Years from now, movie fans will categorize things as being from before and after the day they watched the Cats trailer. The first look at the upcoming musical adaptation debuted the star-studded cast in feline form, but even fans of the popular stage musical couldn't help but fixate on how terrifying these characters and their world appear. The tweets about the Cats trailer bypass praise and instead focus on the bizarre world the clips have introduced.
Hitting theaters on December 20, Cats is based on the iconic stage musical that originally ran on Broadway for 18 years and returned for a revival production in 2016. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber referenced T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats to create the story of the Jellicle cat tribe and their preparations for "the Jellicle choice," which entails sending one of their own to begin a new life. To be fair, the typical costume and makeup seen in a Cats production was always elaborate and a little scary, but the result of translating these looks to film has fans entranced, and not exactly in a good way.
The July 18 release of the Cats trailer also offered peeks at actors like Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, and James Corden in animal form. This is already the weirdest game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon I've ever seen. The packed cast and director Tom Hooper's overall take on the musical has sent Twitter into fervent discussion about what exactly they're in store for when Cats premieres.
Getting used to the cats' fantastical world is one thing, but moving on from it until its December release is another. Based on Twitter reactions, the more people think about the trailer or even re-watch it, the more likely they are to have these cinematic visions haunt their sleep.
In a behind-the-scenes video released days before the trailer's debut, the cast emphasizes how the production values fun and entertainment over anything else. "This is a moment for you to step into a world that's completely designed to entertain you," Elba, who plays Macavity, says in the clip.
Stepping into the role of Bustopher Jones, Corden also ties the movie's mission to the work of Hooper, who previously directed the movie musical Les Miserables. "I think it could really only be done by a director like Tom Hooper," Corden tells cameras. "He understands the spectacle of Cats."
It may not be a traditional-looking movie, but at least the people attached to Cats understand that this unique world will inevitably lead to strong opinions and comments from fans. Don't judge a book by its cover, but Cats may just surpass these intense first impressions and surprise viewers. Until then, I'll try to avoid looking at some of these cats directly, just to be safe.
Cats is in theaters on Friday, Dec. 20, 2019.