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  • Stacey Smith

REVIEW: Cats

On Tuesday, I saw Cats (in the Netherlands). I was one of 7 people in the theater and three of them were with me. I was sober, wearing pajamas and I was ready for it. Here are my thoughts:


I saw Broadway touring cast in 2019 when they brought Cats to Chicago. It was in my subscription, and I felt the same way when I had tickets to see Carrot Top: I cannot miss this experience. If you’ve never seen the show, the musical is comprised of T.S. Elliot poems. So basically, a bunch of cats are introduced, they each get a song and then it ends by reminding the audience that they aren’t dogs.


Because there’s no dialogue and the story is insanely unclear, it just becomes more of a “cat song and dance party.” However, the show I saw was maybe the best ensemble as a whole that I’ve seen in a long time. There wasn’t a weak link. They all were great actors, singers and (esp) dancers. So if you watch the entire musical with noise cancelling headphones on, there’s an opportunity to be entertained.


I saw the unedited version, so I got to watch Judi Dench in all of her glory with her wedding ring on the entire movie. Lucky me.



Overall:

The animation and CGI was lazy and terrible. If they had costumes like the musical and/or like my favorite show from childhood, Zoobilee Zoo (feat. Ben Vereen) - I would have not gasped so many times at how insane their faces and bodies were. Especially when Idris Elba has no jacket on towards the end of McCavity and you’re weirdly sexually attracted and screaming “NO!” at the same time.


This movie made SO much more sense than the musical. It’s hilarious how with very limited dialogue they managed to do so much with plot. They contextualized things in the movie much more, so I actually cared about characters for the first time.


I love that they zoomed in on a specific cat (Victoria) and showed the different cats through her POV. This was smart and made it so much easier to understand. Taylor Swift’s new song “Beautiful Ghosts” makes this Victoria character interesting for the first time. (In the musical, the “white cat” is just a principal dancer from what I recall)


The “railway cat” is arguably the dumbest, weirdest part of the musical and they crushed it with this Aussie tap dancing dude. This character is hands down 100% better in the movie. (Who I went to a rabbit hole and watched a million videos of him dancing - he’s unreal.)


The acrobatic cats, whatever the fuck his name is and Rumpleteaser were my favorite cats in the staged production - but with the weird scenery and terrible animation, they sucked in the movie. Missed opportunity to do some real crazy ass clown/acro stuff to show how sneaky they are.


It was so interesting to have Mister Mistofelees so nervous and so afraid. Don’t remember if I just missed that detail in the staged production or what - but it made his song pay off like tenfold. And for the first time, he’s actually magical.



Here’s how I feel about individual performances:


I am a huge Rebel Wilson fan. She almost ruins this movie entirely for me. She has so many weird moments that don’t make sense and I think are in attempt of humor (?), but they all don’t work. Nothing she does in this film makes any sense. Same exact note for James Corden.


Ian McKellen cannot sing, but is oddly perfect for the role of Gus.


Judi Dench was terrifying (and cannot sing, bless her beautiful soul), but she played high status like a mother fucker. And the moment she lifted her kitty leg in excitement during Mister Mistofelees was worth the 11 euros I paid.


Idris Elba was hot AF, a great villain and also shouldn’t sing.


The sweet ballerina who played Victoria was a fucking beautiful dancer and a great actress, so I won’t hold her “she got by” singing against her.


Taylor Swift couldn’t pull off diva if she tried. It couldn’t have been more awkward for her to sing “McCavity”, which is a sexy, jazzy show stopper IMO. Her dancing was bizarrely off and she just didn’t have enough gusto to deliver. I would have liked to see…. anyone else do that role. But, she looks like a cat. So she pulled that off 10/10. Most believable cat in film.


Jason Derulo and Jennifer Hudson slayed. They delivered incredible performances throughout, as did the snot coming out of JHud’s nose for the entire second half of the film. But for real - every time they were on screen I forgot I was watching a terrible trash fire of a movie. #catsmovie #judidench #catsnotdogs

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