In spite of all the weirdness, I found Cats (2019 film) an entertaining and, err, exuberant watch.
Cats (2019) Synopsis
The Jellicle cats gather in the streets of London for the Jellicle Ball, at the end of which Old Deuteronomy, their leader, would announce who gets to ascend to the Heaviside Layer. To impress Old Deuteronomy, several Jellicles deliver elaborate performances. Who gets to be reborn? Would it be meek but magical Mr. Mistoffelees, the jaded Gus the Theatre Cat, or shy newcomer Victoria? Or would the entire Jellicle Ball be thrown into disarray by the wicked machinations of Macavity? The criminal cat who’s never there when crime strikes?
Christmas was but a few days ago. Thus, I assume there’s lingering Yuletide goodwill in the air. Goodwill that will shield me when I declare …
I enjoyed Cats the movie.
Yes, cross my heart and hope to die, I did enjoy it. I entered the cinema expecting I would need my laptop to list down everything I hate about Tom Hooper’s detested movie adaptation. I ended up finding most of it “agreeable.” I even felt some of the music sequences were exuberant. For example, Skimbleshanks’ tap-dancing parade.
Wait! Before you hurl trash cans at me, let me declare something else. I’ve always loved weird things – I wouldn’t mind hugging Cthulhu in bed. Because of that, I didn’t find neon-lit fantasy London that distasteful, I even thought it was eye-catching.
As for the much beleaguered digital cat fur costumes, perhaps I’ve read too many negative comments beforehand and was thus mentally prepared, I didn’t find them that horrific. In fact, I thought some of the meows bordered on being cute. (Not disproportionate Rebel Wilson or cat-nude Idris Elba, though. The latter was too ghastly even for me)
On a more serious note, me liking the movie doesn’t mean I can’t see why others hated it. That shakycam nonsense, which comes and goes like a fly, is one good reason to. Tom Hopper’s direction also indicates a certain … uncertainty? Or should I say, lack of choreographic sense? Several times, in the midst of an exhilarating sweep or pan, the movie cuts to dialogue that’s truly insipid. What’s the deal with that?
There are various other flaws as well. The revised choreography would be a disappointment to those expecting to see sequences from the musical at least imported in bits. Dame Judi Dench’s harsh singing is also, let’s just say, grating.
All in all, I think watching Cats the movie is akin to … eating Chinese stinky tofu? It’s enjoyable if you’re into peculiar tastes. Otherwise, you’d find the stench repugnant from a mile away.
In my case, I entered the cinema with a scowl but unexpectedly left with a smile. As the final movie I’m watching for 2019, I seriously felt it wasn’t too bad.