Look, it's @#$%ing inevitable that I'll watch the movie version of Cats, so I might as well lean into it. I promise you can now look to The Signal Watch as Your News Site for the movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber's goofiest achievement (and he did Starlight Express), Cats. And I hereby swear I will watch this movie opening weekend.
Fact: I saw the musical of Cats touring once when I was sixteen and a theatre-kid in high school. I mostly remember dancers in very tight costumes bending and flexing a lot and the woman playing Grizabella knocking it out of the house.
Fact: I subsequently owned the two-tape soundtrack to Cats which I listened to twice before realizing "I do not think I actually like 85% of the music in Cats" but felt that as a theater-kid, I couldn't get rid of the tapes - but I did quietly migrate them to my mom's tape collection.
Fact: I saw Cats a second time in college when it came through Austin and a friend said "hey, I've never seen Cats", and I was like "well, you should see it sometime," and then me and Peabo got tickets. We looked at each other during the first number, realizing "oh god, we've made a horrible mistake" and that feeling never let up til the final curtain.
I have no actual ill-will toward Cats, the stage show, but it just isn't my bag. Likewise, I know not everyone grew up going to see musicals and plays, and sometimes seeing them translated is weird and confusing (no, Sandy and Danny are not dead through all of Grease, Laura) - but we're also entering an era where the CG that made the same possibilities which gave us buyable Avengers movies can convince a movie studio to forego air-brushed Danskins for CGI'ing Rebel Wilson into a cat body and thereby both fulfilling and creating someone's very specific kink.
Questions I've already seen online:
why do the cats have boobs?
The cats have boobs because this was a key feature of the stage show of Cats, the stage show and there are a lot of things we aren't supposed to say out loud about the appeal of Broadway shows, but I would remind you The Rockettes have been kick-lining successfully since WWII.
Why is this a horror show of CGI?
My dudes, I have no idea. The cats look infinitely dumber than people in Danskins. But it will bring a certain audience.
Saw the CATS trailer and I've been belly laughing for ten minutes. We've crossed the uncanny valley into the land of neon dance furries, and I will absolutely be in the front row for it.— Stuart (@StuartSWard) July 18, 2019
Also - this is gold:
Absolutely no one:— Laura Hudson (@laura_hudson) July 18, 2019
The CATS movie: what would it look like if Snapchat cat filter and furry fan art had a baby that could speak only in intolerable nursery rhymes and that baby was Judi Dench pic.twitter.com/gJXuzEEutB
A question I have: what IS this? It looks like they added dialog and scenes I don't remember. Who is Dame Judi Dench playing? Whose body did they superimpose Taylor Swift's head onto (I mean, we all know she's sort of more giraffe than cat). Is that Jennifer Hudson? Idris Elba? Why are all these famous people in this movie? It's Cats. The star is Cats. I'm just waiting for Jon Hamm to wander out there in a cat suit.
The need for stars led to the terrifying CGI, didn't it?
Y'all, I'm wondering if this will be the second CGI character movie that gets put into delay (the first being the Sonic the Hedgehog movie) because the CGI looks so hilariously weird.
In the end - I hope it's a great movie. We need more musicals - it's a terrific form of both theater and film - and we need more people taking chances at the movies. And if Cats, one of the most successful musicals ever, is a risk (and it is!), then we're in a weird place in movie history.
What I am absolutely going to mock, on the flipside, are people who are having the "waaaaaitaminnit.... a musical! About CATS?" reaction to one of the ten most famous stage productions of the past century. You sucking at knowing about things outside of your little window of expertise is not everyone else's folly. Pick up a magazine or newspaper sometime.
So, anyway, between now and the holidaze... look forward to my non-stop coverage of CATS!