a horrifying body horror film about the carnal pleasures of being a hedonistic creature and the tribulations of the jellicle (???) choice. Like staring into the eyes of a beast imitating human form with feline punctuation. The cat skin stretched over the faces of people with incomplete-
You know what? I can’t even finish one thought. I’ve got an all-track mind after this experience, baby. Everything is nothing and something is one thing.
Here is a list of things that occurred in the theater as I attempt to salvage my memory:
I walk into the theater. I am filled with both every fear I’ve ever had and all the dreams I’ve ever desired. I am certain of my fate.
a woman with her children is in the back row. Her son, no older than 9, adorably speaks aloud, “Mommy. There are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 people here!”
Trailers are shown with soft lights in this theater. A perfectly cursed trailer for Robert Downey Jr’s followup to the biggest film of our generation: DR. DOLITTLE. The trailer makes me chuckle. Suddenly, Robert Downey Jr. is fighting a dragon. I laugh some more. But I cannot recall seeing this dragon in the trailer before. At the time of writing this, I am unsure if anyone else witnessed this. I cannot find any trailers online that bear the same end footage. Did CATS begin its early mind meld with me in order to warp my perception of reality? Does Dr. Dolittle truly fight a dragon?*
The lights dim to dark. The first meow occurs onscreen. The cats prance and gyrate aggressively. I already cannot believe my eyes. I can feel my grin reaching ear to ear as I begin struggling to contain my laughter. I fail.
An elderly couple at the end of my aisle rest on one another. It’s wholesome and adorable. The elderly husband says, “what are those?” as the jellicle cat’s continue their aggressive, poorly mapped gyrations. His wife responds, “Those are the jellicles.” He gasps under the weight of newfound knowledge. The explanations will continue throughout the film’s runtime.
During the introduction of Idris Elba’s character, Macavity the Mystery Cat, the embodiment of sin in this tale, the Elderly man asks, “Is that Judi Dench?”
Rebel Wilson’s lazy cat dances and prances all through the house. All the creatures are stirring, especially the mice, who also bear tiny human faces. Rebel Wilson calls them “dinner and a show” implying her slave entertainment is also a future meal. At some point, Rebel Wilson unzips her fur flesh to reveal a fancy dress attire. I could not tell you if this was before or after Rebel Wilson’s parade of human-cockroach hybrid army also joined in the marching prance, only to be feasted upon gleefully by Rebel Wilson and the other titular Cats.
Someone is singing along in several aisles in front of me. They do not last the film’s runtime.
Later, it is implied a dog is in a house chasing some of the cat people. We do not see its face, as we would surely lose our minds just as the Danforth did after he viewed the Eldtrich horror At The Mountains Of Madness.
Another group of people in the dark laugh out with me. It is at this point the film attempts to lull into general mediocrity. But it never does. I remember in third grade when my hands were sweaty. I remember my first anxiety attack. I am suddenly all the ages I have been or ever will be. I remember the faces of those I’ve met.
More people leave. Cowards, or heroes? No one else would even begin to understand. Less than 13 of us now. Maybe 10 survive the full runtime. Hard to say.
Macavity, the mystery cat, begins harvesting his jellicle competition so he can become the sacrifice to the heavens for a new life. His first victim is Rebel Wilson, the laze. Next up is James Corden’s Bustofer Jones, the fat cat who eats much and has Seth Mcfarlane style cutaways. Jason Derulo is a cat that fucks but is not punished for fucking. Cats in the background of his closeups look upon with utter ecstasy, reminiscing of their maximum O face as the Rum Tum Tugger attempts to tug even more. MILK.
Everything is shot with overly wide angled lenses. Perhaps to accentuate movements? But each dance is cut around via multiple angles, impossible to understand the artistry of physical expression unless it revolves around legs lifting up high in the air, shot from low angles so we could see the lack of genitalia as their tails dangle in front of us. Even Dame Judi Dench stretches her leg high above her head. Progressive action? old people do also fuck.
But where do they fuck? They have no genitals. No place to do so, as like Tim Burton’s Gotham City in BATMAN ‘89, the locations are isolated to a few square blocks. We see milk bars, hideaways, rooftop pageantry, wife alleys and the river Thames. Cursed to lust without opportunities to do so, resigning to mere head rubs.
at times you can see the unfinished CG, courtesy of Tom Hooper’s insistent incapabilities of knowing what or where things are required for motion capture or the general essence of filmmaking. Human flesh begs for freedom beneath the stretched out cat fur polish. The closeup of faces and hands beg for mercy. The cats meow, “No.”
Dame Judi Dench stares directly into our souls, insisting she is not a dog, but a cat. My immediate broken laughter hits like a thunder clap. I am unsure if this is a response to the last straw of broken sanity or my subconscious attempting to return to a sense of normalcy.
The credits roll. A burst of noise erupts which I believe is a song from the film to carry us through the credits. I can no longer comprehend the lights and sounds in an ordinary manner. I assume this is what waking up from cryogenic freezing is like. Or perhaps what it’s like to be born again. To be the cock of the walk. Because jellicles are. And jellicles do. And now, so do you.
*update: yes, I have received confirmation by others that Dr. Dolittle will fight a dragon. My mind may return yet.