There has been a lot of discussion online about the new Cats trailer since it dropped late yesterday. Much of it has been quite witty, some of it has inevitably been mean and negative, parts of it has been frenzied. The consensus seems to be that the starry cast, digitally altered to look more feline, all come across as a little creepy. There is no denying that it all looks very Dr. Moreau and having seen it I’m now marginally disturbed by my own pet cats, Mary Poppins and Bert, but the problem is actually simpler than that.
When they announced that Tom Hooper, the director of Les Miserables, was doing a movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous musical the big question was how? On stage the performers were dressed up in leotards with school fair face paint and stick on ears and it worked. It was very stagey but it was a staged production. To transfer this to film was going to take something more though. Whispered promises were made about how the latest computer effects would do something astonishing. This sounded quite tantalising but we didn’t know specifically what the players would look like. Surely the singers and dancers wouldn’t just look like people but would they look like cats? How would that work? I have to say that these last few months I’ve been quite intrigued by this. Well as it turns out expectation has lead to disappointment. For me curiosity might have killed cats. Now that the first previews are out we know that while in the stage show it was just people dressed in catsuits, for the movie they’ve used stunning cutting edge technology to make it just look like people dressed in catsuits.
The problem is that these guys look like every other single person that’s ever dressed up as an animal in a tv show or a film ever, from the 1988 BBC adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to Doctor Who. All through today it’s been bugging me how reminiscent it all is and all day related images have kept popping into my head.
In fact they are less convincing than most of these other screen creatures. Its the muzzles that are wrong, they’ve all got human lips and noses. Facially they look about as much like cats as Danny John Jules did in Red Dwarf.
I’m not going to be rabidly critical but it seems as though they’ve missed a trick. Perhaps after the response they’ve had they’ll go back their computers and work a little more magic like the director of the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog film has pledged to do after that trailer came out.
Old Possum never imagined any of this.