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"Cats" first movie is from 1998 (and better than 2019)

by Ace Damon
"Cats" first movie is from 1998 (and better than 2019)

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Between the controversial end of the Star Wars saga and the attack on the backdoor channel headquarters, another issue was also highlighted this past week: the failure of Cats.

The movie, which opened in Brazil on Christmas Day, had everything to work out – or at least relatively well. It was directed by Tom Hopper (from films like The King's Speech and The Miserables); the cast is full of music and movie stars (Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, and so on); and above all, it is the adaptation of one of the most successful musicals in history.

It had everything to work, but it didn't work. A week before premiering here, international critics massacred the film. There were so many complaints that the comments ended viralizing – such was the mockery. An example? “Cats is the worst thing that has ever happened to cats since (the emergence of) dogs,” headlines US website review. Beat comics.

Almost no element has escaped criticism: direction, script, set, performance … But the biggest target, no doubt, is the special effects that have made the actors hybrids of cats and humans – whose result is, to say the least, peculiar. The subject had already surfaced when Cats's trailer came out in July. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is (at your own risk):

The internet, of course, did not forgive:

“I don't know why everyone is complaining about the CGI in Cats. I thought it was great. ”

The cat climbed on the roof

It is still early to point out all the slips in the film's production, but some have already begun to appear. Director Tom Hopper has revealed that the editing of the musical has been finalized. hours before of the world premiere. Yes, he turned the night around finishing it – just like you with college work.

But I wish it were just minor adjustments. The special effects had not been finalized either, and the result was strange: in one of the scenes, actress Judi Dech appears characterized as her character, Old Deuteronomy, but her hands are flesh and blood. You can even see a wedding ring on one of your fingers:

This is not a joke: CATS was rushed into theaters before being finished so a new version is being sent to theaters with updated effects. How do you know if you have the old version? Look for Judi Dench's human hand, wedding ring and all. pic.twitter.com/VDUOevePU9

– Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) December 22, 2019

Because of this, something unheard of has happened in the world of seventh art: Hopper has ordered an updated copy to be redistributed with the appropriate corrections. Universal, distributor of the feature, suggested replacement of the new version as soon as possible – just like in computer software.

Cats debuted in 1981 in London, and went on to Broadway stages the following year. It was conceived by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the name behind other classic musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and The Phantom of the Opera. The story is inspired by a 1939 collection of poems by the American writer T.S. Eliot, and tells the story of a tribe of cats called Jellicles, who each year must decide in one night which one will gain a chance to have a second life.

The musical is considered by many to be one of most influential in recent decades, and one of those responsible for making way for other blockbusters that followed, such as Wicked, The Lion King, The Miserables, and the Phantom of the Opera himself. Since it was released, the piece has grossed more than $ 3.5 billion, with versions featured in several countries, such as Germany, Japan, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Argentina and Brazil.

First in line

You may not know it, but Cats (from 2019) is not the first movie made about the work. In 1998, a direct to video (directly to VHS / DVD) version of the musical was released.

Directed by David Mallet and produced by Lloyd Webber, he does not reinvent the wheel. Basically, it's a filming of the show, with costumed actors on the stage. Take a look:

Filming lasted 18 days, and was shot at the Adelphi Theater, one of the West End theaters, but without an audience presence. The cast consisted of a selection of artists from the various montages of the show that had taken place so far.

This version has slight changes from the show: it lasts about two hours (40 minutes less than the play), has two unpublished characters and excerpts of some cut songs. The tape was a bestseller, and was shown on television on various channels, such as PBS and the BBC.

In addition, she is rated better than the new movie. In a quick comparison on review-aggregating sites, Cats (1998) scores 7.6 on IMDb, while Cats (2019) has a bitter 2.6. In Rotten Tomatoes, the first version has 81% audience rating, while the second version has 55%.

It may be unfair to compare the two works. The first Cats, in the end, is a (well done) recording of a show (well done), while this year's feature film is an adaptation of the musical to another medium – the cinema. But amid so much criticism, memes and jokes, the discrepancy of the notes is still another tragicomic element.

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