Director Tom Hooper’s movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-shattering stage musical has garnered all kinds of comments from critics and movie enthusiasts alike. I’ve always had an open mind in reviewing movies. I’m glad I gave this movie a chance even if it’s been literally dragged in the mud. Suffice to say, it’s bordering on the strange but it has redeeming qualities, too.
So the CAT(S) is out of the bag and it’s purring for everyone’s kindness. I’ll start with the good points. The choreography is exceptional and the dancers equally so. It is very apparent that a lot of time was spent perfecting the dance routines. The music is timeless. Strong performances are given by Ian Mckellen (Gus), Taylor Swift (Bombularina), and Jennifer Hudson (Grizella) — if only you can get past the nose drips! Audiences will cheer for Laurie Davidson ( Mr. Mistoffelees) and will laugh at the incomparably hilarious James Corden (Bustopher Jones).
The story is set in London where we find the Jellicle cats preparing for the annual Jellicle Ball. During that fateful night, one lucky cat will be chosen to be reborn. But first, candidates must perform for the head of the feline community Old Deuteronomy played by Dame Judi Dench. The main villain Idris Alba (Macavity) wants to be chosen and tries his devilish best to get rid of the competition.
I first saw the musical in broadway some years ago and was completely enthralled by it. The story is not for a passive watcher as there are many characters and many subplots. The movie version definitely helped me understand the story (and the lyrics) much better and helped me appreciate the characters as played by known celebrities.
That said, the problem lies mainly in the underwhelming and troubling computer-generated imagery (CGI). Actors were transformed to disproportionate creatures with skin-tight fur. Some characters would have clothes initially, and then in the next scene would look like they are naked when they are shown without their coats. Idris Alba and Rebel Wilson were so hard to look at. The former looked like a muscular brown rat and the latter just looked simply inappropriate while wagging her tail in between her legs. IF you can get past this major, glaring flaw because it is there to for all to see the entire length of the movie, then you can appreciate the redeeming qualities of CATS. There are some long drawn dance sequences, too. So the editing could also have been improved. (There are scenes showing Judi Dench with her bare hands and rings on her fingers.)
The movie imparts lessons of empathy, courage, kindness, and most important — hope. Do give the movie a chance. CATSch it in theatres today!
With a pocketful of glitter,