Was Cats as bad as everyone says it is?
By now we are all aware that Tom Hooper's Cats is bad. Our own Kaitlyn Booth panned it. If you know me, you know that I love terrible movies. I don't shy away from them. When the first Cats trailer dropped, I was aghast. The CGI, the movement, it was truly someone's fever dream. And I was invested. Typically I'll see movies by myself. But I had a feeling I needed to share this event with someone, and there's really only one person in my life who fully understands my love of awful cinema – my sister Ashley.
With a gift card in hand, we went and saw Cats on Christmas. Her expectations weren't high. We both read plenty of reviews before we came. But what we saw we were not even remotely prepared for. Below is our initial, fresh out of the theater reaction to Cats.
But then I drove home. I had time to marinate on the film, and you know what? It's still awful. But is it the worst movie I've ever seen?
Honestly, no. Viewers and critics alike aren't wrong in how terrible it is. But there is one thing I'll disagree with – the lack of a plot. Cats has a plot. Every year the Jellicle cats get together for their annual ball. Their leader – Old Deuteronomy (Dame Judi Dench) – decides which cat will be sent to cat heaven to be reborn. In order for this to happen each cat sings and dances in an effort to win her favor. What's a Jellicle cat you may ask? From what I gathered, a cat that doesn't give much of a fuck. The cats are all trying to sing and hump their way to the top, while also thwarting the efforts of the evil Macavity (Idris Elba) from winning the top prize and/or kidnapping Old Deuteronomy. Oh, and this entire show is based off of T.S. Eliot's Old Possom's Book of Practical Cats from 1939. I'm willing to bet T.S. Eliot never intended for his book of poetry to be turned into an unintentionally funny musical horror film.
Now that the plot is out of the way, time to get into the nitty gritty. The CGI is God damn awful. It is chilling how bad the CGI is. As I said in the above video, we got the version that hasn't been updated yet. You can absolutely tell where the CGI messes up, or hadn't been finished yet. The cats are seriously the stuff of a fever dream. When you see Macavity in all of his naked furry glory, the only thing running through your head should be; HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO MAKE IDRIS ELBA – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN ALIVE- HORRIFYING TO LOOK AT. The actual crime of that needs to be addressed from now until the end of the time. Hooper did a huge disservice by not incorporating actual costumes into this film, which was one of the strong points of the original Broadway show. Just because you can use CGI, doesn't mean you should. The close ups were also unnecessary. I get that Hooper is a fan of them, but in this case, less is more.
The scale of the cats to everyday items was also weird. Judging by how they compared to human sized items, these cats are either weirdly large or oddly small. In one scene Victoria (Francesca Hayward) can wear a human sized ring as a bracelet. My actual two cats are unable to wear any of my rings as bracelets. How large are the humans in this film? Who edited this and said "Yea this will totally make sense to people". You don't even need to be a cat owner to know the sizing in this film is jacked. This is an actual film in actual cinema's and actually expects to be taken seriously despite the extremely glaring flaws.
There are a lot of characters in this movie. Can you keep track of them all? No. Will you have a favorite cat when you leave? I can't tell you if you will or not, but by the end I was partial to Victoria and Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson). The musical numbers in this vary from legitimately great to "T.S. Eliot is rolling in his grave for what you did to his book". Grizebella (Jennifer Hudson) has the show stopping song – Memory. It's hard not to get a little teary eyed while she begs for anyone to notice her again. Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) has a largely forgettable song, but I'll never forget the singling and dancing cockroaches that have human faces.
God has truly abandoned us.
Special mention should be given to Taylor Swift, who gave a solid performance with the song Macavity. Honestly, everyone did a good job in their roles. But it's hard to look at that objectively when the rest of the movie is telling us what hell looks like. On an unrelated note, this is not Dame Judi Dench's first forray into Cats – she was originally cast in the original 1981 London production as Grizabella and Jennyanydots. However she dropped out of the production due to injury.
Should you see this movie? Yes. You absolutely need to witness this strange and completely original film. I can't promise you'll like it, but you absolutely need to experience it.
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