Earlier today, the fabric of the space-time continuum stretched and rearranged itself. The Cats trailer dropped. It prompted a handful of questions.
1) There are cobbles on the street. Is this Victorian London? There’s also a lot of neon. Is this Las Vegas? There’s also a person on all fours arching her back like a cat, even though she’s obviously human. But she has a tail. I don’t know.
2) She just turned around and, holy God, she has a human face, cat ears, a white leotard the texture of coir matting, and a forehead like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What is she? Am I high? Is she high? Is this the final glitch in The Matrix that ushers in the end times?
3) This sounds like Jennifer Hudson singing “Memory.” No one should sing “Memory,” apart from maybe Maude Apatow. There’s a neon sign in the background advertising a “milk bar,” which means we’re fully committed to the idea that these monstrosities are cats. Either that, or this is a trippier remake of A Clockwork Orange. A man in an extravagant hat just slipped through an iron gate, so I’m sensing the latter.
4) There are lots of cats now! One just arched his back menacingly at the lady cat, like real cats do. Then he took her hand. Which they don’t. Are they dancing? Do cats dance? Are Post-its engines? Is cream cheese avuncular?
5) Dame Judi Dench is here. Who would do this to Judi Dench? Why is she wearing a fur coat? And not a cat-fur fur coat, a fur-fur coat. She says, “I haven’t seen you before.” Why not? Dame Judi’s face looks like an albino peach. I don’t know what to do.
6) There are so many cats! All arching their back and adopting a catlike physicality! They’re doing something that I can only describe as “cavorting” in a sick-green bedroom. The most concerning thing is how small they seem to scale with the furniture. They are almost … cat-size. Are they actually cat-cats? Why are they dancing in pillow fluff? Why is the lady cat wearing a necklace? Is one cat a pearly king cat? Why does he look so concerned?
7) Jennifer Hudson has just appeared peeking out from behind a curtain and I think she’s a tabby cat? The graffiti behind her is distracting. Do cats like street art? How do they hold the spray cans?
8) I’m pretty sure the cats are now putting on a revue in the supermarket from The Handmaid’s Tale. Why?
9) James Corden is apparently in this. And Jason Derulo. And Idris Elba, although from what I can see he remained unblemished by cat hair? This is good and just. Sir Ian McKellen, by contrast, looks like he fell asleep on a radiator covered in pile fabric. Taylor Swift is wearing a unitard and high heels, which is unsurprising: I’m guessing she wears those things a lot. But can cats wear high heels? Can they fit their padded feet in works of leather or synthetic vinyl? If cats wore shoes made of animal skin, would that make them cannibals? Cattibals? Swift has a red sequined container labeled “Catnip” that she’s shaking and I don’t think we should go there.
10) Rebel Wilson is a tap-dancing marmalade cat who gets one of her hands, sorry, paws, stuck in a mousetrap. Why are there candles behind her? None of this fur looks safe around an open flame.
11) They’re all dancing and singing now. Jennifer Hudson is belting. How did Tom Hooper go from The King’s Speech to this? What screwed-up dollhouse are these cats living in? Why is one of them sitting down at a human table with a knife and fork? Is this Animal Farm? Four legs good, two legs completely bonkers?
12) I don’t know that T. S. Eliot would approve. But he did write The Waste Land. “He who was living is now dead / We who were living are now dying / With a little patience.” Yup, that about sums it up. It makes sense now. The end of the world is here, and Cats is showing us fear in a handful of digital fur.