This film has haunted me for literally days. I cannot stop thinking about it. I wish that I could.
As you all may know at this point, Cats has majorly tanked. I kept reading bad reviews which honestly just made me more interested in seeing the disaster. So, I braved the theater and I have seen things that no human being should ever see.
Let me preface this by saying that I do not enjoy the stage musical Cats. I cannot stand it. There is no story. It’s adapted from a series of poems by TS Elliot. I saw it on stage once and hated every second of it. So, I already was going in apprehensive. It only got worse.
Now, if you’re reading this review, you’ve probably already read others. So, I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on the bad CGI. I just have a couple of questions: 1. How did nobody notice that the faces were not proportional to the bodies throughout the film? The sizes kept changing. 2. How many people said “yes” to releasing this film? Did they all see the same film I did?
The biggest question that I have and the biggest complaint that I have is in regards to Tom Hooper. Why is a major studio still having Hooper direct musicals? Les Miserables was a mess. It was mocked in the musical theater community for it’s use of extreme close-ups to convey emotion when, on stage and away from the audience, the same emotion is able to be conveyed. Les Miserables questionable casting choices did not help and the new music written had clearly been an Oscar grab. And Tom Hooper did all of those things again with Cats. In fact, he made even more missteps with this film, choosing to rely on CGI instead of amazing costumes and prosthetic’s, like the stage musical. His reasoning behind that is completely misguided. Hooper stated that he wanted to use CGI because prosthetic’s hinder the performance and ability to show emotion. Okay. Tell that to the cast of the show that had run on the West End for 21 years, Broadway for 18 years, and has been revived a couple of times. (Honestly, I cannot believe that I am actually defending the stage musical Cats right now. I hate Hooper and Universal for this.) Now, opting to rely on CGI would normally be fine. I mean, that’s what Rupert Wyatt did for 2011’s Planet of the Apes. However, it is important to make sure that the CGI is excellent and proportionate to the bodies of the characters AND have an understanding of the size that you want the characters! These three things are so basic. You would think they would be no-brainers.
Questionable casting choices were made. Why Jason Derulo is in this film is beyond me. Rebel Wilson making fat jokes as a cat that SHEDS HER FUR is something that I never needed. The only person that I thoroughly enjoyed watching was Ian McKellan. If there ever was a person born to play a cat, it is that man.
The “Tom Hooper Signature Extreme Closeup” made several appearances, most notably during the song “Memory” where we were able to see all the snot that was dripping from Jennifer Hudson’s nose at all times. They CGI’d everything, but they kept that? Cool.
Honestly, this film astonishes me. I’m astonished that a film that is clearly horrible was released. I’m astonished that somebody at Universal, even for a second, thought that Cats would be an Academy Award contender. And I’m astonished that they thought the film that they spent $100 million dollars making would make between $15 and $20 million on its opening weekend, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being released the same weekend. The film didn’t even break $10 million in the United States and only made $11 million worldwide.
One last note: whoever decided to make this film, a film about singing and dancing cats, as sexual as it was, there is a special place in hell for you, where all you will ever see is this monstrosity:
(I’ve deliberately chosen not to include many photos from the film, as I did not want to subject you, the reader, to that nightmare fuel. You are welcome.)