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Film Review


Directed by Tom Hooper
From: Universal Pictures
Released: 12.20.19
Review by Julian Lytle | December 20, 2019 at 8:01 AM
Actually: 1.5

Basically: A movie version of that weird 80s Broadway musical where people play make-believe as cats.

I have to be honest with you, I’ve never liked Cats. I’ve never even seen the musical but Cats was literally one of the most successful Broadway plays of the 1980s, so it was promoted on TV all the time when it was new. I’d see the cast perform on morning TV or late-night shows as the musical increased in popularity and began touring. I’d see these actors dressed up like Cleo from the Heathcliff cartoon with weird makeup and leg warmers (no one in the US said “cosplay” in the 80s). Back then, my child brain saw it wasn’t Zoobilee Zoo and it wasn’t teaching me anything. Cats seemed to be a bunch of adults doing stuff I remember doing in kindergarten. I hoped I’d never see any of these people in real life because I’d run away.

Photo © 2019 Universal Pictures

Fast forward to the year 2019, we all saw the weirdest movie trailer in ages. It featured some of the most famous people in the western world dancing around with CG cat fur all over them. Like bruuuuuh! What were we supposed to take from the Cats trailer other than feelings of weirdness? None of that stopped this movie, though, although the studio worked on it to make it look better. 

And now we are here. The release of Cats, the film version, directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper. This man is no stranger to adapting popular Broadway plays to film. In 2012 he directed Les Misérables and it was a very good film version of a play with great songs and dope performances. However, Cats is not it. It is not the move. It’s pretty bad. I don’t know if it’s because it doesn’t have the thrill of a
live stage performance but I don’t even buy that. I don’t think the movie
Cats is
good, PERIOD.

Photo © 2019 Universal Pictures

There is no plot. The songs don’t make sense nor move the story forward. No one talks. It’s just a bunch of people trying to move like house cats. It made me wonder: Were people in the 80s on THAT much coke that they thought this was popping? The movie started without explaining a damn thing. NOTHING. I’m a child of the 80s, I was raised on Disney movies and TV—before cable—and I have seen tons of musicals and music videos. But I needed some kind of set up going in, not just a scene with a girl acting like a cat who’s trying to get out of a bag, while a bunch of others sing a song that doesn’t make sense or have good structure. I should not have been confused for the first hour of the story. 

It doesn’t matter how well Hooper directed it, Cats can’t help but be wack. It wasn’t until an hour or so in that I understood these cats—who call themselves Jellicles—compete in a weird talent show and then one gets picked to be reborn. For some reason, these cats wear fur coats and Chuck Taylors. For some other reason, the cats hate on one homeless-looking cat but it seems like most of the cats are homeless (so they’re just hating ’cause they’re cats, I guess). I was sitting in the theater, thinking: You are wasting Jennifer Hudson and even Jason Derulo (who I don’t even like) along with Dame Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellan—M AND GANDALF / MAG-FREAKING-NETO—as some raggedy-ass cats. You’ve got Idris Elba looking
crazy as some evil wizard cat and
Taylor Swift is in this for maybe six good minutes. BOO!

Photo © 2019 Universal Pictures

There was so much work put into this movie and I respect that a lot of people’s time and effort went into it but they suffered for so long to adapt one of the wackest messes I’ve ever experienced. Tom Hooper, if you wanted to do a musical with cats then I bet Disney would’ve let you rock a dope Aristocats or Oliver & Company remake with all the popping CG! You could’ve had all these actors as animated realistic-looking house cats singing songs that make sense, with a good plot, instead of being made to wear weird CG fur. We all saw Lion King, they made lions dance and sing fine. Yet we got this, a movie where I have to watch Stringer Bell dance and shake his butt as a cat called Macavity while singing a song that makes no sense. This joint is trash. I’m sorry I saw this. I lost two hours of my day and I implore you not lose two hours of yours.

In The End: Cats is a CG horror of weird cat mutants dancing and singing nonsense in weird people-sized settings with no people.
Run away.


EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s worse if you like the musical. Forward messages.

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