Cats (2019)

dir. Tom Hooper

Wow. Just, wow. There is nothing, not a single thing, about Cats that is good. It’s a genuine marvel that not one aspect was done right, even accidentally. The mere conceit was never going to work – because of the frankly insane premise and the focus on spectacle over substance, the original Cats only really works as a stage musical. On stage, you can appreciate the costumes and choreography. Those, and a couple of decent songs, are the real impact of Cats. Well, Cats the movie doesn’t do costumes; it instead does profoundly hideous CGI whereupon every single cat character looks like demon spawn sent straight from kitty hell. Cats the movie doesn’t do well with the choreography, either – most of it’s not even visible a lot of the time, with the camera instead choosing to zoom in on Rebel Wilson’s slack-jawed face or James Corden’s idiotic “Ha ha I’m a fat guy” mugging. And even the couple of decent songs are ruined: Memory, easily the best song in the show, is relegated to Jennifer Hudson shriek-howling the whole thing while snot streams down her face. It’s incredible to think a young family may have gone to the cinema to watch Cats, expecting a light-hearted kids’ adventure just to pass the time, and been assailed with this mess of sheer madness. Jellicle choice? What are they talking about? Why did that cat just disappear into a book? Why do they keep changing sizes? Why is Taylor Swift putting on a British accent, but only sometimes? Why did Idris Elba agree to be in this? Good God, is this closing Judi Dench number ever, ever, ever going to end? Cats is a genuinely bewildering experience.

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