If Tom Hooper is capable of taking Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical and digitally rendering cat fur onto humans, then there's no telling what else the Cats movie has in store for us. While the reactions to it since it debuted this week are, um, mixed, it has already cemented itself as an unforgettable pop culture moment of 2019 just under the wire, giving an updated spin on a classic story. But just how updated? Diehard fans of the production are mostly in it for the music, and the feature film does have some surprises up its sleeve when it comes to updating the score.
First and foremost, there's Taylor Swift's original song, "Beautiful Ghosts." It is the only major addition to the soundtrack, sung by Francesca Hayward and later reprised by both Judi Dench and Jennifer Hudson. Swift's version appears again in the end credits.
The movie also makes a pretty big change to one of the songs, "Mungojerrie And Rumpleteazer." While both the musical and movie give the cats heavy cockney accents, the melody is entirely different in the feature film. Here's the original:
And here is the 2019 version from Cats the movie:
There haven't just been tweaks to the soundtrack. Unfortunately, the film adaptation straight up cut some of the lesser-known songs from the original Broadway show, including "The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicies" as well as "Growltiger's Last Stand."
But the DNA of the original musical is very much there — whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is very much up to you.
Cats is in theaters now.