. . . And this is why I am a dog person.
To say the history behind this movie is unique would be an understatement. First, it was a collection of poems by T.S. Eliot called “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” Then, Andrew Lloyd Webber adapted it into one of the longest-running Broadway musicals of all time. And then, Tom Hooper adapted it into this monstrosity.
“Cats” follows a group of Jellicle cats who compete to see who can enter the Heaviside Layer, which is this universe’s Heaven, and the chosen one will be reincarnated into a new life. That is literally it.
There are many moments in this movie that are disturbing. There are cockroaches with human faces that Rebel Wilson eats. Ian McKellen acts like he had a stroke before filming. Judi Dench addresses the audience and instructs them on how to treat your cats. Idris Elba looks naked but with fur. Imagine this insanity in a musical production that presents itself more like a rehearsal for two hours.
Taylor Swift received an inordinate amount of praise for her minuscule appearance in this film. To me, praising Taylor Swift for not completely sucking when Jennifer Hudson is part of the cast is the equivalent of naming Kristen Stewart “actress of the decade” when Viola Davis won a Tony, a Globe, an Emmy and an Oscar without breaking a sweat.
The only significant thing Swift did for this movie was she co-wrote the obligatory Oscar-bait song, “Beautiful Ghosts.” It will not win any awards, but listening to it both in the film and on the soundtrack, I thought for a moment that I was actually watching a movie with a story.
Watch the trailer for “Cats” below.
But alas, I did not watch a movie with a story. I watched “Cats.”
If you ever encounter a dog person who talks about cats as though they murdered half their family, burned down their house and transmitted various incurable diseases to them, they are not talking about your feline companion. They are talking about this film.
Some people have hypothesized that “Cats” will gain a cult following as the years go by. No. To suggest that is insulting to cult films everywhere.
“Cats” is a bizarre spectacle. It is ugly, it is amateur and it is brainless. This is the kind of film people will go into sober, but when they leave the theater and take a drug test, they will fail it. But at the end of the day, given all other films from the 2010s that were spectacularly bad or good, “Cats” commits the worst sin a film could: it is boring.
After seeing this movie, you know what I will do next? I plan on seeing “In The Heights” this summer, a movie that is undoubtedly based on an amazing musical. I plan on seeing Jennifer Hudson kill it as Aretha Franklin in “Respect.” I will continue forward in this decade, and I will watch movies that will entertain, anger and move me. Meanwhile, a movie like “Cats” will mean little more than a failed experiment not likely to be repeated for a long time.