The feline film is a flop

Despite star power, “Cats” belongs in the litter box

The time I spent watching Cats is one hour and 49 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Cats, which premiered on Dec. 20, had all the right ingredients for success. 

The inspiring musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber is the fourth longest-running show in Broadway history. With an all-star cast including Ian McKellen, Judy Dench, Idris Elba, and Jennifer Hudson and Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper, the movie could’ve easily surpassed the mediocre reviews for David Mallet’s 1998 film

Instead, this movie provided me with enough nightmare material to last a lifetime.

Centered around a band of cats called the Jellicles, the film focuses on Victoria (Francesca Hayward): a recently abandoned cat swept into their deranged world. On the night of the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy (Judy Dench), the leader of the Jellicles, listens to performances by various cats begging to be rocketed into the sun and die so they may be reborn into a new life of their choosing.

Five minutes into the film, the girl next to me began crying hysterically, and I completely understand why.

What little plot existed was confusing and choppy; it was closer to a concept album strung together by a few lines of dialogue. Victoria’s initiation was the only thing loosely holding the scenes together until the Jellicle Ball itself when I finally understood what was going on.

Victoria listens to one performance after another while trying to discover who she is, fit in with the Jellicles and create her cat name. This all leads up to an anti-climactic ending where she neglects to select one.

Considering the impressive cast, I would’ve left the theatre if the film couldn’t even manage decent singing and acting, but their adequacy fails to compensate for the humor based entirely on slapstick comedy and cat puns.

The film’s one saving grace was the choreography, and Hooper at least had the intelligence to cast a dancer as Victoria. Choreographers Wayne McGregor and Andy Blankenbuehler did an impressive job at adapting different styles of dance to suit different personalities, for example, using ballet for Victoria, hip hop for Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), and tap for Skimbleshanks (Steven McRae).

If I were to summarize the experience of watching this film in one word, it would, without a doubt, be uncomfortable, and the CGI amalgamations prancing around on screen were mostly to blame. The human hands, feet and faces covered in fur and edited onto a bipedal cat’s body were neither feline nor human. Watching the CGI mice with children’s faces pasted on them beg for their lives before being devoured by Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) was somehow worse.

To add to my nausea, the last few scenes of the movie weren’t entirely finished, so the already horrific cryptids now had human skin on their hands and feet. When I left the theater I had all but forgotten what a real cat looks like.

Complete with the odd sexual tension that comes with watching humans rub heads their heads together, cats unzip their skin to reveal more underneath and 30-45 second stretches of nothing but heavy breathing, Cats could very well be the worst film of 2019.

After earning 2.8/10 stars on IMDB and an astonishing 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, I am fully prepared to give this fever dream a single star.