Plot: What’s it about?
Cats was the longest running stage production of all time, thanks to some fantastic performers and incredible musical aspects. It is true that the idea of a bunch of singing cats doesn’t seem like much, but with the great writing, production values, and performances, Cats never fails to entertain. The rigors of performing the show caused even the most talented workers to leave after short times on the production, but there was always a new influx of talent to take over the roles. This disc features a blockbuster performance of the show, loaded with a dream cast of workers and some fantastic production design elements. I think this edition manages to conjure up all the magic and spectacle of the real deal, which should please fans of the show and first timers alike. This is one disc I know my collection wouldn’t be complete without, I am sure many of you feel the same way.
Cats broke all sorts of records and won a massive fanbase over the years, so it was only a matter of time before it saw a DVD release. Universal first issued Cats a while back, but now they’ve slapped a new banner on it and sent it back out again. No new features or audio/video treatment, just a new label and a new look. In other words, if you have the previous disc, then there’s no need to snatch this one. But if you don’t own the disc, then you might as well pick up this one, the new commemorative label is pretty cool. This is a filmed version of the stage production and while I don’t always like that, this one is a tremendous effort and really captures the magic of the show. The cast is loaded with hand selected performers, who are considered to be the finest to play the roles, so this is as good as Cats gets. I like the dream cast approach, as this disc will serve as a sort of time capsule for the production and it will be remembered under the best circumstances. This is a terrific presentation of a classic stage production, so I give it a high recommendation to all those interested.
Video: How does it look?
Cats is shown in a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. The lack of added resolution causes some edge enhancement, but nothing too extreme in the end. The colors seem bold and sharp, with no signs of smears or smudges. Even the complex makeup on some of the characters looks rich and detailed, which was a real surprise. The contrast is stark, but allows for a high level of detail and black levels are well balanced at all times. I do wish this was anamorphic, but even as it stands, this transfer looks pretty good.
Audio: How does it sound?
The disc offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 option, which provides an immersive and effective experience. The surrounds kick up a lot, but never to the extent of forcing things, which means the whole deal seems natural. A musical is going to test your system of course, but it shouldn’t push too much in the end. The music and vocals seem very well balanced and distinct, while the surrounds make sure it all usurps the viewer into the production. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround track and English captions.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc includes a thirty minute documentary, which reveals some the behind the scenes scoop on the production. I was pleased to find this included and I think fans will love to watch the footage as well.