FILM

We Deserve the New "Cats" Trailer

Don't act like you didn't watch it.

After seeing the horrendous first trailer, some of us hoped that Cats would reconsider its decision to feature eerily realistic and yet incredibly uncanny cat-human hybrids.

This has not happened. The cats in the latest trailer are mostly buff, large-breasted, and endowed with human features and very feline fur. They look like something out of the worst acid trip of all time.

Joe.ie

Overall, the new trailer is like Alice in Wonderland if it were redesigned by the corporate overlords in Sorry to Bother You. If their appearances weren't odd enough, there's the fact that—as The Cut smartly pointed out—the cats appear to be different sizes in almost every frame. They must've taken whatever pill Jefferson Airplane is talking about in "White Rabbit," because they're sometimes very large and sometimes very small.

Then there are the psychedelic colors, the swirling shots pieced together like the rough cut of a montage for a Tame Impala video, and the endlessly cheesy one-liners.

Honestly, the cats in Cats would have been so much easier to look at if someone had made the decision to use regular costumes instead of whatever CGI they're trying out.

The Cut

On the other hand, Cats itself is a bizarre and strange musical that does feature humanoid cat-dancers. Iit's supposed to be disorienting and dreamlike, and it's predicated on the suspension of belief. Based on a series of poems by T. S. Eliot, it's an abstract and nonsensical show about a colony of wild cats that dance and sing their way through an unruly haze of cat parties, nostalgia, and magic, for God's sake.

But the musical is mostly noteworthy for its extraordinary dancing and its charming music; the rest is fluff. On the other hand, it seems that the movie will mostly rely on the star power of its very famous cast, which includes James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson, Taylor Swift, Dame Judi Dench, and Jason Derulo, all of whom somehow agreed to having their faces and body shapes coated in CGI fur suits. Maybe the fact that these people are so famous and familiar is part of what makes the preview look so peculiar. It's as if our cultural avatars have been filtered through a bad photoshop job or ingested a couple of nasty chemicals from the MK-Ultra era; strangers would've been easier to bear.

On the other hand, maybe Cats is what we as a collective society deserve and need. After all, it's not like we live in a logical world. Today, in the era of social media, streaming, and endless TikTok loops, it takes something absolutely absurd to grab our attention for longer than a 24-hour news cycle, and by proxy, media is becoming more bizarre, more psychedelic, and more outlandishly self-referential. Maybe Cats' oddness is just a roundabout marketing scheme.

Regardless, the real world often seems as topsy-turvy and plotless as the Cats trailer. So, keep dancing away under the Jellicle moon, cat-humans; we'll be watching in blissful horror, and lapping up every frame.

Cats – Official Trailer | MTV Movies www.youtube.com

Music Features

On This Day: Shakira Liberated Everyone's “She Wolf”

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

By Fabio Alexx

11 years ago, on July 10th, 2009, Colombian singer Shakira released the first single off her third studio album.

"She Wolf" is a synth-pop banger built on a B minor progression. It was, in many ways, an insane song, born out of the singer's own frustration and ennui.

"I was in the studio in a bad mood that day, then I got inspired and went to a corner and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in 10 minutes. The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting," Shakira said.

Though the music was composed by John Hill and Sam Endicott, lead singer of post-punk band The Bravery, the lyrics were all Shakira's own. "[Shakira] contacted him (Hill), asking if he had any stuff," said Endicott. "We never had her in mind. We just made the thing independently of her, and then she liked it a lot, and she sang over it. She used some of the melodies we put in there and then wrote these crazy lyrics about being a werewolf. And that's how it happened."

Shakira - She Wolf www.youtube.com


Keep Reading Show less
FILM

11 Disney Plus Movies That Are Weird to Watch As Adults

Sometimes ya gotta confront the demons of your childhood, especially when they were created by a bunch of overworked, underpaid animators in a California warehouse.

If you grew up with a TV, chances are you spent a lot of your childhood watching Disney movies.

Do you ever wonder where all those images and stories went? They must be lurking around in our brains somewhere, having embedded themselves into our psyches when we were at our most impressionable.

Because of this, watching something you last saw as a six year old can be distinctly surreal, especially when you realize just how strange, messed-up, and often, wildly psychedelic so much of the media you consumed as a youth was.

Disney Plus has entered the streaming game, and naturally, it's sure to rake in billions despite the glitches. For better or for worse, Disney was part of most of our childhoods. If you're looking to tap into some of those hidden reservoirs of childhood memories and nightmares, look no further than these 11 odd films. Many of them hold up, but others are full of cracks and flaws you may never have noticed.

1. WALL-E

This heartwarming story appeared to be about a cute little robot, but it actually was very clearly about the climate crisis. In 2019, when scientists predict untold suffering due to global warming and natural disasters are picking up in speed and ferocity, WALL-E's desolate vision of global apocalypse feels...too real. Also, since Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are considering space communities, the surreal spaceship habitat that houses all the remaining humans in WALL-E hits a bit too close to home.

Empire

2. Fantasia

This film was made in 1940, and if you view any of the clips, you'll notice that every frame seems to have been spawned from some sort of psychedelic experience. What was Fantasia? What is Fantasia? The truth is that no one really knows—Fantasia exists beyond human comprehension, in a sphere all its own—but the music is magnificent and the imagery is so surreal that you'll be amazed that you just accepted it as a kid.

syfy.com

3. Sleeping Beauty

This film was made in 1959, so it can be forgiven for its lack of feminist sensibility, but still… watching the prince plant a totally non-consensual kiss on a woman who is mostly only known as "Sleeping Beauty" is rather disorienting. If you're a woman who was raised on princess movies but are still wondering why you're having so much trouble getting over the impulse to be shy, submissive, and acquiescent, look no further. (The same goes for Snow White, who also goes to live in a house with seven strange men).

1000-Word-Philosophy

4. Robin Hood

Robin Hood was kind of a militant socialist. If you've been motivated by Bernie Sanders in recent years or have been organizing since you were a teen, watching this movie and seeing Robin Hood's dedication to redistributing the wealth can feel oddly resonant and inspiring.

animationsource.org

5. Hannah Montana

This isn't a movie, but watching Miley Cyrus gallivant around in her blonde wig as the super innocent, ultra-perky Hannah Montana will inevitably be disorienting for the adult viewer. Cyrus has spoken openly about the struggles she went through while filming the show, saying that playing Hannah Montana made her "hate her body" and leveling other critiques at the franchise. Watching the show is eerie in that it'll remind you of the days of your innocent youth—before you ever saw Miley Cyrus naked (which simply became a rite of passage around 2012)—but maybe it'll also make you realize that you have a lot of internalized sexism.

HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, Miley Cyrus, 2009. Photo: Sam Emerson/ ©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett Entertainment Weekly


6. Dumbo

Is this movie a critique of animal abuse or an insane, racist acid trip, or a bit of both? The crows are racist (their leader is literally named Jim Crow), and there's a racist song, etcetera. In one scene, baby Dumbo gets drunk and hallucinates a parade of pink elephants. Scarring? Undeniably. Poor Dumbo. This movie is almost sadder to watch as an adult knowing just how sad Dumbo's plight actually is.

Dumbo's dream www.youtube.com

7. The Black Cauldron

This movie is not as well-known outside of Disney aficionados, as its release almost brought down the entire franchise. Made during Disney's "dark period" when the company was experimenting with horror and new technologies, this genuinely creepy movie is often called the "darkest Disney movie ever." I definitely remember watching this as a kid and being seriously terrified by the skeleton crew and onscreen suicides in this film. In that way, it makes sense that the film has amassed a cult following largely made up of the generation it scarred for life. Sometimes ya gotta confront the demons of your childhood, especially when they were created by a bunch of overworked, underpaid animators in a Glendale warehouse.

Rich Menga

8. Alice in Wonderland

Like Fantasia, some of the imagery in this movie is undeniably eerie and almost too surreal. The fact that Alice winds up at a strange luncheon with a Mad Hatter where time doesn't exist? That she takes something that makes her grow small, then large? That she falls down a rabbit hole? What drugs were the people who made this movie on? Or perhaps the better question: What weren't they on? As a child watching this movie, I imagine that I developed some strange ideas about reality and rabbits that haunted me to adulthood. Also, the movie brings up complex questions about physics, math, philosophy and more—that's a lot for a children's fairytale.

steamcommunity.com

9. Beauty and the Beast

This one has also been discussed ad nauseum, but Belle...lets a man imprison her and then falls in love with him. This is Stockholm Syndrome at its finest. She gets imprisoned and then marries the man who imprisons her. Sure, it's a tale as old as time, but I think that in the recent live-action remake, we all let our feelings about Emma Watson's vocals and the Beast's anthropomorphization overtake the simple strangeness of the tale.

Crosswalk the Musical: Beauty and the Beast www.youtube.com

10. Cars

Cars is full of adult humor, from the stoner hippie bus character Fillmore to the scene where Lightning McQueen's fans "flash" him. Actually, it's implied that the cars have sex, so that says more than enough. What universe is this?

Slate.com

11. Hunchback of Notre Dame

This movie is adorable and charming in a lot of ways, but it also has an undercurrent of disturbing sadism and sexual violence. Frollo harasses Esmeralda to no end, and she's almost executed at the end of the film. There's torture, death, abuse, hallucinations…

Then again, all that is part of what made Disney movies so enduring, right? Kids get exposed to a lot growing up, and if all Disney films were all squeaky-clean and innocent, that would defeat the purpose of stories, which are meant to relate to people and resonate across ages and demographics. That doesn't mean that it's not strange to look back on these films after a while, but what's funny is that a lot of these strange films were also some of Disney's greatest. If anything, the grains of reality that Disney built into their fanciful stories are what make these films that much more powerful and timeless.