Cats. (2019) Review.

I once memorised TS Eliot Macavity The Mystery Cat for use in a drama class. I love that poem.I’m pretty sure I saw a touring production of Cats on stage but I honestly can’t tell you this for definite. I’ve got nothing against the screen adaptation of Cats in theory but like everyone else who has been exposed to the nightmare inducing trailer we all knew there was likely a major disaster incoming. Having seen the full film for as nightmare inducing as the trailer is it only represents about 30% of what makes the full film one of the most bewilderingly memorable disasters I’ve seen in a cinema and it will be meaned and joked about for years to come.
The film throws you right into the opening number and for the first 10 minutes it’s like you’re watching a bizarre hallucination that you can’t quite believe is real. Not only that but some underpaid and overworked CG artists probably spent hours slaving over these human/cat hybrid monstrosities. The novelty wears off after the initial period and you start to focus on all the other things that have gone wrong beyond the character design. The green screen work is almost as hideous and gives off the impression that’s the the filmmakers wanted to get away with rendering as few environments as possible. The script might one of the worst ever written with enough cut puns to smother any cat lovers potential enjoyment out of watching this trainwreck. The film is trying very hard to mimic the style and choreography you would see in a stage production but does not understand a principle of adaptation is changing the story to take advantage of the benefits the new medium provides. There is none of that here.
It doesn’t stop there. Just mentioning the fact the film features cockroa!ches and mice with human faces will no doubt cause flashbacks to those of you unlucky enough to have experienced the film. It’s been described by some as ” horny” and well this element is nowhere near as bad as they might have been (it is a U certificate after all) the films has enough crotch shots to ensure that someone will be doing an “anatomically correct” edit of the film once it hits streaming/ physical media. If that thoughts not terrifying I don’t know what is.
Most of the cast can’t get past the embarrassing script but three actors are at least trying to inject something into this disaster with varying results. Ian McKellen may be a treasure and brings a certain amount of gravitas to his role but my god he can’t sing to save his life. Jennifer Hudson is singing her heart out during her rendition of Memory but the camera is focused on her hideous CG face and it’s hilariously awkward. If the film has one thing to recommend it might be Taylor Swift who’s sultry rendition of Macavity The Mystery Cat is the one moment where the film kind of works (although the rest said about her pouring her “catnip” on the audience the better.
Cats is every bit the disaster the trailer implies. I’ve seen people say that this will become a midnight movie cult classic but I don’t think so. Once the novelty of the nightmare faces wears off your just left with a series of increasingly baffling decisions piled one on top of the other that makes you question how the hell the film ended up in quite the state it did. It may be enjoyable to watch ironically in 5-minutes bursts I would not recommend it to my worst enemy.

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