19th Jul 2019
The trailer for the cinematic production of ‘Cats’ has raised quite a few eyebrows – so much so, we’re questioning whether or not it’s a good idea to remake the classics
The trailer for the cinematic version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats arrived today, and I have thoughts.
To be honest, I always thought Cats was a weird concept. I don’t particularly like or trust cats (the animal), so seeing them on stage – dancing and prancing while singing Memory – never appealed to me. That being said, I appreciate good music and there’s no denying the musical catalogue of Cats is stellar.
Nevertheless, was there really a need to turn it into a live-action, cinematic production?
The trailer, which was released by Monumental Pictures, has been met with some pretty awful commentary much of which the cast and crew will want to avoid. The official trailer has more dislikes than likes on YouTube, and viewers are not holding back their feelings. One commented, “I could have gone my whole life without seeing this”.
Twitter users are also having a field day.
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
I showed my cat the Cats trailer. pic.twitter.com/tSGVi24Amk
— Janna Layton (@JKBartleby) July 19, 2019
— John E Williamson (@JohnEWilliamson) July 19, 2019
james corden in the cats trailer is what i see when i have sleep paralysis pic.twitter.com/xyA95f8kPs
— ?pip? (@pip_cowan) July 19, 2019
Some kind of weird
The remake has an outstanding cast, with powerhouses such as Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, Idris Elba and Jennifer Hudson in leading roles. Rebel Wilson and Taylor Swift are also on the bill, and I’m sure each of these gives an impressive performance. But what seems to be letting the film down already is the animation. While it’s only a trailer and doesn’t give a full reflection of the movie, the outlook isn’t positive.
These characters are half-human and half-cat. Their bodies are of a cat but they have human faces, which makes the whole dynamic feel like an dysfunctional episode of CatDog. Watching the trailer made me feel slightly queasy because, dare I say it, there is something slightly pornographic about it. The way they move and the shapes they pull – I can’t help but shudder.
I wonder if a completely animated version might have worked better.
Remakes: from Cats to The Lion King
The Cats conundrum raises the question of whether or not remakes and reboots are ever a good thing?
Everyone has that one film from their childhood that gives them shivers. For me, it was The Lion King. As an infant, I watched the 1994 hit twice a day.
Completely obsessed and enthralled, it defined those years for me. I didn’t care for Cinderella or the Little Mermaid. I didn’t ever wish to be a princess or to get swept off of my feet – I just wanted to be a lion.
This penchant for wanting to be an animal showcases how weird I was as a child. I once went through a phase of pretending to be a dog and refused to drink milk unless it was in a bowl and placed on the ground in front of me. Thankfully, I grew out of this phase but I never ever grew out of The Lion King.
Related: 19 empowering Disney songs to sing into your hairbrush
From the music to the animation to the story, it became a nostalgic hug for me. When I was sad or lonely, Timon and Pumba were there; and when I was hungover, Can You Feel The Love Tonight could detox my body through tears.
When I heard there was a remake in the works, I felt both excitement and trepidation. I was buzzed to relive the songs and story all over again, but I was worried that the remake wouldn’t retain the magic the original had.
On July 19, the live-action version is being released nationwide and the reviews are not the best. Many are criticising the animation teams for making the lions so realistic that they can’t express emotions on their faces – and emotion is one of the main pillars of the original.
I’ll wait until I see it myself to form an opinion, but first signs aren’t looking too good for this wannabe Simba.
Is it a good idea?
So why do movie makers still insist on trying to reignite the magic of the classics? The only rehash I have ever enjoyed and thought was truly better than the original was A Star Is Born. Disney’s The Jungle Book came close but still couldn’t replicate the artistry of the animation. Every other remake I have seen from Alfie to Ghostbusters has flopped.
The head honchos in Hollywood only seem to see money; they don’t seem interested in creating new magic for new audiences. Some pieces of art should just be left as they are, but it seems those in power don’t realise that.
On my upcoming cinema visit, I will discover if my beloved The Lion King has passed the test. Unfortunately for Cats, we won’t know the overall opinion until Christmas, when it is released in full.
Anyway, if all else fails, we will always have the original – and thanks be to the movie gods for that.
Watch the Cats trailer in full here.
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