Cats is one of the longest-running musicals in the West End, but can it make the transformation from the stage to the screen?
A trailer for the new live-action movie has been released, but the claws are out for the star-studded film.
The musical has been called “the stuff of nightmares” with critics arguing that the film adaptation will bring terror to future generations.
However, fans say the original musical is strange, and therefore it makes sense that the film needs “bizarre treatment”.
The Toronto Star’s Vinay Menon argues that the “bad” Cats trailer “could only have been made by dog lovers”.
He says that a film trailer only has one job: it should make you want to watch the movie. Instead, the Cats trailer went viral “for all the wrong reasons”.
He calls the original Broadway production of the musical “the stuff of nightmares”, saying that the trailer for the film adaptation “will not ease the terror for future generations”.
Menon argues: “If real cats weren’t so lazy and disinterested, they’d boycott this atrocity or start a class-action lawsuit.
“Instead of wanting to go see this movie five days before Christmas, this trailer will make you want to hang out with domesticated animals who do not talk and walk and dance, all while desperately trying to look sexy.
He adds: “You will crave the companionship of a hamster.”
However, Town & Country’s Chloe Foussianes says that the Cats trailer is “actually good”, arguing that there is still a lot to love about it.
She writes: “Yes, it is weird. The visual approach entirely eschews logic, and despite the star-stacked cast and prestige director Tom Hooper, it seems like there was no adult supervision at any point during production. But that is also why it is great.”
Foussianes says that Cats does not make any sense – it is “just a bunch of songs and cat characters with odd names”.
She argues: “If there ever was source material that needed this bizarre treatment, it is Cats.
“The musical is so, so strange; you could be forgiven for wondering how it was even made at all.
“But it happened, and it was weird and great, and this movie will be too. In a theatrical release schedule ridden with superheroes and other overgrown franchises, Cats will be our escape into absurdity.”
Cats is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats from 1939.
It tells the story of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and an annual cat ritual known as the Jellicle Ball. Each cat makes the case for why they deserve to enter the Heaviside Layer – the feline equivalent of heaven – and be reborn.
It is one of the longest-running shows in the West End and Broadway. Cats received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981, running for a record-breaking 21 years and almost 9,000 performances.
It also ran on Broadway for 18 years, between 1982 and 2000. The musical has been performed in over 30 countries, translated into 15 languages, and seen by more than 73 million people worldwide.
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The live-action movie will not be the first time that Cats has been filmed. In 1998, a direct-to-video release was directed by David Mallet, who directed many of David Bowie and Queen’s music videos. It was a recreation of the stage musical, starring a cast from past and contemporary productions, such as Elaine Paige.
The new film will be directed by Oscar-winning Tom Hooper, known for his work on The King’s Speech and Les Misérables.
It has a star-studded cast, including Taylor Swift, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Rebel Wilson, and Idris Elba.
Cats will be released in cinemas on December 20.
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