Let’s Talk About that “Cats” Trailer

There are some of you who hold this musical near to your heart. I don’t mean to insult or enrage anyone that’s excited about this trailer and the upcoming film, I just want to talk about it.

Let’s take a look at the first footage from Cats, an adaptation to be released this holiday season.

That’s…that’s a thing, alright.

Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Cats is one of the longest-running Broadway musicals in the history of the art form. It was quite popular in my youth, and I saw a recording of the stage production on VHS (rented it from the local grocery store because I just had to see what it was all about). As far as I can tell, the plot revolves around cats of the Jellicle Tribe consulting with their leader. This cat’s name is Old Deuteronomy, and they’re consulting him on who will get to be reborn in the Heaviside Layer. It seems, to me, that these cats are all arguing amongst themselves, vying for the privilege of going to heaven when they die, and it seems like only one of them is going to get it. I don’t know, I think that’s what it’s about. Oh, and there’s a cat named Rum Tum Tugger that’s super horny and his dance is…suggestive. I’ve seen the production and read the synopsis three times; this is my best guess as to what it’s about.

What I want to talk about is some of the decisions that were made in producing this film. There’s a definite style that is carried over from the stage design that has left me fairly unsettled, and that is the decision to have the cats look like people…with fur…and tails…and extravagant outfits. I’m in a weird place with this because these people are all cat-sized, making their environments look enlarged and uncanny. They’ve also made the decision to allow these creatures (I just…I can’t call them cats) to continue to resemble the people playing them. That means there’s one that looks like Jason Derulo, one that looks like Judy Dench, and the creature played by Taylor Swift has been allowed to keep all of her curves. They just…put fur on them. 

This whole thing has an off-putting vibe to it but I’m genuinely curious to see how it plays. I wouldn’t say I’m excited about the film, but I love it when a creative team really tries something. I’m not going to lie, I’m going to see the hell out of this due to a macabre desire to truly understand just what is happening (and maybe finally understand the plot). It’s an odd case because I haven’t been drawn to something so strangely disturbing in quite some time. I don’t see many musicals, having only recently discovered a taste for some of them. They’re also releasing this as counter-programming to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker which means yes, I’ll be seeing this the same weekend as I see that film. I haven’t been this confused since I first saw a David Lynch film, weirded out and put off yet strangely drawn to its oddly hypnotic power. Oh shit, what if David Lynch had directed this film!? What would that have been like!?

Is anyone outside of the furry community genuinely excited for this? Anyone else rather drawn to it, despite the feeling of a disturbance in the Force surrounding this film? All I know is…I’m kind of down to watch it. It might just be the most unique looking film I’ll ever see. 

Also if anyone can explain the plot to me I’d appreciate it.

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