Cats (2019) A Review

Some things work perfectly in the medium that they were designed for.  And then when you try to translate then to something else…suck.  Cats is that.


DIRECTOR:  Tom Hooper

STARRING:  Francesca Hayward, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba


GENRE:  Comedy, Drama, Musical

RUNTIME:  110 Minutes

★ 1 Star  

The West End Musical ‘Cats’ is a masterpiece.  And I am not going to argue with that, at all. What I am going to say, is that the stage is where this production should have stayed.  Some things translate well into film, but Cats is for sure not one of those things.

Victoria gets dumped by her owner in an alley, and there she meets the Jellicle Cats.  A tribe of cats that are gathering together for one night only to decide who will be chosen to ascend to the Heaviside Layer, and be reborn into a new life.

This whole film was a cat-tasrophe. (Sorry, I had to get that pun in there somewhere.)  The first hour of this film legitimately has no plot at all.  Instead it is just a really, really long introduction to all of the story’s characters.  Every time Victoria meets a new Cat, there is a song and dance number. Rebel Wilson’s one is both entertaining and terrifying. (I am talking about the cockroaches right now. WHAT?!) And this lasts for at least the first hour of the film, so don’t expect anything to happen until this portion of the film is over. 

The choreography itself is spectacular.  But the dodgy CG kind of ruins the effect.  After having it pointed out to me in another review, I couldn’t not notice it, but occasionally, when dancing, their feet looked like they were hovering just off the ground, and even worse, sometimes their feet would be sliding around in place while the actors where meant to be standing still.  In a film that relied so heavily on its digital effects, I think they should have focussed more on getting all the details correct.

The films saviour to me can be found in Idris Elba, by far the best part f the film, made for an excellent villain.  E plays the part so well, even if he has an infuriatingly small amount of screen time.  A lot of the other performances while good, are not career bests for any of the performers, Ian McKellen and Judi Dench in particular, whose appearance in this film will hopefully be quickly forgotten and they will be back on track as soon as possible.  

As leading lady, I think Francesca Hayward came off as a little to timid.  I get that a part of  that was to do with the character she was given, but to stand up and be counted along with some of the biggest personalities in the business (Rebel Wilson, James Cordon, Jason Derulo) you need to give a performance people will remember, and to me , she kind of  faded into the background.

My love of musicals saved this film.  It gets one star from me for it’s Choreography and Musical numbers, but I can’t give it points for anything else.

Cats is in UK Cinemas now.  But I don’t know if you would want to waste your time.

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