What: A thoughtful critique of the cats in Cats.
Who: Comics artist and popular YouTuber LavenderTowne.
Why we care: You know your movie has gone terribly wrong when it inspires the Washington Post to run a funny feature on people freaking out while watching it high.
From the time-stopping, involuntary shriek-producing Cats trailer debut to the moment Andrew Lloyd Webber distanced himself at its premiere (“This is very much Tom Hooper’s Cats. I mean, it’s very, very differently conceived to the stage show,”) the film has been an utter debacle. Some might say a movie version of a musical where humanoid cats introduce themselves through song over a period of hours was doomed from the start. Others suspect it’s Hooper’s particular creative vision that’s the problem.
In an illuminating new video, comics illustrator and popular YouTuber LavenderTowne posits that a different approach to character design could have saved the film.
LavendarTowne has “fixed” movies before, but never has one been in such dire need of her service. The cats in Cats are a staggeringly flawed mishmash of items on the checklist of an anime beastiality fetishist. It absolutely didn’t have to be this way.
The most major solution Lavendar proposes in her video is that, instead of actual cats with human faces, the design should be humans donning CGI’d masquerade cat-masks. This touch, she suggests, fits aesthetically into the musical’s setting at a Jellicle Ball. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to have some visual fun with cat eyes, which in real life are famously mesmerizing.
“This will still be weird,” Lavendar notes, “but it will be more honest to what this thing is supposed to be.”
Another big change? Some uniformity in whether the cats in this poisoned fever-dream world wear clothes or not. Some of the cats in Cats don garish outfits, while most are covered head-to-toe in distracting CGI fur. The dressed ones only make the others seem naked, and thus sexualized, and that’s before even taking into account that Taylor Swift’s cat character has breasts.
For 13 minutes worth of further ideas on how Cats could have been less, you know, Cats, watch the video below.