My former employers, MPC, have been busy with the photorealistic version of The Lion King for Disney. And, it seems, the film version of the popular musical, Cats.
I do think, however, that motion capture (or performance capture – whatever you like to call it) is perhaps not the way forward for the film version of Cats. We’ve ending up with some kind of weird cat/human hybrid. A werecat, as it were. A style significantly more unsettling than the original stage performance costumes. Sometimes it’s better to get the audience to rely on their imagination rather than spoon feed the buggers with CG monstrosities.
Now, movies made from stage musicals are a good thing. Going to the cinema is (usually) cheaper than a stage performance. It should get more eyes and ears on the show than you’d normally do in the West End or Broadway. But for me, there have been many stage to film versions which have entirely dismissed the intimacy of the stage and thrown the big book of epic at the film, only to have failed miserably. Joel Schumacher’s The Phantom of the Opera was a massive disappointment as a film. But it is magnificent on stage.
Given the reactions to the trailer, it’s difficult to say how well the movie version of Cats will be received when it’s released.
The family cat, Lupin, for comparison. He can’t sing. He can’t dance. He doesn’t require a whole team of VFX artists or computers to bring him to life. But he can certainly eat. Lupin: The Movie. Not coming to cinemas near you. Not unless you tempt him with food.