Feline queasy: eight urgent questions about the Cats trailer

If you saw the Cats trailer last night, you won’t have slept and may still be shaking. Here, we begin the process of trying to understand what happened

There was a time in your life before you saw the Cats trailer. That’s hard to believe, I know. It might feel as if your every waking moment since birth has been plagued by monstrous visions of howling piliferous, sexualised Brundleflies, but I assure you this is merely a blip. Soon, some other supposedly prestigious director will release a trailer for another terrible musical where the cast have been digitised to look nightmarish and half-formed, and you will move on.

In the meantime, I have some questions about the Cats trailer.

1. How big are the cats?

Cats 1

This shouldn’t be difficult. In TS Eliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the cats are the size of cats. In the stage musical Cats, the cats are the size of people. But here? It’s hard to know. In one shot, a cat just about fits into a standard dustbin (too big for a cat), another gets its paw stuck in a standard mousetrap (the correct size for a cat). Then there’s this shot, where an entire cat is roughly the size of a standard dining knife (too small for a cat, much too small for a cat). How the hell are audiences supposed to enjoy Cats if they’re constantly trying to discern scale, Tom Hooper?

2. Why does Dame Judi Dench, a cat with fur, wear a coat that is made of her own fur?

Cats 2

Did Dench specifically grow out her fur so that she could cut it off and make it into a coat for her to wear, even though that would be redundant because she was already wearing the fur? Or did she seek out a number of cats with identical fur to hers – maybe even her own relatives – and brutally skin them so she could wear them as a garment? Is Dame Judi Dench the Ed Gein of cats? Logically, it has to be one or the other.

3. Why do the cats have breasts?

3 Cats

“Remember Catwoman? She’s sexy, right?”

“Yes Tom, she’s sexy”.

“Could we make our cats as sexy as Catwoman?”

“I’m not sure that would work, Tom. Catwoman is a woman who simply assumes feline characteristics, whereas the cats in Cats are literally cats.”

“I get it. It’s OK to want to have sex with Catwoman, because when she takes her clothes off she’s a naked human being. But it isn’t OK to want to have sex with a cat, because cats are already naked, and if they take their fur off then they’re just pulsating masses of blood and sinew?”

“Yes Tom, that’s exactly it.”

“Nah, screw it, let’s give them tits anyway.”

4. When will Rebel Wilson ever catch a break?

4 Cats

By now, Rebel Wilson has played the exact same character in about 300 films. The repetition of having to be the clumsy, too-confident, overweight comic relief again and again, no matter the film, must be exhausting. So she must have been thrilled to get a call to play a role in a tentpole film by the Oscar-winning director of Les Misérables. Except, oh, wait, no, she’s playing the exact same character in this as well. Still, at least this character is covered in a kind of harrowing woodland moss. That’s something, right?

5. Wait, did James Corden just vomit into another cat’s face?

5 Cats

Finally, a question with an answer. James Corden did not vomit into another cat’s face. James Corden spat food into another cat’s face. I hope this helps.


6 Cats

Jason Derulo, performer of hits like Swalla, Wiggle and That’s My Shhh? Jason Derulo, deliverer of the lyric “Is it weird that your bra reminds me of a Katy Perry song”? Jason Derulo, whose biggest screen role until now has been playing Ronald Dawson in one episode of the little-loved television adaptation of Lethal Weapon? Yes. That Jason Derulo.

7. Just how badly does Jennifer Hudson want another Oscar?

7 Cats

Hugely. Enormously. With every atom of her being. Hudson’s rendition of Memory in the Cats trailer – performed in the manner of someone standing on a motorway bridge trying to warn motorists of a cow in the road – is clearly meant to be this film’s answer to Anne Hathaway’s I Dreamed a Dream moment in Les Misérables. That performance won Hathaway an Oscar. However, that was because Hathaway was playing an orphaned sex worker who has to sell her own teeth to feed her daughter, set against the backdrop of France’s violent June Rebellion; and not, say, a funny cat in a film about cats.

8. What am I doing with my hands?

8 Cats

Oh, that’s right, I’m involuntarily peeling the skin off them because apparently that sensation is preferable to looking at any more footage of screaming, digitally augmented, uncanny valley feline hell-mutants. This trailer made me vomit, and wet myself, and now I’m peeling the skin off my own hands. Are you happy now, Tom Hooper?

• Cats is in cinemas in December.


Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

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