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Cats movie trailer reveals Taylor Swift as Bombalurina

19th July 2019

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

Cats movie: Trailer reveals Taylor Swift as Bombalurina and first look at ‘digital fur’ (cnet.com).

Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, image: Universal/Screenshot
Image: Universal/Screenshot

The Tom Hooper directed movie of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic longest running stage musical in both Broadway and West End histories adaptation of T. S. Eliot’s poetry book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats with an ensemble cast including Idris Elba, Dame Judi Dench, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson along with Swift and hip-hop, tap and Royal Ballet dancers set for release in late December.

Pop star Swift will play the role of Bombalurina, a flirtatious cat, and according to IMDB she will perform in at least five of the musical’s iconic songs. It seems the ideal role for the star, who is famously a dedicated cat mother to her own three balls of fluff…

And promising cinema or home streamed ejaculation not only for those that have long prayed for a glimpse of TayTay’s pussy but catnip jizz eruption for furry fans (Wikipedia), with Bombalurina being the flirtatious red coated diva with the hots for the unappeasable rock star-esque Rum Tum Tugger, and giving her the chance to play the mean girl role that has long been her internet persona.

The story is of a tribe of cats called the Jellicles and the night they make the “Jellicle choice”, deciding which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new life.

In the trailer, Swift basks in a giant moon, sprinkling catnip on her fellow Jellicles. It’s just a small glimpse of what we can expect to see from the star, who was shown in rehearsals dancing with Idris Elba. “This musical is timeless,” Swift said. “We got to update it in ways that I think are just so, so, so great.”

Needless to say, Twitter was not amused with the digitally overlaid fur on bodies in post-production, but then, is it ever with being somewhat peeved often result of being easiest route to get attention confirmation bias:

Cats trailer with Taylor Swift and James Corden is here… and it might be the year’s most divisive movie (digitalspy.com).

What we got definitely isn’t something that many were expecting, and they weren’t shy expressing their opinions about this #DigitalFurTechnology.

Perhaps what those “many were expecting” was opportunity to be even more peeved had they had just used the original costumes.

Trivia: A direct-to-video film recreation of the stage musical version was released in 1998 to generally favourable reviews: Cats (1998 film, Wikipedia).

Updated 22nd July 2019

But seemingly the Digital Fur Technology around TayTay’s furry pink ring is not causing catnip jizz eruption from camp furry either:

FYI, even furries think the ‘Cats’ trailer looks bad (buzzfeednews.com).

Eolis, a furry from Calgary, Canada, whose fursona (a term furries use for their animal alter ego) is a lemur, told BuzzFeed News the filmmakers didn’t get the human/cat mix right.

“Furries want something they can fuck/fap to and the Cats movie is not that,” he said. “The ballet aspects are a display of human beauty in movement and form; if you CG that it’ll be trashy. Also Cats is not a particularly comfortable watch to begin with; it’s meant to be like…well Cats.”

The musical aspects presumably not conducive for chaps slipping into copiously furry costumes to Netflix and chill, each with a confused, somewhat uneasy looking plushy on their laps.

Updated 19th December 2019

And after a second trailer (buzzfeednews.com, Nov. 2019) giving Twitter the oppo for a repeat performance of the meme-splattered cattiness that is its raison d’être and with director Tom Hooper admitting he’s redesigned every feline (bustle.com) after the virtual caterwauling the first trailer invited:

Cats most brutal reviews as film branded ‘worst thing to happen to cats since dogs’ (mirror.co.uk).

The overwhelming reaction has been… Cats is the “best worst movie ever made”.

Performances, unsettling special effects and a plot that makes zero sense have all been raised as the film’s worst points.

With reviewers being “absolutely brutal’ the red-top’s own film critic awarding the movie just two stars out of five , so perhaps designed for cult classic status à la the panned on its release The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and one must assume the plot in Lloyd Webber’s lauded stage version or indeed T. S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book made for them somewhat more than “zero sense”:

He said: “I’ve no idea why they’ve squandered so much money on the ‘digital fur technology’, as it still looks as if the cast are leaping around in makeup and furry costumes. At least the set designers seemed to have fun.

“Fans of musical theatre will possibly lap it up, though the kids in my preview screening were noticeably quiet throughout, and it left me feline embarrassed for all concerned.”

With perhaps Frozen 2 having being a safer bet for “all concerned” if the films perceived intended audience was kids, seemingly raises an eyebrow over in the Grauniad:

An orgy of throbbing tails: is Cats the kinkiest film to earn a U certificate? (theguardian.com).

In fact, an agog silence dominated in London and New York cinemas, as critics struggled to process the images which had gone before. Key among the issues raised afterwards was the film’s apparently seething sexuality. One critic described proceedings as permanently on the brink of a sex party. Other reviewers were struck by Cats’s visual and tonal similarity to The Human Centipede, a horror film in which kidnap victims are stitched together mouth to anus.

Leading perhaps to an awful nagging query as to TayTay’s likely position in the furry version of Tom Six’s regrettable Centipede with sewn in place surprised or shock face at moment when it the “head” anguishly has to announce: “Oh shit! I have to shit!”

So perhaps wise that the British Board of Film Certification will not be relied upon to pick appropriate dealers for porno passes for the Tories’ white elephant’s arse of a proof of age scheme after all (Blog 7th June 2018).

[The BBFC’s head of compliance, Craig Lapper] did concede that the BBFC was aware of some disquiet, but said they felt any erotic overtones inferred by adults would likely go over the heads of children.

Updated 21st December 2019

But at least one reviewer retracting his “critical claws” and giving it 4 stars out of five and perhaps validating its potential as a cult classic:

‘Cats is downright demented… but somehow it works!’ BRIAN VINER reviews ‘bizarre’ new Taylor Swift movie interpretation of the popular stage musical (dailymail.co.uk).

Not everyone will think all this is the cat’s whiskers. But if ever there was a Christmas release that will be steadfastly avoided by some and rapturously embraced by others, this is it. In other words, those who expect to love it will see it, and those who think they’ll probably detest it won’t bother to test their preconceptions.

Suggesting earlier in the review that:

“I actually think that eight out of ten cinemagoers will say that they’ve enjoyed it, as long as they go along prepared for what they’re about to see, which is essentially a feline-themed ballet.”

Updated 23rd December 2019

But despite last minute CGI revisions via a downloadable patch (vanityfair.com) to fix CGI fur glitches to alay critic’s ravaging:

Box office bomb: How creepy CGI and bad buzz killed ‘Cats’ (variety.com).

When “Cats” finally arrived in theaters, Universal anticipated that its starry cast—a group that includes Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo and James Corden—mixed with surrounding publicity could muster up at least $15 million in ticket sales. Instead, “Cats” fell short of expectations and clawed its way to $6.5 million at the domestic box office. It was a dismal showing for any major studio release, but especially one that cost $100 million before accounting for global marketing and distribution fees.

Updated 27th December 2019

With acceptance of it falling way short of expectations of studio too:

Universal has abandoned its Academy Awards campaign for ‘Cats,’ shocking everyone who heard it was even a plan (buzzfeednews.com).

[Film critic Jason Adams and others] and others noticed that the studio had removed the musical from its FYC [For Your Consideration] page entirely. The link that would have taken viewers to the awards page dedicated to Cats, which would have had a schedule of its upcoming screenings and the Academy Award categories it was entering, now [leads to a page not found entry.]

With film critic Adams making a point of calling out on Twitter the “assholes” who had almost convinced him to see the movie over his winter break seemingly suggesting anything he may actually have to say about is still second hand via social media’s meme litter tray filled democratization of critique which the rest of Buzzfeed’s story depends upon. But:

While the studio is no longer pushing the film as part of its Oscars campaign, Cats still nabbed some accolades, including a Golden Globe Best Original Song nomination for “Beautiful Ghosts,” written by Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The tune, however, didn’t make it to the final round of Academy Awards contenders, which was another disheartening hit for the film.

But will still leave Swifties purring and likely issuing a virtual furry fatwa against any putting TayTay down.

Updated 11th February 2020

But despite being pulled from Universal’s Oscars campaign there was still mouthfuls of CGI fur to be had:

Cats stars James Corden and Rebel Wilson are accused of using CGI artists as ‘scapegoats’ for box office failure… as the Visual Effects Society takes a swipe at their Oscars skit (dailymail.co.uk).

James Corden and Rebel Wilson dressed as Bustopher Jones and Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat at the Oscars, image © Chris Pizzello/Invasion/AP via Daily Mail article
Image: © Chris Pizzello/Invasion/AP via Daily Mail article

With the duo dressed as characters Bustopher Jones and Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat dressed in furry costumes more akin to the threatre adaption throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the skit with an already clichéd hairball punchline: “As castmembers Cats, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects!”

James Corden and Rebel Wilson came under fire after Sunday night’s Oscars when they made a joke about the CGI effects used on critically-slammed Cats.

The Visual Effects Society blasted the Academy for making VFX the ‘butt of the joke’ on Sunday by featuring Cats stars James and Rebel seemingly blaming bad CGI for their now-infamous film flopping.

The VES saying in a statement that: “The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly”. With the “story” being the part that the majority giving critique and making memes couldn’t give a rat’s rather than cat‘s arse about whether told badly or not, but indeed topped the 40th Golden Raspberry Awards with nine nominations including worst actor, picture, director, and script.

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