Cats in Cats the movie Musical

Hilarious Twitter Thread Definitively Explains Who the Cats of Cats Are

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Last month, many of us were shocked speechless by the appearance of the head-scratching, mind-melting trailer for Tom Hooper’s Cats film adaptation. The 1981 Andrew Lloyd Webber musical had long been a camp staple of Broadway, but something was lost in translation with the decision to render the actors via CGI into … cats. Weirdly-sized, strangely humanoid, bizarrely-faced, sometimes-breasted cats. For those of us still confused as to who all these cat-personages are, we have a handy guide courtesy of film critic Hannah Woodhead.

Woodhead, an editor at the movie site Little White Lies, is also clearly an expert on all things Cats-related, a status that is both a blessing and a curse in our Tom Hooper’s Cats dark timeline. She was kind enough to let us share her viral Twitter thread, which provides the only Cats character run-down you will ever need.

I don’t know about you, but after reading Woodhead’s thread, I felt entertained, enlightened, and yet also somehow more afraid. My Cats stage at age four didn’t prepare me for this; all I recall is that “Mister Mistoffelees” is the second-best song in the whole musical. If you’re wondering what the hell Cats, a production based on a 1939 book of whimsical cat poetry by T.S. Elliot is even about, Woodhead also has an exemplary Twitter thread to that end. It might help you understand, at the same time that you become yet still unmoored from reality.

For Cats fans who are genuinely excited for the movie, I’m not here to harsh on your catnip. I love musicals, I occasionally love movies of musicals, and I’ve partially forgiven director Tom Hooper for his crimes committed in Les Miserables, the movie adaptation of my favorite musical that inexplicably allowed movie stars to sing through their parts undubbed.

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I think the junkyard heap I really can’t leap over here is the CGI cats decision. The Cats musical costumes and stage makeup were the stuff of over-the-top theatrical legend. They could have been given the million-dollar treatment, providing us with Idris Elba in the leotard of our dreams, but instead we have nigh-on unrecognizable nightmare fuel. If someone could just explain to me why Dame Judi Dench, as a wise ancient cat, is wearing a fur coat on top of her … fur skin, I might be able to sleep again at night.

(via Hannah Woodhead on Twitter, Hannah Woodhead, images: Universal Pictures)

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Author
Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.