In the words of Han Solo, the smuggler, not the war hero, “everything you heard about Cats is true. The horrifying visuals that make James Wan’s Saw look like cotton candy, the
shockingly abhorrent nonexistent screenplay — all of it. It’s all true.” If you thought the shitty Charlie’s Angels and Hellboy reboots were bad, wait till you take a whiff of this cinematic trash bucket… when it eventually drops on Netflix of course where you can watch it for free while piss drunk with your friends.
Well, if there’s one compliment I can give Cats (an adaptation of a weird classic musical of the same name) is that director Tom Hooper (oh yes, the very same guy that directed King’s Speech and Les Miserables) has got vision. He commits! I mean this movie handcuffs you to your seat, vomits a furball on your head and then claws you across your face. Too bad it doesn’t dig its claws deep into your eyeballs.
It opens in London. A car drives into frame. A human steps out and throws a canvas sack in a dingy alley. A bunch of cats form a circle around the sack and start hissing like it’s some sort of cult ritual.
OK, let’s pause for a second.
The cats looked pretty terrible in the trailer, but on the big screen, they’re the stuff of pure nightmares. Picture the bodies of cats (fur and tails and all) but with human faces, hands and legs. No, not in a cool Beast from X-Men sort of way. How do I put this? Imagine walking into your grandparent’s house to borrow some curry powder (I’m Indian okay), only to discover them cosplaying as animals, about to engage in some furry sexy time, and their costumes look like they’re designed by the psycho neighbour dude from Toy Story. But the cast of Cats aren’t wearing costumes. All of it is horribly rendered CG, so every now and then their heads sort of says “f**k you” to the bodies and floats around aimlessly. I wanted to laugh, but then I realised the film cost $US 100 million to make, so a little part of me died inside.
Anyway, the supposed leader of the cat strikes the bag with its paw, sorry human fingers, ripping the bag apart. Out comes the Francesca Hayward cat. She looks confused, as if to say “This is not what I had in mind when I signed up for a freaking Tom Hooper film.” Neither did we Hayword. Neither did we.
“What’s your name?” one cat asks the Francesca Hayward cat. “Victoria,” she responds. Oh snap! This is a cardinal sin of the highest order, we learn. Apparently, cats must have THREE names. One is their loser name the human family gives you like Peter and Alonzo. One is a fancy name if the cat is feeling sexy or something. The final one is their superhero name like Munkstrap and Macavity. Now, I’m pissed. Where is the Si Tompok representation?! The sheer audacity of these white male directors, I tell you.
Then the cats start doing a contemporary dance which causes the Francesca Hayward cat to be in some sort of trance. She starts dancing too. All of it is shot in a rather dreamlike manner. Unfortunately, you’re not dreaming. You’re literally in the cinema experiencing it in front of your face.
Now it’s time to meet the Rebel Wilson cat and the movie goes through a major tonal shift. Rebel Wilson thinks this is a broad comedy, so she does what Rebel Wilson does best. She rolls on the ground. Then she spreads her legs, scratching her inner thighs and we get a camera angle from in between her legs. There are mice in the Rebel Wilson song (oh yes, another song). The mice are ridiculously tiny, informing us that Tom Hooper couldn’t care less about maintaining a proper perspective. Sometimes the cats are as big as humans, sometimes they’re cat-sized. The Rebel Wilson cat eats a cockroach and half the audience puked in their popcorn box.
INSERT JASON DERULO CAT.
He’s horny for the Rebel Wilson cat. When he does his usual high-pitched Jason Derulo thing, the Rebel Wilson cat goes, “do you think he just got neutered?” How is that even possible? All the cats are butt naked and none of them have parts down there. I would know because I was forced to see what’s between Rebel Wilson’s legs just three minutes ago.
INSERT JENNIFER HUDSON CAT.
She’s in tears. But of course, she sings too.
INSERT IDRIS ELBA CAT.
The Idris Elba cat is an evil Wizard, but not like Lord Voldemort. Like Lord Voldemort’s loser ex-girlfriend’s nephew’s roommate. He starts kidnapping some of the cats, including Rebel Wilson — Thank God. He removes his fur coat to reveal ABS. Hot damn! Dude’s chocolate thunder even in cat form.
Jennifer Hudson cat is still crying.
We go back to our regularly scheduled programming: Getting acquainted with cats.
Judi Dench (queen of all queens), Taylor Swift, Laurie Davidson (who wants to be a badass wizard, but in reality is a loser Squib), James Corden (who sings about how fat he is), Naoimh Morgan.
More singing. More dancing. More horrible angles.
Jennifer Hudson is still in tears. She wears her soul on her sleeve. She belts a beautiful rendition of ‘Memory’ and almost breaks down while doing it. She believes this is her Anne Hathaway Les Miserables guaranteed-to-win-an-Oscar moment. And right when you’re about to believe it too, despite how shockingly daft everything has been up to this point, because of how talented Hudson is, Tom Hooper cuts to Judi Dench cat looking like Bob Marley after his 8th joint of the day.
Ian McKellen can’t be arsed. He knows that Tom Hooper is probably coked out of his mind, so he just chews the scenery around him. At one point he randomly meows. At another, he comically licks milk from a bowl. (This is a movie where the cats can hold a bowl with their hands, but they still drink like regular cats).
The plot: The cat-human-creatures all want to die and ascend to heaven via a magical hot air balloon to be reborn. So they participate in an America’s Got Talent-like competition to decide who gets to go. Judi Dench is the judge.
But I’m giving the movie too much credit here.
The real plot: Cats introduce themselves for two hours via musical numbers.
At the end of the film, the Judi Dench cat looks straight into the camera (you can see her trying so hard not to laugh) and sings “You now should need no interpreter to understand our character.”
Moral of the story: When you’re not looking, your cats do a crap ton of LSD.
This movie sucks.