The backlash to the ‘Cats’ backlash is here. Watch the bonkers new trailer
Maybe—just maybe—there’s hope for “Cats.”
Universal Pictures just dropped a new trailer (above) for the Broadway-hit-turned-movie and honestly, it’s making us feel some kind of way. We’re definitely not loving it—but our reactions are now closer to morbid curiosity than the sort of anaphylactic shock the first trailer induced.
Along with the entire internet, we coughed up a hairball upon the first glimpse in June of this wannabe blockbuster, which is due out at Christmas. (See “The surreal, creepy new ‘Cats’ movie obviously needs a John Mulaney rewrite.”) The new trailer is still bonkers, but somehow more ... logical? Relatable? Inevitable? All of the above?
The top comment on the YouTube version of the trailer right now is “This is so bizarre but I can’t take my eyes off it,” which is probably exactly what the Universal marketing team is hoping for. Another upvoted comment reads “This trailer already explained more of the plot than the entire Broadway show did 🤣 I finally get what the story is about.”
Indeed. The new trailer foregrounds the idea of “Cats” as a sort of feline reality competition. “Tonight is a magical night,” Dame Judi Dench says in voiceover, “where I choose the cat that deserves a new life.” To underscore that message, glittery typography spells it out: “THIS CHRISTMAS ... MANY WILL COMPETE ... ONLY ONE CAN WIN.” A little later we see “YOU’RE INVITED ... TO THE MOST JOYFUL EVENT ... OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON”—which ... yawn. Sign us up for some high-stakes “Hunger Games”-meets-“The Masked Singer” lunacy!
Speaking of “The Masked Singer,” that Fox TV hit, now in its second season, has normalized the idea of B-list celebrity furries. “Cats,” the movie, takes that new pop-cultural baseline reality and, if the new trailer is to be believed, ups the stakes by pitting A-listers Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellan, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Jason Derulo and James Corden against each other in a ... fight to the death—err, lack of a ninth life ... or something? Claws out and all?
Who cares what T. S. Eliot and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber originally had in mind? A nasty, star-studded cat fight suddenly feels about right for 2019.