Have you ever been watching something that you want to turn off right away? Ever feel like something will never end? Do you ever feel angry just talking about something? Have you ever yelled at a TV screen during a movie? If you said yes to all of those, you probably witnessed the 2019 film Cats. I didn’t watch this film because I thought I’d like it. I watched this film so I could criticize it, and I can safely say, I will make it my sole priority to make sure you do not see this movie. I watched it so you don’t have to, and it will save you $6 and a week of sleep.
So the plot of the movie is… nothing. That’s right, there is literally no plot. If there is, I don’t understand it because all I kept yelling at my TV screen was, “What is going on?” All it is is a journey through character intro songs. I generally like musicals but I did not know what was going on in the songs, what they were talking about, or WHAT THE HECK A JELLICLE CAT IS. Seriously that is the most common word they say but they never explain what the heck a jellicle cat is. Also, you don’t understand anything in the songs. It’s because they start off with a song that leaves you with a lot of questions, then they skip any chance to explain anything and they move to another song. Basically, it’s like if a math teacher wrote the word “quadratic formula” and then he just says it gives you 5. And that’s why there really isn’t a plot. It’s built out of unmemorable character introduction songs that never give you breaks. And after 20 long minutes, you don’t care about any of the cats at all. There’s the dumped Victoria (Franchesca Howard). who has an interesting story that goes nowhere. There’s Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), who was just a terrible character. Bustopher Jones (James Corden), who was not that funny. And twin cats that I completely forgot about. By the time you get to Gus the Theater Cat (surprisingly played by Sir Ian McKellen), you don’t care who gets introduced anymore. And it seems like some cats were only marketing tools (mainly Taylor Swift, who was in one single scene and also Sir Ian McKellen).
Now, this film is notorious for its haunting cats, and it’s right to be. They’re terrifying to look at. I realized I was okay with it for a while because I was still convincing myself that they were still humans. When I actually watched the movie, I realized these aren’t humans; these are what you call demon babies. I joked for months about how they were scary, but now that I’ve actually watched it, I realize they genuinely are scary. It is creepy seeing people that have fake fur crawling towards the camera. The image still frightens me. There’s always speculation that if some special effects look terrible in a movie trailer, it will be different for the actual movie, but this is not the case. They manage to be bad, weird, and disturbing at the same time. On top of that, there are still many VFX (visual effects) errors. One big one is the fact that THEY HAVE HUMAN HANDS. They say they have to keep their “paws crossed” but THEY HAVE FINGERS. Also, if you thought the human cat hybrids were bad, just wait till you see the cockroaches. That’s right, I’m not lying to you. They seriously put human faces on cockroaches and they put children’s faces onto mice. Oh yeah, they did it with the mice too. It’s still equally horrifying. It might even be worse.
Another big low is the humor. There are several attempts at humor, but they don’t hit the mark. Many of the jokes are along the lines of “cat got your tongue” or “look what the cat dragged in.” It’s cat jokes that aren’t even set up the proper way. Did you forget that this movie was about cats? Oh, don’t worry because there are many attempts at other humorous cat references. They have the cat-human hybrids drinking milk out of a bowl, eating garbage, going nuts to catnip. They insert noises of cats meowing when the camera isn’t on the cats, which is weird because they say meow in their normal voices, and they rub on each other instead of hugging, I guess.
On another note, Rebel Wilson’s character was not funny at all. I don’t blame her because I loved her performance in Jojo Rabbit and she was funny in Pitch Perfect. Here, she doesn’t really try at all (which I honestly can’t blame her for because I don’t think I would really try either), although her material isn’t great either. They kind of shoehorn her in to provide comic relief written up by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper. That’s right, Academy Award winner. This guy has the title of the highest ranking Oscar besides Best Picture, and he has her say to cockroaches “don’t get cocky.” And on top of that, he wrote what might be my least favorite moment in any movie. The Rebel Wilson cat watches the Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), which is the cat’s real name, dance, and then she tries to mimic the dance. This could just be an awkward moment on its own, but Tom Hooper put in a rap song behind her dance that was a pause in between a sort of 80s style song. I’ve studied symbolism, and I’ve learned many different movie styles. Like for example, in Parasite, Ram-Don was a dish made up to symbolize the mix in of the wealthy Parks and the poor Kims. Also, in Kill Bill, a haunting whistle melody was created to symbolize how the villain, Elle Driver, may dress sweet but is deadly and scary. Having learned all this symbolism, I can’t find a single reason why they put rap music behind her. Tonally, it doesn’t fit, character wise, it doesn’t fit, and it doesn’t fit to the actual song.
This movie is a musical, but it doesn’t even excel at that. Not all the actors can sing, and a lot of them are awkward when they do sing, which ends up being distracting. Also, even the songs are incredibly confusing. I haven’t seen the original musical but I don’t even know what is going on in the songs.
I mentioned the weird CGI before, but there’s one thing I forgot to mention. It is uncomfortable to watch the cats. This is mainly because they all look like naked people covered in fur. I did not feel good when I first saw them crawl out. They also get incredibly close to each other’s faces to the point where it feels weird. It still amazes me that this film was rated PG. That’s right. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a fantasy movie meant for kids, gets a PG-13 rating while Cats, a weird looking film where the only thing stopping the people from being fully nude is a single layer of fur, gets the same rating as Frozen 2.
Now, who’s to blame for this awful movie? I want to tell anyone who ever reads this that the Visual Effects Artists can’t be blamed for this at all. They were literally told to put digital fur on actors wearing skin tight bodysuits and maybe some tails (that often move on their own which I don’t understand and are just freaky) and some moving ears. Then I looked it up and I found out that these poor people were given six months to make a trailer and four months for the whole movie. And it was even said that the VFX artists were treated like slaves. And not to mention that when there were errors with the film on the opening night, the VFX artists had to work for only 48 hours to fix a bunch of strategically placed errors in an almost two-hour film. So who’s to blame? That’s right, director/writer Tom Hooper. Normally, I’d say you can’t blame the director but this is entirely his fault. I know this because it was literally his idea to put fur on people. It was not some mistake, it was his idea. With that, all he did was add the Victoria cat to the movie and call it a day. And even when his film came out to be a failure, he stood by it.
So this film is not good. It’s a McTravesty (Pun on the cat name McCavity), it’s im-pawsible to like this film, the film is claw-ful, it is the exact polar opposite of anything close to purr-fect, it is an absolutely horrible tail, it’s what the cat dragged in, and it will cause you to be meows-erable. The pain and cringe you probably feel reading this paragraph is how you will feel watching this horror. Wanna know how bad this is? Cat people hate it, animal lovers hate it, actors hate it, critics hate it, audiences hate it, fans of the original show hate it, and the creator of the whole show, Andrew Lloyd Webber, doesn’t like how it came out. The best way I can describe this film comes from the web series Honest Trailers. This film is a cinematic hairball.