In all my years as a film-lover, people have overreacted to movies from time to time. The recent responses to the trailer for the 2019 movie adaptation to "Cats" is one of them! What I thought would have been an exciting time; that one of the most memorable and influential musicals of all time was getting its own film, turned into a festival of annoying memes and irritating overreactions. Was the trailer perfect? No, of course not! But the movie didn't seem as bad as people think. In fact, it looks enchanting and elegant, the perfect motion picture for this great story.
For some context, people weren't as enthusiastic as I was for the trailer because they thought the actors looked creepy. The actors who were Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and more. These are some of the most decorated and celebrated actors and singers of our generation. To have such a cast is already quite a feat.
Granted, they were unrecognizable as cats, but so was Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins in the 2017 film Beowulf. In fact, some of them looked too sexy for their roles (this was an animated film) that it was almost unsettling to watch. But it was still a great movie, enjoyable enough to get their autographs on our movie poster.
Back to "Cats," what did you think they were going to look like? The 80s Cheetara-looking creatures from the stage production? That would have been wrong on so many levels! Firstly, their look is so passe. The musical might be timeless, but the costumes sure ain't! And secondly, what's the point of having a film version if it's just going to look like the play? The industry now has all these new technologies and equipment that can make anything possible; even turn a star-studded cast into a bunch of cats. And third, that's literally what they are in the movie. They look like cats, just with humanoid faces!
I, for one, thought they looked alright. You could still recognize them but they were also very feline-esque. Best of all, their costumes allowed them to still dance and move about like actual cats. Their purportedly "creepy" appearances gave them all the agency they need to inhibit and exhibit their roles. The way some crawled and jumped was very cat-like, true to what audiences should expect from such performers. And did you see that dancing? Francesca Hayward is a star in the making! And now, she didn't look creepy at all to me! If you weren't creeped out by Natalie Portman's Black Swan performance, who we even got to sign our movie poster, Hayward's should be just a breeze for you.
Furthermore, the reason why there's nothing to worry about "Cats" 2019 is that we've seen its kind before. We've seen musicals of its caliber in films, complete with extraordinary dancing and classic show tunes. But we've seen humans play animalistic roles as well. Alexander Skarsgård's Tarzan in "The Legend of Tarzan" is a good example. He was extremely animalistic there. But since he had a ripped body, the focus was on his washboard abs rather than his stellar performance. And since these cats, all of which are of high caliber in terms of talent, don't have ripped bodes to show off, they're looked upon as creepy. Now ain't that f**cking unfair?
At the end of the day, I trust the great Tom Hopper, as well as Dench, McKellen, Swift, Hudson, and more, that “Cats” will be a great holiday movie to watch! I already noted it down on my schedule, you should too!