“CATS,” a Jumbled Mess of a Movie

Mia Ouyang , Staff Writer

  Released in December of 2019, “Cats” at times is beautiful, tragic and insightful. Based off of the Broadway musical revolving around a group of cats hoping to be reborn into a new life, the musical traverses through the story of Victoria, a cat abandoned by her owner in an alley where the Jellicle cats reside. The Jellicle cats introduce her to the annual Jellicle Choice, where one cat is chosen to go into a new life.

   The movie, however, is only tragic in a ridiculous sense. This dancing mess of a film is a tornado of jumbled cuts and strangely sensual scenes. 

   First, the infamous human-animal abominations. When the trailers first came out, the overall consensus was that this was a project best left scrapped, with an almost 3 to 1 dislike ratio on the first trailer.

   Maybe the “Cats” movie could have been forgivable if the characters exclusively acted like people or exclusively acted like cats. 

   However, they act like an ungodly blend of both. Throughout the entire movie, the characters hiss like actual cats and rub themselves against each other and inanimate objects. 

   That may sound oddly intimate and a little inappropriate — it is. It was genuinely uncomfortable to watch. 

   In one scene, a cat played by Rebel Wilson fully spreads her legs to the audience and scratches her inner thighs for quite a while.

   Victoria, the main character, has unresolved tension with all of the male cats. 

   By the end of the movie, it’s unclear who was meant to be her main romantic interest since she basically came so close to kissing all of the male cats. There were so many scenes where she and another male character came face to face directly, and they both looked into each other’s eyes for about ten seconds too long before darting away.

   The editing on the movie is about as atrocious as the character designs.

   Many times, the cats are seen in one location and then are immediately shown in another. It’s reasonable to not show characters going from place to place as that would probably slow down the pacing of the movie and would be a waste of time, but it’s expected to show at least a shred of realism in a movie. It’s as if with every song the cats sing, they open up the ability to create wormholes where they’re able to go anywhere they want in the span of one cut. Maybe along with the ability to be reborn, the cats are godly creatures capable of ripping apart space and time. 

   Awful visuals, odd editing and strange sensual tension aside, the music of the movie is probably what saves it. Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “Memory,” the most famous song out of the musical, was likely the high point of the movie. 

   Taylor Swift’s cover of “Macavity” was also not horrible, but much of that performance’s power can be chalked up to Swift’s charisma than anything else.

   As the longest-running musical on both Broadway and the New London Theatre, one could think that a movie version of “Cats” would either carry a bit more dignity or not get made at all. Unfortunately, none of these are the case for the catastrophic “Cats” movie. 

   Sitting at a 21% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 32% on Metacritic, “Cats” may go down as one of the worst films to grace the theatres in this last decade.