Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1982 stage musical, Cats, follows the Jellicle cats as they decide which cat is worthy of receiving a new life.
As a child I saw a Cats on Broadway. Sure, the entire musical consists of an array of crazy cats just introducing themselves but there was something about the experience that always stuck with me. For example, I still know all the words to “Rum Tum Tugger” and “Macavity”. Don’t judge. It’s catchy.
When I heard the musical was coming to the silver screen and that the actors were going to be CGI cats instead of sporting stage make up and leotards, I was scared. Then I saw the trailer, and well, like the rest of the world, I was horrified.
So with a stiff cocktail in hand and my best gal pal, I started 2020 with a showing of Cats.
Have you seen Tommy Wiseau’s The Room Well this was like The Room but for movie musicals.
Cats is nothing short of a train wreck. Between the nightmare inducing CGI, the questionable “plot” additions or the confusing choice to have everyone “talk-sing”, Cats makes a lot of poor choices and fails miserably.
Like, didn’t Tom Hooper learn ANYTHING from directing Les Miserables? You can’t adapt a musical and completely wreck the soundtrack. That’s like rule #1 of directing a musical.
The only thing Cats has going for it is the dancing. Cats captures the “cat” movements and iconic dance sequences very well due to a talented ensemble. I kind of feel bad for them because they’re all so fresh faced and excited. It’s like they had no idea what they were signing up for.
But acting greats like Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen should have known. Nevertheless, they do a great job with what they’re given. Jennifer Hudson also shines as Grizabella.
I can’t say the same for Rebel Wilson, James Corden or Taylor Swift, who are all over the top to the point of ridiculous. Sorry, Swifties, your girl ruined my favorite Cats song.
However, the biggest misfire of Cats is the special effects. It’s distracting. It’s lazy. It is living proof that not EVERY story needs to be jam packed with technical marvels.
Simple make up would have done the trick. Or even classic animation! We didn’t need furry ears and feet. May Cats be a cautionary tale for anyone else thinking about dabbling with CGI.
But at the end of the day, I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard in a long time. Not sure if that’s what Tom Hooper wanted, but it’s what he’s certainly getting.
Final Thoughts: Cats is a furry, frightening train wreck that you just cannot look away from. You’ll be left all alone with memory…and maybe not a pleasant one.