What a “CAT”astrophe

Sometimes the cat shouldn’t be let out of the bag

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The very out of shape poster hanging outside the almost empty movie theater for "Cats".

JoAnn Sharpless, Managing Editor (Web)

The idea of making a Broadway play a movie so that everyone can see it on the big screen is honestly a very good idea. With a cast full of stars and a huge budget that equaled a total of around  $100,000,000, the movie “Cats” should have been a smash hit. So why wasn’t it?

Let’s begin with what the plot of “Cats” is supposed to be about. “Cats” is based on a book written by T.S Elliot called “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” The book consists of poems about cats, written through a child-like excitement. The book was originally published in 1939 and was used as inspiration to make the musical “Cats,” written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The plot is about different cats from all walks of life coming together on a special night to decide who will be the chosen cat to be reborn. The person in charge of picking the chosen cat is an old magical cat named Old Deuteronomy. The cats all compete by singing, dancing, etc. to try and get selected. Taking into consideration the time frame in which the poems were written, and then being made into a musical, it’s not that surprising that people nowadays view “Cats” as strange. 

Taking this all into consideration, in all honesty, the movie isn’t completely awful like many have violently stated. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is far from great; in fact, it’s not even that good, but it didn’t make me want to rip my eyes out. I think that a huge part of why many people hate this movie so much is because they look at this movie expecting to hate it. In fact, some of the songs in the movie weren’t that bad, mostly the ones sung by actual singers weren’t that bad. When the singers sung in their natural voices, the songs weren’t too bad. The dancing wasn’t awful, as they had different styles and types of dancing that would have been used in a stage production.

There were parts that killed the movie for me, many of which could have been easily fixed. The CGI used in the film was very bad. In a movie like this, which relies heavily upon CGI, I honestly expected the animation to be better or at least more consistent. When a big project like this is made, I would expect everything to be uniform because when it’s not, it makes the project look sloppy. For example, some of the cats in the film had edited hands, while others just had human hands. Of course, this doesn’t sound awful at first, but when a female covered head to toe in fur has a human hand, it’s quite alarming. Also, at one part of the film, the one cat’s ears disappeared from his head and reappeared on the top of his hat. This is something that created a startling image in my head, and honestly, just ruined the movie for me.

I also found the faces of the different animals to be a little too disturbing. I think that if I was a producer of this movie, I wouldn’t have put human faces on the different animals like the mice and cockroaches, especially when these things are being eaten by the already human-looking cats. The proportioning of the cats compared to other objects was also off, which made the cats seem as though they were the size of insects.

It wasn’t all the CGI’s fault though. Seeing humans climbing down walls like a furry Spiderman or drinking milk off the ground was also something that was rather creepy and I hope to forget about it. I know that the whole point was for them to act like cats as they did in the play, but all it did was add to the feeling of unease and tension. 

This all being said, I mostly just wish that the production team would have taken the time to notice these little things and truly worked on making a clean film. I think that as a whole, “Cats” was never really going to be a crowd raving masterpiece and this is due to the fact that the play and book are older. If I were to rate “Cats” on a five-star scale, I think that I would have to give it a one. I think that so much more could have been done to the film to make it better, but I don’t think it was the worst thing ever. 

In all, if you want to go see CATS go ahead. Just go into it with an honest understanding that it’s a bit strange and that it’s based off a book from the 1930s.