Universal decided to stoke cat-scratch fever early and unleashed the first trailer for “Cats” upon an unexpecting public on Thursday instead of Friday. Was that a good idea? Who knows? But it just might be the weirdest darn movie musical ever. Maybe the weirdest movie ever, period.
Here is what your unbelieving eyes will see: Strangely humanoid felines that skitter across London cobble stones and leap through the city streets. They also pounce about in an ornately decorated home with chairs and utensils that are giant compared to the wee kitties on-screen.
A-list star bodies are made animal-like and adorned with weird skin-tight CGI fur as they walk about on two legs when they aren’t scampering. All the while Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella the Glamour Cat sob-sings “Memory” while the likes of Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson bring Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s 1981 stage sensation, “Cats,” to cinematic life.
Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) previously oversaw another sung-through tune-filled sensation, 2012’s “Les Miserables,” which earned eight Academy Award nominations and won three, including supporting actress for Anne Hathaway. Just like “Cats,” “Les Mis” leaves little wiggle room for a middle ground — people fall head over heels for this theater-camp catnip or they will want to scratch their eyes out. But at least the likes of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe looked like real people in the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 19th-century novel.
Of course, Webber has composed new songs to pad the Oscar chances for the film that is based on T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The show remains the fourth longest-running Broadway musical ever — which might mean it has a similar want-to-see factor as “Les Mis,” which took in more than $440 million worldwide.
Sir Ian himself tiptoed politely onto Twitter after a featurette came out earlier in the day minus any images of the actors in furry guise.
From comments on the "Behind the Scenes" preview of @catsmovie I posted this morning, most of you are looking forward to it, many are curious, and others have their doubts. Come back Friday to watch the trailer for an even better idea of what you have to look forward to in Dec.
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) July 17, 2019
But the social media backlash to the first images from the movie that opens Dec. 20 was swift — Taylor Swift, as it were –and quite hissy to say the least:
This CATS trailer. I have so many things to say to so many different people I need to hire an assistant to help with the logistics.
— Max Silvestri (@maxsilvestri) July 19, 2019
Stewie just saw the “Cats” trailer. pic.twitter.com/vNuYqa1TLl
— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) July 19, 2019
— Scott Wampler™ (@ScottWamplerBMD) July 19, 2019
twitter poll: how long will it take into the runtime of cats before i feel the strong urge to set myself on fire? based on the trailer i give it less than 20 mins.
— Joe Marino (@joemarinooo) July 18, 2019
Film Twitter after the Cats trailer dropped pic.twitter.com/dSOwDfsx2j
— Andrew (@Truly_Defective) July 18, 2019
Me opening up Twitter to read everyone's Cats trailer reactions pic.twitter.com/xmvGHoPocc
— untamed shrew (@rutheist) July 18, 2019
GRIZZLED UNIVERSAL EXEC: So, how did the Twitter launch go for the CATS trailer?
YOUNG UNIVERSAL SOCIAL MEDIA PERSON: Well, I can say with utter sincerity that everyone is talking about it. Everyone!#CatsMovie
— 🥃Donald Clarke📽 (@DonaldClarke63) July 18, 2019
the entirety of film twitter watching the cats movie trailer pic.twitter.com/gelBh2ZGSM
— mindhunter's pr agent (@pascalfilms) July 18, 2019
Me: Man, I can’t believe I’m stuck in this train for an hour waiting for the track to clear! How could this be worse? Oh, what’s this?
*plays the trailer for CATS on Twitter*
— SBMcLean🦋 (@curlySB_McLean) July 19, 2019
My favorite thing about the #Cats trailer is that it didn’t awaken anything (new) in me, sexually. So. Phew.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) July 19, 2019
— Yahoo Lifestyle Australia (@YLifestyleAu) July 19, 2019