Monday, August 10, 2020

Film review: Cats is the equivalent of thespians tap-dancing in a litterbox

Movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical is a cinematic hairball

Right from the very first trailer, I had my reservations about a big-screen adaptation for the endlessly-popular screen show Cats.

From the nightmare-inducing VFX showing our favourite stars and singers digitally covered in cat fur to the jarring scenery and corny, quippy one-liners, this one smelled of rotten tuna from the beginning.

I ignored the trailers as they came out — showing cat bodies, whiskers, ears and fur on actors’ faces, with human hands. So when it was savaged upon release, I wasn’t surprised.

But even going in expecting an awful, tragic, toe-tapping guilty pleasure, I wasn’t even satisfied. The Cats film is the equivalent of watching all your favourite thespians — and an incredible, Oscar-calibre director — kick their excrement in your face.

It’s a wildly confusing, jarring, incredibly incoherent film. The singers don’t know how to enunciate, the plot is nonsensical and the acting is so hammy that it’s hard to enjoy anything at all.

Save for a fantastic rendition of storied track Memory from Jennifer Hudson, the cast of Rebel Wilson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Ian McKellan, Judi Dench, James Corden and more fail to even lightly entertain.

It’s as if Tom Hooper — known for the elegance of his films The Danish Girl, Les Miserables and The King’s Speech — has hurled a cinematic hairball right at us, and I, for one, now consider Cats the worst film I’ve ever sat through.

And I’ve seen Gigli, so take that for what you will.

Jordan Parker is a PR professional and journalist in Halifax, and these reviews appear first on his film blog Parker & the Picture Shows.

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