When Victoria is abandoned she meets up with a group of cats on the night where one cat will be picked to go on to a new life.
First, is Cats about reincarnation? Because it’s never really explained what it means to be the Jellicle cat, who ascends to the Heaviside Layer to come back as a new cat with a better life. One thing Cats has going for it is that it is unlike any other movie released this year, this decade, or possibly ever. Based on the famous musical this theatrical version is able to keep the essence of its roots.
A lot of the blame for Cats feels like it can be laid at director Tom Hooper’s feet. Cats It’s visually jarring, while simultaneously being an achievement. The original trailers did not do the feature justice. When the film starts the visual of a person/cat is awkward but is easily adjusted to. The music, while not particularly catchy, with the exception of Memory performed by Jennifer Hudson is enjoyable if only for the moment. The acting in the film overall is good, but characters such as James Corden’s Bustopher Jones, Rebel Wilson’s Jennyanydots and Idris Elba’s Macavity feel totally out of place. Or does the rest of the movie feel out of place and it was supposed to be as jokey and whimsical as they were?
The story overall is thin and extremely difficult to understand through the first act and into the second (especially for me, with no prior knowledge of Cats at all). For a musical that heavily uses magic with its characters, the film lacks any spark or magic itself. The film overall is just so different you have to applaud them for trying but it can leave the audience with so many questions. There are moments where everything around the “cats” is correctly proportioned. And other times where you could be left wondering why is this room normally proportioned as if the cats are now human-sized with chairs and a stage. Why are these cats most of the time walking in two legs and occasionally crawling on all fours? Another issue is that it’s hard to tell if this story is supposed to be actually happening or is it a weird hallucination of Victoria who hit the ground pretty hard when abandoned.
Overall, Cats is a movie that feels targeted at previous fans of the musical. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the film is terribly dull with a dearth of life. Cats is a movie you should watch one day but not necessarily in a theater. As stated, Cats is a unique and special film and it could have been a spectacle but ends up being totally dull and unexpressive. Not to mention there are several cringeworthy cat jokes like “what’s the matter, Cat’s got your tongue?”
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