The Cats Trailer Reaction Is A Refreshing Reminder Of What Unites Us

When times are tough, as they are now, these moments are not only a welcome relief, but actually really important for our well-being, Daniel Welsh writes.
Universal

It was, I thought, an ordinary Thursday evening. Winding down for the night, I thought I’d have one last flick through Twitter before I turned in, but was surprised to discover my timeline – usually made up of selfies, occasional memes and lamentations about the state of the world – was full of celebrities I vaguely recognised crudely reimagined as cats.

“I don’t remember the last time a trailer was simultaneously so bad and, yet, so undeniably brilliant.”

The trailer for the new Cats film had dropped, and was (and continues to be, at the time of writing) all anyone wanted to talk about. And with good reason: I don’t remember the last time a trailer was simultaneously so bad and, yet, so undeniably brilliant.

It was like that moment Cher stepped out of the helicopter in Mamma Mia! 2 stretched out over almost three minutes, but with James Corden spitting out a hairball at someone and Dame Judi Dench strutting around in an enormous coat made of what appeared to be her own fur.

An hour and a half later, I still couldn’t tear myself away, and found myself rooted in the exact same spot, refreshing and scrolling through the exact same photos, but still finding them laugh-out-loud hilarious and weirdly captivating.

And while obviously people were poking fun at the dodgy CGI, the completely inconsistent size of the cats from scene to scene, and the fact that Corden had somehow managed to wangle his way into yet another huge Hollywood film, the general consensus was that the Cats film was also going to be a hugely entertaining watch. They were still poking fun at it, of course, but it wasn’t with any sort of malice or meanness. As one Twitter user put it: “Mark me down as horrified and absolutely seeing it opening weekend.”

It was a surprisingly nostalgic feeling, seeing an endless stream of people all getting so much enjoyment out of the same thing, and something so silly at that. It reminded me of what Twitter used to be like, when its main purpose was X Factor commentary and weird hashtag games.

Fast-forward to 2019, and there’s no better representation of just how divided we’ve all become than a quick search through Twitter, not helped by the fact the literal US president regularly uses it as his tool to deliver his (usually either ominous, nonsensical or both) public addresses.

With Twitter, it’s never been easier to seek out complete strangers you disagree with and get into a row with them, not to mention having the sexist, racist, homophobic and otherwise oppressive views of others retweeted onto your timeline, ruining your morning just a little bit in the process.

Of course, I’m not suggesting we all bury our heads in the sand and ignore the news, troubling as it can be to keep up with. If there’s one thing the last few years have taught us all, it’s the importance of awareness and not being complacent. Yes, it can be exhausting and overwhelming to keep up with, but Twitter serves as a useful reminder that all in the garden is not rosy, and there’s a lot more we need to continue fighting for and working towards.

But as last night’s reaction to the Cats trailer proved, Twitter has its moments of pure joy, too. And when times are tough as they are now, these moments are not only a welcome relief, but actually really important for our well-being.

Looking through everyone’s tweets, whether they were expressing their genuine disbelief, making jokes, or just, believe it or not, actually looking forward to sitting down and watching the film, it felt so refreshing, and made me realise I couldn’t remember the last time my timeline had been so on the same page about something that wasn’t a national tragedy.

And now that I’m riding this wave of Cats-inspired giddiness, I want more of it. I want more redubbing with horror film music, I want more Sonic The Hedgehog crossover pitches, I want more reaction memes to a feline Jennifer Hudson belting out Memory, while looking like it’s 9am and she still hasn’t been home yet.

It seems to me the only solution is getting Universal to release a new Cats trailer every Thursday night, until the main event finally comes in December. And once that’s done, someone needs to get Andrew Lloyd Webber on the phone about finally getting Starlight Express on the big screen...

Daniel Welsh is an entertainment reporter at HuffPost UK