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Everyone who saw the HUMAN FACE/CAT BODY NIGHTMARE that was the first Cats trailer balked at the weirdly flat faces that seemed to slide off the cast’s half-humanoid, half-feline, all-horny bodies. Some thought Universal Pictures might cave to fan pressure, much like the Sonic the Hedgehog brouhaha that unfolded last spring, and manage to stick those faces on by Christmas. They did not, and as a result, Cats is a horrorshow of computer-narrowed cat chins that can’t support singing, human-sized mouths. Strangely, some of the film’s most powerful stars—Dame Judi Dench as a gender-swapped Old Deuteronomy and Sir Ian McKellen living his most joyful truth as Gus the Theatre Cat—make it out okay, but perhaps that’s just because they don’t have to dance.
It’s mostly THOSE FACES that gum up director Tom Hopper’s film adaption of Andrew Lllyod Weber’s musical based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats—which I never realized, until now, seems to be a fairy tale you tell a child after you abandon the family cat. But there’s a lot of other bad, boring stuff going on too: Jennifer Hudson stomps all over Grizabella’s “Memory” with heavy dramatics, and the heteronormative sniffing in this film ought to be finable. (Cats BELONGS to the queer community, so I’d like to see some fucking representation, please! There were so many queer people at the screening, and the boy cats can’t even nuzzle?) Oh, my poor Cats. Oh, my poor, poor Cats.
Cats is now playing at various theaters.