Cats is the newest film adaptation of the famous Broadway musical of the same name. The film follows a group of cats named “The Jellicles” as the newest member, Victoria (Francesca Hayward), is introduced to the group and the ceremonious Jellicle Ball.
I knew nothing about Cats, I have never seen the musical or listened to the music. I have heard the song “Memory” before and the “Cats” episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was hilarious. But that was all I knew about it, and I did not expect the film to be the utter train-wreck that it is.
This movie looked bad from the trailers alone, there were tons of jokes about the movie before it was released, but I had to see for myself what this movie is. The filmmakers and executives for some reason thought that CGI fur would work on human beings and make them believable as cats. It results in the whole film having the uncanny valley effect, and though I did sort of get used to the look in the film, it still was just so bizarre.
There is actually very little plot to this film. It mostly consists of song and dance numbers from different famous people that serve as an introduction to their character. The little plot that there is surrounds this “Jellicle Ball” which is where one cat is chosen to go to heaven and is granted a new life. So needless to say the plot is also very strange. Plus the continuous song numbers mess with the pacing of the film and makes the film drag on and on.
As mentioned before, there is tons of celebrities in this film. Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, and Ian McKellan all star in the film. I cannot tell you any of their cat names, I just know that the Jennifer Hudson cat is badly bullied for some reason. The Idris Elba cat somehow has magical powers since he can vanish and reappear in a new place. James Corden and Rebel Wilson were supposed to be comedic characters, but there jokes fell completely flat and I did not find them funny in the slightest. And Taylor Swift’s one song in the film was pretty bad.
The CGI in this film really can be quite atrocious. Not only are there weird human/cat hybrids, but there are also human/mice and human/cockroach hybrid characters as well. There was also unfinished CGI, all the cats had human hands and I’m pretty sure some of the cats had human feet too. As said before, I don’t know why they decided to go this route when they could have easily used costumes like the Broadway musical since I feel like the hybrid look also took away from the choreography.
When these actors have to act like cats, it’s just weird. There are various moments where cats are nuzzling each other and it made me very uncomfortable. I kept thinking that cats would start making out with each other. There is also a scene where the Rebel Wilson cat is scratching herself around the crotch area, which is not fun to watch.
However, I didn’t completely hate this film. For one thing, the production design I felt was impressive, though it seems that all these cats are unusually small in size. Not to mention that some of the music was enjoyable. I mean there are definitely some bad songs in this film, but you also get Jennifer Hudson singing her heart out to “Memory.”
Overall, I was pretty done with Cats early on in the movie, there is good music and a few nice character moments, but the whole film is hard to watch. I used to think that The Polar Express had the worst uncanny valley effect just because of how creepy everyone looks in it, but Cats may have just taken the cake.
I give Cats a D.