Cats is a Disasterpiece says 100 other sites!
Cats isn’t as bad as others are relating to you from what they were told. But, it’s also kinda trash. Why are these two different things? Hell, why is Universal trying to patch the DCP with a different CG render? Well, all of this and more will be answered in my insane rambling.
Cats is a future Camp Classic says 10 more sites!
When something terrible lands in theaters, streaming, old people TV or in other media formats…people are quick to process it. By process, I mean they turn to their cultural tastemakers to determine its trash status. Many of these peons tends to be YouTube personalities that climb over each other’s bloated diabetic corpses to reach the first webcam to vlog. Others try to compare it to historical models of trash entertainment. What is problematic and what will become kitschy fun for your gay friends to buy future merch to bring back in 5 years, a decade or by the summer?
Andrew Lloyd Webber would be embarrassed if he had any dignity!
Andrew Lloyd Webber is the Broadway equivalent of Jim Davis. Sure, Jim Davis only had 1 major hit, but take a deep dive into what Webber’s other claims to fame happen to be. I’ll highlight the ones you can call hits.
- Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
- Jesus Christ Superstar
- The Phantom of the Opera
- School of Rock
Cats and Phantom are his major money makers. But, what do they have in common? They were the only ones to break out of the Theater Community holding pattern and be recognized across the world. Sure, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar were very much of their time…but where do they rank in popularity now? How many little girls do you see busting out renditions of Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina vs. Memory?
Phantom and Cats are popular for one reason. They’re light fluff that has been designed to be easily accepted by the widest audiences possible. What was once revolutionary is now so commonplace that it has become the watered down bottle of shampoo you currently have packed for your Christmas trip to see your parents. Guess what, people? They’re going to take your ass to see Cats again!
If you’ve never seen a modern musical, this will surprise you!
It’s a movie about Cats boning for Space Cat God’s favor. Well, let’s narrow it down a bit better. The story is about a tribe of cats preparing to meet the supernaturally religious demands of their old cat leader. The youngest are forced to dance about for attention, while the elderly know what waits on the other side. At least, they believe they do. This leads to a handful of carefully curated cat characters making the film move faster than the Movie Musical.
The film also slightly skirts around the fact that Idris Elba can’t sing. But, that’s not what people came to see what many old theater heads referred to as the death of real musical theater. They came to see if Tom Hooper’s avant-garde choices could screw up the most by-the-book musical of all time! Boy howdy, did this one take an uncovered dump in gravel.
Sir Ian McKellan should have been a furry!
Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, James Corden and Rebel Wilson all ate up their roles with their fervor of real fans. Hell, Jennifer Hudson even did her best to make the material stick past the jarring CG effects. What doesn’t work is the translation. When you take something from one format to another, certain concessions are made to make sure the narrative translates. Hell, Steven Spielberg spent most of the 90s trying to turn Cats into animated WWII film.
Why? Well, because time is never really pinned down throughout the story or any iteration. Then, there is the animated factor. Regardless of how you feel about Western animation, it has the means of creating a disconnect for wider audiences. Especially when you mix it with songs and memorable design. People can overlook the fact that they spent 2 1/2 hours watching a bunch of cats have a weird religious orgy that results in sacrificing a cherished tribe member to appease their religious leanings.
Ultimately, your mileage with Cats will be determined by a few things
If you’re wondering if Cats is just straight trash or a future camp classic, the deciding factors will be few in nature. Let’s break them down.
- Can you handle a live-action narrative holding a harsh light to the shaky nature of the Mega Musical original?
- Is the CG really that distracting?
- The film is a heavily edited take on the original show. Entire characters are missing and plot points whittled down. Will that bother you?
If any of that bothers you, then stay home. I’d send you to watch Star Wars, but even the better Star Wars outing can be streamed now. For now, I’ll sit here in shrug. Director Tom Hooper did the best he could in an unfavorable situation. He cast the kind of actors that would cross over to a mega musical’s audience. However, people are so beholden to aesthetic anymore. That CG botch job is going to be parody material for years.
Which sucks because the musical performances work and the film gets the heart of the story. It’s just that a lot of film audiences are going to learn a hard truth during the Christmas season. Andrew Lloyd Webber kinda sucks.