“Cats” is, well – it is something that was captured with film cameras. That… and a whole ton of CGI special effects that make the people in the movie resemble a cat. It is perhaps a ‘Snapchat-filter’ movie of an actor made to look – oddly by any stretch of the word – like a type of feline hybrid. They become a disturbing cross-breeding experiment with human DNA. Plus a lot of Dancing. Plus a lot of Singing. Plus a lot of famous actors – ones who poorly sing and poorly dance. So, that is a movie, correct?
“Cats” is based on well loved Broadway musical (by Andrew Lloyd Webber). That was derived from a book of poems by T. S. Eliot. And now, the man who created a movie version of the Broadway musical “Les Misérables”, Tom Hopper is attempting to do it again. But this hairball of a movie is not going to make anyone’s Kibbles and Bits any tastier. The people who agreed to this concept and make a movie version of “Cats” must have overdone it with the catnip. They must have been high on something…
It starts with something about London streets at night, and an abandoned cat named Victoria (Francesca Hayward). The ‘Jellicles’ are cats out on the street with a lot of singing an dancing to do. Each one is on some quest to be selected for a great honor. They will sing and dance (again) to show how worthy there are to a wise old cat – Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench). She will make the choice to see which cat will ascend to the Heaviside Layer. That cat will be reborn and will better in a new life. Was this once known as the “Heaven’s Gate” cult?
All the cats hear the story of Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), who loves milk — and the ladies. There is another song and dance story about Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) — and she is special becaue she can train mice to sing and cockroaches to dance. Yup. pretty special. Then get prepared for Bustopher Jones (James Corden), and his special cat power is that he is — fat. He eats alot. That’s it… But wait, there is also Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), who once was fancy and now looks crappy – but boy – she sure can belt out “Memories”. Hey, and let’s not forget Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen) who was a old forgetful cat who once was the pride of theater stage door.
But there is a terrible cat on the prowl named Macavity (Idris Elba) . He is evil and mean, and he cat-naps all of the other song-and-dance contestants so that he will be the only selected by Old Deuteronomy. But he has other hench-cats working for him. One of these evil kitties is Bombalurina (Taylor Swift). She is ready to sing, and maybe dance a little. But not Act… no not that… Anything but Act! What a waste to speak of a plot, because a plot is something that “Cats” just ain’t got. Please don’t try to make knighted actor sing (Judi Dench). And don’t try to make a popular singer act (Taylor Swift).
“Cats” was a noble idea that got a lot of very talented people involved. But unfortunately, the end result is something that will need to be cleaned out of the litter box. In spite of the talented actors and dancers – there is no way to look at the screen and not feel a lot of unease. The human-shaped cats (with unwieldy human faces) are just too weird to comprehend. The famous show tunes are sung with a lot of gusto, but even the supporting music sounds cheap. It sounds like an old Casio home keyboard most of the time.
Yup, chalk it up to the movie that killed future musicals for a really long time. Hollywood would not want to see a ‘Cat’-astrophe like this any time soon. They would rather scratch their own eyes out…
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Screenplay by: Lee Hall, Tom Hooper
Based on “Cats” by: Andrew Lloyd Webber ( from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” – by T. S. Eliot)
Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Francesca Hayward
Music by: Andrew Lloyd Webber, Taylor Swift
Length: 110 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude and suggestive humor