I don’t… know what to say. Politely, I must inquire: Is this really happening, or am I perchance tripping balls?
The fallacy of this approach to Cats is, I think… ALL OF IT. ALL OF IT IS THE PROBLEM. IT’S HORRIFYING. IT IS AN ACID TRIP OF A FEVER DREAM OF A NIGHTMARE WRAPPED IN BAD DECISIONS AND SPRINKLED WITH THAT TIME DEMI MOORE ROLLED AROUND ON A BED OF MONEY IN INDECENT PROPOSAL. It’s like Tom Hopper listened to the soundtrack while drinking absinthe and watching a Tim Burton movie on mute. My new hobby is going to be figuring out which actor will get stuck carrying the promotional load once the others decide they don’t want anyone to remember they’re in it; my money is on the newcomer who’s playing Victoria (I don’t even REMEMBER that cat; was she added later?) and Jennifer Hudson, because she’s going to gun for another Oscar for Belting It Out Loudly. [On that note: I know a lot of musicals get rewritten over the years; are those first several “Memory” lyrics new for this movie, or were they present in recent theatrical renditions as well? They’re definitely not the original.]
Also… listen, Cats is not about people looking like freaking cats in a real way. Part of the musical’s weirdo charm — assuming you even think it has any; personally, I saw it three times when I was 6 and 7 and “Memory” was the first song I ever learned on the piano, but it also totally confounds me in many ways — is that it’s dancers frolicking around in unconvincing spandex and dramatic cat makeup. No one is trying to twinkle them up into erotic Dr. Moreau demi-beasts. No one is trying to put them in realistic sets, or adjust the perspective so that it looks like they’re rolling around on a human-size bed, or turn it into any more of a farcical caper than it already accidentally was. And no one has creepy undulating furry cat-boobs, because they are very clearly person-boobs in a unitard. NO ONE WANTS THEM TO BE CATS. I know no one who came away from Cats thinking, “If only they had really tried to be cats.” JELLICLE CATS ARE NOT REAL CATS.
Fug Friend Grant pointed out this delightful coincidence: Sir Ian McKellen is a scene in Six Degrees of Separation in which Will Smith announces that his father (Sidney Poitier) is going to make a movie of Cats, and everyone reacts with horror. YET LO, HERE HE IS. I wonder if Sir Ian called Will and was like, “Ha ha, guess what, Fresh Prince, Gus the Theatre Cat LIVES IN ME.”
I can’t. WHY. And why is the perspective so wonky? A different friend noted that the sets came out too big and now they all just look like mice. It’s so true. Just make a trailer that’s all Idris Elba being evil and then maybe people would be freaking out less right now, but as it is… obviously I’m going to go see it, but I’m going to do it at an ArcLight where you can bring in a special Movie Pour size glass of wine.
I miss Roger Ebert’s acid pen so much right now.