Let the Memory of the Cats Movie Not Live Again

18 Dec

Cats movie posterFull disclosure: I’m not a fan of Cats the musical. I’ve seen a lot of Broadway shows over the years, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s feline songfest is one show I really didn’t like. I even enjoyed Starlight Express more. Yes, I like the roller-skating show more than I like Cats. If you know anything about Starlight Express, you know that’s really saying something.

But even with that in mind, I wasn’t prepared for just how much I didn’t like Cats the movie. We all knew going into it, based on the trailers, that this wasn’t going to be a good movie. But holy hell, is it bad. Jennifer Hudson is pretty much the only redeeming thing about it.

How bad is this movie? Well, since cats have nine lives, let me tell you nine things I didn’t like about it.

  1. The source material. What may seem to some (including parents of young children) like a cute show or movie about cats is really anything but. Cats is based on the poems of T.S. Eliot, and it has the slimmest of stories. Basically, the show is just a collection of unrelated songs in which every main character sings a number about who they are, until there’s a pageant and one of them is chosen to die so he or she can live another life. Really. And, with the exception of “Memory,” none of the songs are particularly memorable. Many of them are barely hummable! Did I mention Cats is a terrible show?
  2. cats movieThe visual effects. I don’t understand how Universal could allow Tom Hooper (who also helmed the disappointing adaptation of Les Miserables seven years ago), to release a film in which the visual effects are so unfinished and so unconvincing. There’s the “digital fur,” which, I mean, it is what it is. (Creepy. That’s what it is.) But the real problem with it is that every one of the cats looks like a face (badly) pasted on to a CGI body. That or actors wearing furry, full-body, skin-tight suits. Equally bad: Even though the movie was supposedly filmed on real sets, there are many, many, many scenes where characters’ feet don’t even touch the ground, and it’s clear they were shot on green screen. It’s ridiculously bad, and downright embarrassing.
  3. Taylor Swift. Cats has an interesting cast, to say the least, full of names that will bring in ticket-buyers, and none of them is a bigger draw than Tay Tay. Well, be warned: T-Swizzle doesn’t comes on until about two-thirds of the way in, when she drops from the rafters to sing “Macavity.” It’s essentially a glorified cameo that, thankfully, lasts only about five minutes — and let’s just say she does not have a voice for the theater.
  4. Jason Derulo. Similarly, I don’t know what Jason Derulo is doing in this movie. Or thinks he’s doing. And no, he doesn’t say “Jason Derulo!” when he first appears on screen. (Though someone at my screening did exactly that for him. LOL)
  5. Rebel Wilson. Can Rebel Wilson play someone, anyone, or anything, whose entire character description isn’t “overweight and dumb and unfunny?” Apparently not.
  6. All the cat puns. Oh yeah. There are a lot of them. They really milk the double-entendres.
  7. Jennifer Hudson in CatsIdris Elba. Oh, Idris. What have you done?
  8. It’s not bad enough. We’ve all seen movies that are so bad that they’re actually fun because they make you laugh throughout. Ma is a recent example; it was so ridiculous in parts that you just had to laugh at (or with?) it. Well, Cats is not so-bad-it’s-funny bad. It’s more of a head-scratcher than a laugh-maker. With one big exception …
  9. That ending. Just when you think the film is over, there’s one more song in which Judi Dench’s Cowardly Lion — I mean, Old Deuteronomy sums up what we’ve all just seen, and imparts wisdom like, “A cat is not a dog.” Seriously. If you’ve been wanting to laugh up till then, you will surely do so during this song.

Okay, fine. There’s one more good thing to say about Cats the movie: It’s only about an hour and 45 minutes long. After a year in which so many movies easily tripped the two-hour mark, that this one was on the shorter side is definitely a positive.

Don’t go see Cats. Not even if you’re curious and think it can’t be that bad. Trust me: Yes, it really is that bad.

I’m giving Cats a D.

One Response to “Let the Memory of the Cats Movie Not Live Again”


  1. No Matter How You See Them, These Movies from 2019 Are Worth Remembering | Martin's Musings - December 30, 2019

    […] Cats Let the memory of this movie not live again. […]

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