Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Cats (2019)

Summary:

This will be a short (unlike the movie) review. Um, some spoilers but… I also don’t care lol I will still put an alert though.

Pros:

Great dancing. Andy Blankenbuehler is the choreographer and I have to give him his props. I’ve never seen this show, but I feel like I’ve seen the taped show video from years ago, not sure but the dancing is absolutely amazing. That’s the best thing about the film. Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is a beautiful dancer, she’s a professional ballerina. She’s the cat we basically follow, she’s the audience in the film, so we get to see her dance a lot and I thought she was great. Her acting was fine, but she shines with her dancing. Robbie Fairchild (Munkustrap) is also a ballet dancer and I liked it a lot when they danced together. The chorus has really great moves they do, particularly during the ball and at the beginning of the film. The Les Twins (whom I love) were also in this! I noticed two cats during the Jellicle Ball who wore tennis shoes and I was like uhhhh but then I saw later it was the Les Twins and I gave it a pass lol.

The Music. Obviously, the show was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber who is legend in the musical theater community and it’s good. Although I don’t really care how the movie put the story out, I might have listened to the original cast recording. The music is lovely, especially when it swells the way it does.

Singing/Live Singing. So, everyone sings in the movie. It’s basically a sung through show. There are a few times when characters just talk but otherwise, it’s mostly sung. Jennifer Hudson (Grizabella the Glamour Cat) can sing, even if you don’t like her voice, she is the best in the film. First, her character was probably the most interesting, anytime she was on screen, I was at least interested and her emotions anytime she showed up really caught me. Her singing the “Memory” song gave me chills. Because they do live singing, I appreciated how it allows the actors to determine where they want to place the most emphasis on the song with their voice. Yes, when the music swells help that, but the actors can determine “okay, I’ll go loud here or whisper here” and I like that. It’s more emotional. I mean, she was great. Jason Derulo (Rum Tum Tugger) also can sing, I like him enough, and while he doesn’t sing a ton, he does have a song that I quite enjoyed. His energy was fun. James Corden (Bustopher Jones) has a nice voice and his song was fun. Rebel Wilson (Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat) was pretty good, I would like to hear her sing for real. I always feel like she’s playing around whenever she’s singing in movies, I believe she can sing because she never sounds bad, so I’d like to just hear sing. I also appreciated the chorus as well; they do a lot of singing and I didn’t think all of it was bad.

Macavity. Not the character but the song, the character played by Idris Elba was probably one of the most interesting ones too, but I really liked this sequence. Bombabulrina (Taylor Swift) randomly shows up atop a moon prop, starts to sing while three other cats are basically drugging the other cats with cat nip lol, and I really liked this sequence. Then Macavity shows up to sing too. It was fun. I just wish a better, sexier singer did this part. I don’t hate Taylor Swift, but I felt like she was miscast in this role.

Production Design. As you can see, most of my pros are technical stuff. I thought it was cool how everything was over sized since they’re cats. I watched the special features and they literally built the sets, so I have to say, I was impressed with that.

Cons:

Cats Design. I’m aware that in the show, they wear cat costumes with fur and face makeup which honestly, they could have done that here too, but I don’t know who thought of these designs. It’s very jarring and creepy. They made them look a little more human like after the reaction to the first trailer (which I had look at again) and there are subtle differences. But I don’t think it was good either way. There are some that look worse than others (I think Jennifer Hudson looks terrible as her cat) and maybe Victoria’s wasn’t as bad but whew. Not a good look. We also see mice, with kid faces, terrible. We also see roaches and they’re not as bad because they seemed like they were wearing a costume… it was hard to tell but still creepy.

Singing/Live Singing. I also had to put this here too because I don’t think anyone was particularly horrible but outside of the the ones I named in the pros, buuuut I didn’t think everyone sounded good. I’m not sure if the show casts older actors for Gus the Theater Cat (Ian McKellen) or Old Deuteronomy (Dame Judi Dench) but I frowned when they sang. I liked Gus’ song and Ian McKellen had some good moments during that song but otherwise… I could do without him singing. Same with Dame Judi Dench. Victoria (Frankie Hayward) really only sings when she’s talking to Grizabella and she wasn’t horrible but again, it wasn’t that great either. Taylor Swift (Bombabulrina) has the best song in the show and I don’t think Taylor Swift can’t sing but I didn’t think she fit this “Burlesque-like” song.

A Romance. Spoilers here. There is a romance in this movie. I think it comes out of nowhere. I don’t know how the stage play handles it but it’s between Victoria andMr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) who I liked for the most part. In the beginning, when Victoria meets all of them, he seems to be taken with her as he tries to help her when the Jellicle cats disappeared, but they don’t interact enough for me to even believe a romance between them. If anything, Victoria interacts more with Munkustrap. So, at the end, when they have a moment, I was like uhhhh okay, I guess.

The Story. I don’t know how the show handles the story, but I was confused for a little while. I had no idea what “Jellicle” meant even when they explained but I think it was multiple things. They just kept using that word and every time I was like “wtf is that?” Also, for the longest I didn’t get what the point was. It was nice that Victoria/the audience got introduced to things, but it really just felt like a series of events just happening more than a movie. We go here, meet this cat and they sing, then we go here and meet this cat and they sing… and then Macavity shows up and steals a cat and then disappears. It was so weird that by the end I was like “what??” lol. I bet if you were high, you either would enjoy this or be terrified lol. I get that cats are chosen for a ‘new life’ by Old Deuteronomy but why does she get to choose? I at first thought she would choose a cat for whatever and kill them and take their life as her own, since apparently, she’s been around so long, according to the song they sang about her. But it wasn’t as dark as I thought. It might have been better if it was lol. I would have actually liked to have seen Grizabella’s fall from grace when she went with Macavity or even his story. Far more interesting.

The Ending. So, I guess it’s open ended. The cat is chosen and is sent off into the sunset. So, what happens? They die to be reborn? Does the little hot air balloon slam into the sun? I would like to know. The music was all whimsical and stuff and I like whimsical… but I was already confused so explain. I didn’t like it lol.

Overall, I didn’t like this movie lol. I remember when it first started, I couldn’t look away but not in a good way. There is stuff to like, I didn’t hate it but there’s too much I didn’t like to overshadow what I did like. The dancing is probably the best thing about the movie. The music is good, the production design is cool, and I thought the live singing worked for some actors, particularly Jennifer Hudson. I also loved the Macavity sequence. Now, the design of the cats is scary and not very good, even after the redesign, the story is weird and confusing and when it was over, I didn’t care, and I wanted to see more about Grizabella and/or Macavity. The live singing didn’t help everyone. The romance that was there is forgettable, and I might not have minded if it was more of a thing. I also didn’t like the ending. So… that’s it lol.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.

Did you see Cats? What did you think about it? Tell me in the comments below! Also, what is your favorite musical to film adaptation? Tell me in the comments!

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