This week we learn that nothing is ever really gone. Take Cats, for example. You thought you left it in the past of odd novelty musicals. But pair it with some upsetting CGI fur technology and suddenly the imagery can never be erased. It’s too late. You’ve already seen it and it’s in your brain.
Finally, the world will have an answer to the question that has been on our minds since we saw that trailer: What in the world is a “jellicle cat”? Is it an allegorical cat? A metaphorical cat? A cynical cat? Or a rabbinical cat? And what in the world is a “gumbie” cat?
Most importantly: can Tom Hooper direct a dance sequence?
Hooper had previously introduced us to extreme close-ups of Hugh Jackman in his adaptation of Les Miserables. The movie was full of extreme close-ups and quick cuts to multiple angles, which I assume was meant to accentuate the singing. Hooper now turns his attention to singing and dancing cats who have names like Rum Tum Tugger, Jennyanydots, and Bustopher Jones. The techniques employed in Les Mis will not likely benefit dance, which thrives on long takes and challenges the viewer to appreciate the unreal combination of athleticism, grace, and storytelling.
The film stars Francesca Heyward, a Kenyan-born English ballerina, in the role of Victoria. I suspect she and her dancing prowess will be the best thing about the film.
I’ll be honest with you: I really hadn’t appreciated dance sequence in film before. What piqued my interest though, was when that viral video mashing “Uptown Funk” with classic Hollywood dance sequences started making the rounds. The message is simple: the physicality of performers from 60 years ago (and divorced from the sometimes unhip music and the often stuffy non-dance portions of the rest of the movie) is still amazing to modern eyes. Since then, I’ve marveled at the illusion dance can create: how performers can seem spontaneous and light on their feet — which in reality took hours and days to perfect.
Here’s today’s prompt: What is your favorite cinematic dance sequence?
Some of my favorites: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the climactic number of Swing Time; Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds flipping over that sofa in Singin’ In the Rain; Gene Kelly and the Nicholas Brothers doing ridiculous clown dancing in The Pirate; the opening sequence to Austin Powers; all of Rize; the colorful Bollywood excesses of both Dhoom 2 and Dhoom 3; and the opening sequence of Climax.
Climax missed my Best Movies of 2018 list… but man is that dance sequence mesemerizing. It’s definitely the number one movie in my Best Dance Sequence of 2018 list.
If you haven’t voted your Top Ten films of 2018 and 2019, it’s NOT TOO LATE!