrounding the show comes from this one scene in a Brazilian young adult book. However, I watched a behind-the-scenes promo that was released a couple of days before the trailer, and I remember thinking, “Wow. This sounds amazing. They hired great actors, great choreographers, great everything. Everyone is really passionate about this. You know what? I’m actually looking forward to this trailer!”
I don’t think the trailer met my original expectations. Don’t get me wrong: I think the passion for the musical and the talent in dancing and singing is definitely there. However, I can’t ignore this “cat” look. It’s not that it’s a bad CGI job or that it doesn’t look realistic. I’m just questioning what exactly the movie is trying to make realistic here. The cat-human hybrids made me hit the pause button just to make more puzzled faces at my computer screen. They have human faces with cat fur on top? Oh wow, they have cat tails on their sorta-human naked bodies? Everything is “cat-sized” except Taylor Swift’s high heels? I’m not even sure if I can comment on whether this will be a good movie in terms of entertainment because all I can think of is that it’s definitely the most bizarre (and we had that Sonic trailer. Sonic.). If I do by some odd chance drag my post-finals self in the middle of a Midwest winter to watch this in theaters, I am pretty sure it will give me nightmares (and hey, don’t blame me—apparently you can blame science for that).
Sky: I am frustrated and confused. I just don’t really understand…WHY? Why do we need this right now? Why did so many A-list actors and singers waste their valuable time making this?? Why, out of all the broadway musicals that actually deserve movie adaptations, did producers decide on Cats??? I have absolutely no idea what the plot of Cats is and I have no desire to find out. I’m already not the biggest Andrew Lloyd Webber fan, and the music previewed in this trailer does absolutely nothing for me. Sometimes slow songs are not dramatic, they’re boring. This also adds to my confusion: Why is this trailer (and I’m guessing the whole musical) so intense? If you told me that some of the biggest names in Hollywood got together to dress up as cats and sing a few songs, I would expect something along the lines of Mamma Mia (2008): celebrities letting loose and having fun. So, why does every actor in this movie look like they’re trying to win an Oscar? Either this trailer is misleading or the entire premise of Cats is completely ridiculous. Now, to address the elephant in the room. CGI: bad, Cat people: scary, Dreams: haunted. The irony, however, is that the unsettling CGI may be this movie’s saving grace. Don’t get me wrong, the visuals in Cats are horrifying, but they’re the only reason why anyone is talking about the film at all. When most are presented with a trailer for a movie previewing a non-existent plot, a boring soundtrack, and lackluster choreography they would likely not give it a second thought. However, if you add in some anthropomorphized CGI cats, our imaginations are captured—and irrevocably disturbed.