Cats is one of the most successful musicals of all time, having consistently graced stages since 1981. You’d think that a movie adaptation of such a well renowned, universally acclaimed stage show with such a stellar cast would be easy to get right but somehow Tom Hooper has made some kind of incredibly disturbing furry trip of a film.
It’s almost impossible to get past the incredible design decisions made in this movie. The cats have human hands and fully human faces with weird, very human shaped bodies. If this was done well, it would look weird, but probably passable. However the quality of these visual effects is shocking, often with the face tracking looking akin to 2004’s ‘The Polar Express’, but nowhere near as charming. It’s genuinely unsettling throughout the whole film.
Some scenes are really disorientating, with it being even more difficult to decipher what on earth is going on than usual. The sound mixing in some scenes seems really off too, with the backing track being too loud at times to hear the vocals properly, which perhaps is a blessing in disguise.
‘Cats’ never settles into any mood or tone, with the movement from scene to scene being consistently jarring, and then as the scene settles in you are reminded of what horrors await. There is no escape. James Corden is insufferable throughout, and is perhaps equal with Rebel Wilson and Ray Winstone for being the creepiest looking of all the cats. Idris Elba is laughably bad too as villain Macavity. The screening I watched ‘Cats’ swiftly began to laugh at how bad certain scenes looked and the genuinely cringe-worthy puns with the audience quickly realising just what they were in for.
Some of the song performances are genuinely good, with Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson and Francesca Hayward all pulling their weight in their respective musical numbers, however it’s such a waste that these performances, especially of the newly Swift-written song ‘Beautiful Ghosts’, are used in this version of ‘Cats’.
You know when that original design of Sonic from the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie was revealed, and everyone hated it? This whole movie is like that. Horrific, and a complete mistake for everyone involved.