I’ve been trying to avoid it. God knows I have. I saw dark visions that came to me in a fever-drenched sleep, to crawl up my bed and torment my unconscious mind; also, a lot of screenshots on Twitter. So I’m finally here, guys: I’m finally going to watch the Cats trailer.
I’m the resident musical theatre kid around these parts, and the only reason I’m looking at this is because it’s the most people have been talking about musical theatre since fucking L* L* L*nd, and I feel the need to smear my opinion all over it. In truth, even I have little-to-no love for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s profoundly strange (but very well-scored), iconic musical. Everything about it is just primed to take the piss out of. When people parody terrible musical theatre, this is what they’re having a go at. Maybe the film can change that, though – maybe I’ll come out of this experience shaking my head and cursing my former self for being so foolish as to think this was anything other than a masterpiece. Or maybe I’ll piss myself in fear when I see Taylor Swift in her uncatty valley feline outfit. Join me on this stupid endeavour, won’t you?
0:06: You cannot tell me this isn’t the start to the new Luca Guadagino classic Giallo horror remake of Cat People. You cannot.
0:08: What the fuck is that? I’ve seen pictures of this hideous Doctor Moreau creation, but somehow, in motion, it’s worse; like a re-animated corpse, so wrong, so profoundly wrong.
0:18: Memory is, by far, the best song in Cats, an utter banger than gets me the fuck going whenever I hear it. Is it enough to block out the violent visual assault of these cat people? Never.
0:26: Judi Dench manages to make her costume look alright, somehow. Now that’s acting.
0:40: I feel it’s fair to say that every version of Cats is on a sliding scale of creepiness, but this is at the hard end of outright “I would not bring children to see this”. Something about the way they move is just so…wrong.
0:50: Did you know Jason Derulo was in this? I don’t know how I found out, but I’m pretty sure the Raven from the poem came and crowed it from the top of my door while I was sleeping. It’s as if they went out of their way to make everything about this unlikeable.
0:59: It stuns me that James Corden just continues to be. Not alive, but so very…present. Everywhere I turn.
1:05: I have every faith that if anyone can make this work, it’s Idris Elba. Also, he’s Macavity, the only cat with an ounce of edge in this story, so he’s got that going for him.
1:11: The less aggressively CGI-d these catachters look, the more bearable they are; Ian Mckellan looks almost alright, but maybe that’s just because he’s Ian Mckellan and he could act the bollocks out of this if you made him do it while juggling forty actual kittens.
1:26: Look, I know Tom Hooper somehow made Les Miserables work for a wide audience – and that’s a three-hour sung-through operetta about the French revolution and with an objectively terrible leading duo – but he’s overshot himself with this one. Tom, you’ve gone too far. Turn back, Tom. There’s still time.
1:42: Everything about this montage sequence is emotionally devastating to me. I feel betrayed by the very concept of musical theatre right now.
1:56: You can’t just paper over the fucking cracks of this with Memory, dammit! It’s a great song, this is a fine performance of it, but this is still a violation of my human rights!
2:06: Jennifer Hudson trying to emote through that CGI and make-up! No! No! I reject this! Don’t suck out my human emotions and use them for this farce! Give them back! Give me back my ability to feel, you sick musical adaptation!
Fuck. I wonder if there was a moment, when this trailer was being put together, when the editors exchanged a grim, knowing look, and sudden;y realized what a disaster they had gotten involved in. It’s worse than I could possibly have imagined. Even the talent here feels like an affront of wastefulness. I don’t have a sign off for this. I need to lie down and think about my life, and see about getting this trailer exorcised from the internet.
By Louise MacGregor