The Cats movie nerfed Mr. Mistoffelees
Other than studying a newbie association of “Reminiscence” for piano after I was 15, I walked into Tom Hooper’s 2019 movie adaptation of Cats with little information of the hit Broadway musical it adapts. I walked out deeply modified, shaken to the core with a newfound hyperfixation I by no means noticed coming.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Cats, which is now obtainable on digital launch, is … a variety of issues. It’s horrifying. It’s fantastic. It contaminated my mind to the purpose the place I spent all of December and far of 2020 thus far belting out “Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat” and the a part of “Macavity: The Thriller Cat” the place the music will get all sluggish and windy and the cats congregate and go “We have to discover Outdated Deuteronomy.”
I additionally walked out of the film with a tiny crush on Mr. Mistoffelees, as performed by Laurie Davidson. The film model of him is tender and candy, extra timid than among the bombastic cats ( you, Jason Derulo Rum Tum Tugger), which makes him a extra sympathetic love curiosity to Victoria the White Cat (Francesca Hayward, the closest factor to an viewers surrogate that we get). After Outdated Deuteronomy (Judy Dench) is kidnapped by the nefarious Macavity (Idris Elba), Mistoffelees saves the day along with his magical powers. However he’s so shy that whereas a lot of the cat characters get songs to boast about their significance and abilities, Mr. Mistoffelees’ signature tune revolves round him slowly discovering the arrogance to make his magic work. I used to be smitten. I even modified my Twitter identify to “Mrs. Mistoffelees” at one level, as a result of I’ve no disgrace.
So deep within the Cats vortex was I that I made a decision to observe the 1998 Broadway recording, the one most individuals grew up watching. I needed to see the tune and dance that the film, admittedly, didn’t do a lot to showcase. And watching the Broadway model, I realized one thing helpful: the Cats film completely nerfed Mistoffelees.
The Broadway setup to the tune “Magical Mr. Mistoffelees” is identical, in that it comes proper after Macavity kidnaps Outdated Deuteronomy, and the cats panic. However in contrast to the film, the place Munkustrap (Robert Fairchild) turns to Mistoffelees, who then spends the tune timidly attempting and failing at varied magic rescues, the stage present begins with Rum Tum Tugger hyping Mistoffelees up. The truth is, Mistoffelees doesn’t seem until the top of the primary half of the tune, when he descends from the ceiling in a jacket festooned with flashing lights, a god-cat descending amongst mortals.
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Together with his first spin towards the viewers, he modifies the stage lighting. And that’s only the start of his fantastical powers. The cat shoots Drive lighting out of his paws, setting fireplace to the encircling set. He pulls a large, glittery rainbow cape out of his prime hat. He isn’t timid. He’s assured, however not cocky; certain of himself, however not obnoxious. This can be a cat who can save the day, and the viewers isn’t doubtful about that.
As a result of this tune is mainly Tugger crooning about how superior Mistoffelees is, it comes as no shock that there’s an ardent fan base of “Tugoffelees” shippers. There isn’t a touch of that within the 2019 model, the place Munkustrap begins out singing the tune, and Mistoffelees takes over. The truth is, a variety of the stage-show songs are taken over by their respective cats (as an example, Bustopher Jones), now singing about themselves, which is definitely a selection. Timid Mistoffeelees having to hype himself up within the film endeared him to me, however the stage efficiency, the place he instructions the room with out even saying (or singing) a phrase, modified my coronary heart.
I get that Hooper and his group had so as to add some dramatic rigidity to Cats to provide it some semblance of a plot. If the cats don’t know that Mr. Mistoffelees really has nice cosmic powers that may summon glowing 20-foot-long rainbow flags from the void, that does add some stakes, I suppose. His stage equal is, to be truthful, extremely OP, so it is sensible to tone that down a tad. What if he can’t really summon Outdated Deuteronomy? Gasp! Intrigue! Drama! The film’s plot is extremely skinny, however including a second of rigidity does assist. It additionally positions the right second for Victoria to understand what a catch Mistoffelees is, and he or she joins in for a verse of his tune. So, all proper, certain. Cats the film is an adaptation; it doesn’t must comply with the beats of the musical precisely. Not that the shoehorned plot itself does something for the musical, however the modified scene does assist transfer occasions alongside.
However in the end, the plot is pointless, so the character assassination of Mr. Mistoffelees is as effectively. Absolutely the great thing about Cats is the actual fact it’s actually simply cats introducing themselves, hoping one in all them will get to die. Yeah, Macavity pops in for a second to kidnap Outdated Deuteronomy, however that doesn’t occur as a result of Macavity is definitely a risk. It’s simply so the true plot of Cats — which is cats introducing one another in fabulous dance and tune — can proceed. The Rum Tum Tugger will get to make use of this disaster as an excuse to introduce the unique, omnipotent Mistoffelees. And OG Mistoffelees doesn’t hesitate. Nobody doubts him. He’s omnipotent and really magnificent, marvelous, and magical. The Cats film did him mistaken.