CATS (2019) – A CATastrophy of Absurd Proportions (Review)


Image credit to Amblin Entertainment and Koby Haldorson

Ashton T. Livingston, Editor-in-Chief, Writer

There are no words to describe this film. I can hardly call it a film. I mean, listen to what our school’s Wesley Brewer,a senior, had to say about the trailer: “I mean, it looks okay.” When asked about the cats look visually he said, “I don’t like it.” When told the film is two hours of cats introducing themselves through song he replied with “oh my gosh, really?” I think some of these quotes can best sum up the trailer. But the film, the film itself is a beast of its own. 

Cats opens on the streets of London in the night as a car drops off our “lead” Victoria played by Francesca Hayward. Now this character has no character. She is an empty void who sings sometimes and gives the hint of a story and character arc in the first thirty minutes but I believe that is only there to keep people in their seats long enough so when they ask for a refund the theater can not give them their treasured refund. The first thirty minutes are the most promising. The viewer is introduced to a character who could have a good arc and the other characters give you the idea of an adequate story but then after that it is a hunk of garbage. 

I take that back, garbage has more substance than this. The rest of this film’s TWO HOUR runtime is full of cats singing about who they are so Judi Dench cat can pick one to get into a balloon and die in the clouds so they can go to the fabled heavy side lair. That is the plot. Cats singing who they are so they can win a contest. Oh and Idris Elba kidnaps cats so they can’t be in the contest so he wins. If that doesn’t make you want to cry out of sheer confusion, then the rest of this film will. 

The main crux of this film is that it was a successful Broadway musical about cats. So you think that maybe the songs would at least be good. For every one good song there are at least an agonizing 5 terrible ones. Again, at least. One musical sequence puts Rebel Wilson in the spotlight as she shows us how she has trained the most horrifying abominations of CGI I have seen. There are human like cockroaches in this. I have watched David Cronenberg’s The Fly and felt less disgusted by that. The cockroaches are weirdly sexualized and are all supposed to look like flapper ladies from the 20’s. The way they look haunts me still. Also Rebel Wilson is not good in this…no one is good in this movie. Side note: there are humanoid mice that look like if I squeezed them slightly they would pop like a zit. 

Speaking of highly sexualized, Jason Derulo is in this horrendous movie. Now before I discuss his scene, I would like to point out how he is very publicly outraged about how the studio “airbrushed out his genitals” in this movie. Now, on with the show. Jason Derulo takes his gang of cats to a milk bar and sings about milk and sexually dances with other cats and almost licks another cat’s foot. There are things I wish I could forget in this life and this scene and many others are those said things. 

              Nothing about this film is appealing. One of the most horrifying aspects is definitely the visual effects that “bring the cats to life.” One of the most terrifying is Idris Elba as the villain Macavity who kidnaps characters throughout the film. His character design is disgusting (especially with his bright green eyes) but pales in comparison to James Cordans horrendous character. Firstly I’ll say I hate that man regardless. He’s so annoying in everything including real life so instantly I disliked his character who’s whole thing is “I’m fat.” That is most of the films humor. He looks just awful. He looks like an inflated fat cat and I hate it. The most normal looking character is thankfully out main one but she still has her character design flaws that create a sense of unease. Speaking of sense of unease!

                 For a kids movie this film feels weirdly sexualized! Taylor Swift plays a cat in this monstrosity and her design is, by comparison to other female characters, very “form fitting” which feels out of place and weird. The dancing in this is also very sexual in nature and made me and several others feel awkward in the theater. Think about that before you see this (please don’t see it for your sake and mine). This film is something me and many others thought would be a great time to sit back and make fun of a bad movie. It’s fun to do that! There’s a wide selection of movies for that purpose but this…I couldn’t even process what was happening on screen. This movie physically hurt and I wanted to walk out about three times but couldn’t bring myself to do it. The songs are awful, the acting is anywhere from meh to terrible, the story is non-existent and our main character has no personality or motivation. 

                 The film ends with a cat redeeming herself and going off to die in the clouds and honestly I wish I could’ve joined her after this movie. At no point did I enjoy myself. I gained nothing from this movie except a headache and anger. Do not waste your time on this one. In fact, it’s January. Don’t go to the movies in general. Cats gets an F- for its horrible everything. The film is rated PG but honestly I question that thanks to some of these cats’ dance moves. So basically I hate this movie and I was unable to look my actual cat in the eyes.