What makes someone human? Self-cognizant sentience? Physiology? An overpowering desire for meaningful social connection? I would argue, none of these.
What truly separates humanity from the other flesh sacks that rut, hunt and roam this planet is the devastating urge to fuck about with things that really don’t need fucking about with. A curiosity to always push the big red button, if you will, and test the limits of the natural order. It is the mentality immortalised in Jurassic Park by Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum at the height of insouciant fitness). “You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could,” he admonishes park owner John Hammond. “You didn’t stop to think if you should.” This is why Brexit is happening. And this is why Tom Hooper has been allowed to bring Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats to the silver screen. Meow.
The trailer for Cats was released this week and honestly, if you haven’t seen it, it is almost impossible to describe why you absolutely shouldn’t watch it, but – simultaneously – why you need to go and watch it right now.
The whole thing has left me gasping for air because Cats is an abomination; Jennifer Hudson and Dame Judi Dench rendered as curiously small, semi-CGI felines, provokes the same full-body repulsion that staring at a Hieronymus Bosch hellscape would. Cats offends all sensibilities. Cats is what happens when musical theatre kids somehow escape from the locked janitor’s closet they were stuffed into by the school bully and get given a $50 million budget to re-make one of the Eighties’ most bonkers theatrical productions. It didn’t make sense then, and the coke was a heck of a lot stronger. Imagine what experiencing Cats now, in this age of cynicism, irony and mindful drinking, will be like.
Rumour has it that the movie’s been on the drawing board for 20 years – waiting for the tools necessary to make it to be perfected. Now the “digital fur technology” is ready and so is Cats. Except it isn’t and Jason Derulo looks like a melted lion seen through the prism of a particularly harrowing 2CB trip.
Why do we do this? Why must we resist lawful good and turn instead to tinkering with that which we should not? Is the serpent’s apple really so irresistible? Is this why men are chowing down on squirrels, ostensibly to protest veganism? Is this why heat drives people to ride scooters completely nude? Is this why Boris Johnson – a man who is supremely unsuited to the role – is now PM?
Repeat after me: just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
Now, one ticket to Cats please.