What’s up with the creepy ‘Cats’ trailer?

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I don’t want to sleep alone anymore. And definitely not with my cat. Sorry, Morty.

There’s no other way to put this, but the Cats trailer looks like the kitty litter has hit the fan. And I really, really want to unsee it.

I’ll be very upfront, I was never a huge fan of the 1981, Tony-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway musical. The musical is based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a book of poems about cats.

The musical ran for more than 7,500 performances over almost two decades, making it the longest-running musical on Broadway for its era — until it was eclipsed by another Webber production, Phantom of the Opera.

Now, director Tom Hooper (2012’s Les Misérables) has assembled an all-star cast for the film. Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Judi Dench, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson are set to star alongside some of the world’s greatest dancers.

I still never really got the love. And I LOVE a musical. That said, I do respect that the musical has a passionate fan base. I do wonder if they will stick by the film adaptation after the release of the first trailer released last week.

So why is the trailer creepy? Director Hooper apparently made a creative decision to skip the iconic Broadway costumes and go with what is called, “Digital fur technology.” Essentially a post-production a team of animators would use “digital fur technology” to add fur to the actors. The final result gives the actors catlike bodies while leaving their faces largely human. Take a look at the trailer below, then let’s meow in pain about this.

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Really? The actor who played Gandalf and Magneto is a naked furry cat?

What was Tom Hooper thinking? Heck what was Amblin, the production company thinking? What was Universal, the studio, thinking? The resulting hybrids have ears and swishing tails but human hands and feet — and, as many pointed out, boobs.

Big, round, jiggly human boobs. On cats.

If Cats didn’t want to imitate the stage version by using humans in makeup and costumes, which admittedly resembled The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, why not go with the realistic animation Disney is currently using with The Lion King? It ain’t doing too shabby, raking in $75 million this weekend. It also worked for Disney’s Jungle Book.

I’m not alone in thinking this CGI blending of humans and cats is “car crash,” “nightmare fuel,” and “weird” as was stated on Twitter. Rainn Wilson (The Office, The Stream) tweeted, “I just saw the trailer for Cats. I’ve decided to remove my eyes with a spoon and only listen to Norwegian death metal until the end of time.”

Here’s an even creepier version of The Cats trailer, where the soundtrack from Jordan Peele’s Us is used:

Is the film doomed for failure? I’m not sure, but from the looks of the trailer it’s something only a furry (a subculture interested in anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics) could love.

Cats spray theaters across the country on December 20.

Source: Twitter

 
Contact Colin Costello at colin@reelchicago.com.

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