Back in April, at CinemaCon, Universal unveiled the very first behind the scenes footage from Tom Hooper's Cats, at which time many of us (read: anyone not intimately familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name) learned that the human performers in Cats would be made, via the use of oversized sets and various CGI effects, to be the size of actual cats.
"You idiot," the internet screamed at me. "You absolute rube. The cats in Cats have always been the size of cats! Haven't you seen the musical?"
Well, no, I hadn't, but a few months later I decided I'd do just that: I laid out $70 of my own, hard-earned money to see Cats performed live, so that I might experience the magic first-hand. After reading and failing to understand the Cats plot synopsis on Wikipedia on many occasions, I assumed all would finally be made clear. Turned out, the real thing was somehow even more baffling than I could have imagined.
All of this left me - a gentleman known for his deep and abiding love of Ill-Advised Cinema - positively frothing at the mouth to see what Tom Hooper would do when tasked with bringing one of the most inexplicable things I've ever seen to the big screen. How does one spend untold millions of dollars on a musical whose songs sound as though they're being made up as they go along? How does one make Cats remotely accessible to the average moviegoer when it contains only the barest semblance of a plot? Would someone like Hooper find it within himself to tame Cats, or would it just come across as ridiculous? What would the cats even look like, what with their fancy "digital fur technology"?
Oh. My. Motherfucking. God.
First things first, the cats in Cats are, indeed, the size of cats. The "digital fur technology" that's been brought to bear here isn't terrible, but there's absolutely an uncanny valley effect at play, particularly in shots where the performers are shown in close-up. There is a distinct and unfortunate "Mike Myers in Cat in The Hat" vibe to the proceedings. I am discomforted by their appearance.
Secondly, it must be said that this film has an impressive cast. There, I've said it.
Third, and finally: the trailer reveals virtually nothing about the plot, a decision surely borne out of necessity. You watch this trailer and you understand that Cats is a movie about people in cat costumes doing cat-related things, but there's nary a whiff of the bizarre terminology ("Jellicles", "Heavyside Layer") and formless plotting you'll be confronted with upon seeing this in action. Needless to say, I am delighted.
But what do you think? Please provide us with your first impressions via the comments section we've helpfully provided for you below, and do stay tuned for a truly upsetting number of Cats-related updates between now and the film's December 20th arrival in theaters.