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It’s been four months since the first trailer for Cats sent Twitter into a feline-frenzy, with reactions ranging from open-mouthed shock to furry-ious anticipation. Now we’ve actually seen with our own very eyes a fresh look at Tom Hooper’s ensemble of Jellicle cats, including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench and James Corden. Far from trying to reset public opinion, the just-released second trailer doubles down on the candy-colored, digital-fur enhanced visuals that inspired so many looks of surprise the last time around. One thing’s for sure: As long as clips from the movie keep going viral, no one’s going to be asking, “What’s a Jellicle cat?” when the movie arrives in theaters on Dec. 20.
For those who are coming in late to the Cats phenomenon, the film is based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s oh-so-1980s Broadway blockbuster (which in turn was inspired by the poems of T.S. Eliot) in which a diverse group of felines compete to see which of them gets to ascend to the Heaviside Lair and be reborn into a new Jellicle life. That competition unfolds at the annual Jellicle Ball, where contestants perform a spectacle-driven series of musical numbers.
Among the cats in contention for resurrection are Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen), who played, in his time, every possible part; the very nimble Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat (Steven McRae); the manners-obsessed Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson); and the mournful Grizabella the Glamour Cat (Hudson), who sings the musical’s signature number, “Memory.” Not for nothing, but the last time Hudson sang the biggest tune from a Broadway classic-turned-feature film, she won an Oscar.
Where the original trailer was mostly an introduction to the film’s... uh, unique visual style, this new one lays out the stakes of the competition and includes more shots of characters like Francesca Hayward’s Victoria (who appears to be the audience’s primary POV cat in this version of the story), Dench’s Jellicle leader Old Deuteronomy and Idris Elba’s devilishly dangerous Macavity the Mystery Cat.
We also see — but don’t hear — Swift singing and dancing as Bombalurina. The pop superstar collaborated with Webber on an original song for the film that she’ll almost certainly be reprising at the Oscars next year. For now, you can listen to it below.
So far, at least, the latest trailer isn’t doing much to bridge the divide between those baffled by Cats and those who can’t wait for Cats. The former group are still predicting cat-astrophe, especially considering the movie’s reportedly extravagant price tag.
Ian McKellen is all of us when new Cats footage drops pic.twitter.com/QJzvMA22kY
— Matt Berger (@abergerhobbit) November 19, 2019
I have some questions...
1. Why are they so small?
2. Why does Judy Denchcat need a fur coat when she is a cat with literal fur growing out of her skin?
3. What the actual HELL is this movie https://t.co/03WS8txX67
— Angie (@korps) November 19, 2019
— Greg MacLennan (@themaclennan) November 19, 2019
I had to watch Taylor Swift as a cat shaking her boobs. The cat boobs are worse than I could have imagined. The horror of it all. The chaos. The pure nauseating confusion. James Corden playing... himself. Judi Dench looking like a murderer. Naked cat Idris??? #Cats #CatsMovie
— Claudia Boleyn🌹 (@ClaudiaBoleyn) November 19, 2019
Therapist: “It’s okay, the Idris Elba cat isn’t real, he can’t hurt you.”
The Idris Elba cat: pic.twitter.com/p5s0yqUHxY
— Carmel (@Carmelcorn_pop) November 19, 2019
The Cats movie reportedly costs $300 million. I really don't know how they spent this much unless the cast got into intense method acting so they knocked over expensive equipment and sets.
— Chibi (@Chubichangas) November 19, 2019
How does Cats have a $300 million budget? I don't even have a joke to make, I'm just confused. I'm not even against this movie existing but I just don't know how it has Avengers Endgame levels of money behind it.
— dDx (@ddx_exe) November 19, 2019
But for the pro-Cats squad — particularly die-hard Swifties — this footage is nothing but catnip.
Me: I have chills thinking about the once in a lifetime cinematic experience December 20th is going to be. Like I’m going to be telling my kids about this someday.
Friend: I know right?! The last film in the Star Wars saga! An end of an era!
Me: what? No? I’m talking about Cats
— chels 🌌 (@mostlychels) November 19, 2019
— Taylor Lover Tour (@TaylorLoverTour) November 19, 2019
— Daniel Hennessy (@DK_Hennessy) November 19, 2019
THE NEW CATS TRAILER IS ABSOLUTELY PURRFECT!!! 😻✨😺 SEE WHAT I DID THERE 😺 I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THE NEW TRAILER!!! THIS MOVIE LOOKS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!! 😻 I’M SO EXCITED && I CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH THIS AS SOON AS IT COMES OUT IN THEATRES 😻 #CatsMovie @taylorswift @catsmovie pic.twitter.com/QUF19oTHp0
— Taylor MET TAYLOR 😍😀 (@Tayloralexiss33) November 19, 2019
— 𝖈𝖊𝖑𝖎𝖆 (@havanaswift) November 19, 2019
— TJ Reviews (@TJReviewsFilm) November 19, 2019
The CATS film will unite us in ways we can’t yet know.
— Tim Federle (@TimFederle) November 19, 2019
One way or another, Cats is coming to theaters in one month. Be prepared to make your own Jellicle Choice whether to see it...or run screaming to The Rise of Skywalker.
Cats opens in theaters on Dec. 20.
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