Synopsis: Singing, dancing cats introduce themselves and discuss the upcoming “Jellicle Ball.”
Cats is a fiasco that will make you question humanity’s responsibility to felines and the ethics of financing anything originating from Andrew Lloyd Webber. The musical Cats is bizarre and unnecessary, but at least theater-goers could appreciate the makeup and dancers’ skills. By the way, although the performers go on about going to “cat school” to learn how to move like cats, any cat could tell you that primates only make fools of themselves when they try to capture a cat’s grace. “Cat” is dignified. Cats the musical is inane. Cats the movie is disastrous.
First off, the CGI cat-ification of the actors is risible. It looks like they’ve been body painted after which some “fur” is added in animation. They keep their faces, but get whiskers. They have felty-looking triangle ears that swivel like wind shield wipers. And good God, the tails! For some reason the animators thought the flagpole-like tails should be placed issuing from midway down their bums. Bad. But worse when Rebel Wilson’s cat swings her tail around like a length of intestine. She will do worse things. Eating roaches… rolling her face toward her genitals.
Here are some other things you will see in Cats: cats that are all the size of squirrels…cats wearing hats, fur coats and shoes… Sir Ian McKellen lapping obscenely at a bowl… Dame Judi Dench lounging in a cat basket…a cat tap dancing in boots on a railway.
Your eyes will hurt. So will your head, for there are “plot” additions that only make matters worse. The plot is dumb enough, of course: stray cats who insist on calling themselves “jellicle” cats are preparing for the Jellicle Ball wherein one cat will be chosen to ascend into a heaven-like place. But they will have to “wait for the jellicle moon to rise” which unfortunately gives us plenty of time to be miserable waiting for the movie to end. It’s sort of like standing in the rain waiting for your bus to come.
I feel like there should be a public inquiry into how Cats the movie came to be inflicted on the movie-going public. The inquiry would be paneled by film scholars and cat humane society directors who could question the principals, then determine culpability and dispense justice. Those called to testify would include director-screenwriter-producer Tom Hooper, screenwriter Lee Hall, producer Steven Spielberg and the creator of the original nonsense, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.
I don’t think we can blame dancers and newcomers, like ballerina Francesca Hayward who stars as Victoria, a newly abandoned cat. But Sir Ian, Dame Judi? Hisss to these thespians of renown. I think Idris Elba knew it would suck, but took the paycheck. He has the distinction of playing the expanded role of Macavity, who wants to win the prize at the Jellicle Ball by eliminating his competition. He explodes into pixie dust from time to time. Taylor Swift plays sexy Bombalurina who gets the kitties high AF by sprinkling catnip all over them. I bet that she, unlike Idris, figured it would be a good movie. Btw, Tay-Tay tries out a very practiced English accent. Joe Alwyn probably told her it was good; I mean, he’s her bf so what else is he going to say? Thankfully, her massive career will be unfazed by Cats.
Now we come to Jennifer Hudson… O, lord, she gives the most overwrought performance. At all times she looks like she’s just been given the news that all life on Earth, is, and always has been, meaningless. Her eyes issue rivers of tears while mucus flows from her nose. Her mouth is all aquiver whilst howling ‘Memory.’ On “Graham Norton” the host asked how she could sing with so much weeping. She reported that she had asked the director if he wanted her to sing or cry? So, yeah, basically: Don’t blame me. I was just doing my job. Poor JHud, at one point she actually crawls along the ground in a raggedy cat coat.
Anyway, At the end of the aforementioned inquiry, damages should be assessed and paid out to film-goers and cats.
I see a future for Cats as a comic audience participation feature. I confess to dancing in a cat-like fashion in the aisles at the late night showing I attended. Raaring, hissing and laughing helped us enjoy–if not the movie– the Cats movie experience.