I think the trailer tells you everything you need to know about the disaster that is Cats. There’s no hiding how bad the animation looks or how terrifying they all are dancing around. But a trailer is only 2 minutes long, barely getting a sense of the other things that make this film a nightmare to behold. Yes, this is a terrible movie and might possibly be the worst movie of not just of 2019, but possibly of any year.
I enjoy a good bad musical. And there are plenty of them out there, The Apple, Xanadu, Blues Brothers 2000, but I dare anyone to step forward and claim their love for the film Cats. I also need you to then blow into a breathalyzer because you’re clearly drunk!
One of my favorite musicals is The Forbidden Zone. Now one glance at that film and you could easily pass it off as some cheap garbage, but it has something Cats doesn’t have. Creativity and charm. Also, really great fucking music. And I don’t mean music you fuck to. Even though every cat in Cats moves like they are a second away from screwing each other’s brains out.
My worst list of 2019 was delayed somewhat because I figured no worst of the year list could ever be complete without seeing Cats first. But a screener never came out and there was no way I was going to face the embarrassment of having to physically go out to a theater to watch this. So I went with my second choice for worst of the year and picked Rise of Skywalker.
Now, I still stand by that film being terrible, but in no way is it as bad as Cats. Hell, I even feel like I need to apologize to Frozen 2 in some respects. Sure that plot to Frozen 2 was thin and the music sucked, but lordy it ain’t got nothin’ on Cats.
Cats is a whole new level of bad and I’m not just being hyperbolic either. This sets a new standard of incompetence like I’ve never seen before. Just the idea that anyone with two brain cells would think making this film the way it is, would be a good idea needs to be studied for science, so we can never make this mistake again. Think the trial for the Chernobyl disaster, but for the film Cats.
I have a female short hair tuxedo cat, black everywhere but her white chest, belly and feet. So of course I was slightly curious if they’d portray a tuxedo cat in the film. And they did. But they also made him a magic cat… let me explain. I’ll try my best to describe the plot to this the best I can. It is equal parts thin as hell yet also confusing as fuck.
Not a ton in this film seems to make sense, which might mean a thin plot could benefit it, right? Nope! It’s like burning a cake where the outside is charred black but the inside is still raw cake batter.
This raw batter of a movie starts out with… okay, so here is the thing. Everyone has such stupid ass names in this like Rumpleteazer, Rum Tum Tugger and Skimbleshanks, that I might just skip calling them by their names entirely. Just out of principle I refuse to ever speak the names Rumpleteazer, Rum Tum Tugger and Skimbleshanks ever again. Don’t get me wrong, out of every animal, cats usually have the dumbest names. I’m not innocent to this either. My cat’s name is Boots, because she has perfect white feet that kind of makes it seem like she has boots on.
She has a brother, another tuxedo cat but his feet weren’t as perfect as hers, as the white on his hind leg went up a bit further than the rest, giving off the impression that he has one giant foot. Earning him the name Long Foot.
So I understand the reasoning of naming these cats idiotic names in Cats. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!
Victoria, the sanest name in the whole film, is tossed into the alley, while trapped in a pillow case. When she emerges, she finds herself surrounded by other cats, or what I’ve come to call them “horrific looking CGI creatures that sometimes have faces that don’t sync properly with their bodies”.
Sometimes it looks as if their faces are a frame away from floating off into the ether. Not something I believe was their intent. But after watching this madness, who knows what they did or didn’t intend to do. The choices made throughout the whole entire film are suspect.
Why Victoria was thrown into the alley in a pillowcase, we never know. Just toss that onto the pile of other shit we never learn either. Like what the fuck is a Jellicle cat! I thought they were saying/singing “gelical” cat like angelical. I thought this for a few reasons actually, as I’m pretty sure all these cats are ghosts of dead cats.
The whole plot to this film and I say film very loosely here, the plot is this, every so often a cat is chosen by Judi Dench playing a character named Old Deuteronomy, yes that’s her name. She picks the best cat who introduces themselves by song to then I guess go to heaven.
So yes, the plot to Cats is that of America’s Got Talent and The Voice. And since they all look fucking stupid while doing it, maybe toss some Masked Singer in there as well.
Every single song in the movie is just a cat introducing themselves, that’s it. And when they aren’t singing about themselves, they are singing about how they are Jellicle cats. They must repeat this song at least 5 times throughout the film and it isn’t a short song either, none of the songs are short, but Jellicle cats goes on for at least 10 or 12 minutes. Once you think the song is done, they start it up again.
The lyrics are so repetitive, that I thought I might pull a Nic Cage and start blasting some mutated alpacas in the face with a shotgun. Unfortunately, there weren’t any alpacas in sight, so I had to just sit there and suffer through the god awful music.
After taking their second break from the same song, they run into Jennifer Hudson’s character Grizabella. This character I was completely puzzled by. For one, they all seem to hate her, but they never give a reason as to why, or why she’s shunned from the rest of the group. If they did give a reason, I must have missed it, another example as to why giving important exposition in song form is a bad idea, as most of the time what they were saying was unintelligible. And yet another struggle I had to bear while watching this movie.
I thought maybe at first she was a stray cat and the others didn’t like that, but that didn’t make sense as they are all basically stray cats. But the way she dressed and acted made it seem like she was a prostitute that just got sexually assaulted. Whenever we see her, she looks to be in a daze, like she just went through something terrible. She’s either crying in the street or kneeling on the sidewalk crying. For some reason the Jellicle cats avoid her like she has feline AIDS.
Cats the play was created in the 80’s right at the height of the AIDS epidemic, maybe her character WAS an analogy for how people with the virus were treated then. I could be completely off, it’s just the weirdest damn thing in a film full of weird shit that I couldn’t explain.
The best I could surmise from the lyrics of Jellicle cats is it’s about how every cat has several names, taking a name for whatever role they play like the tuxedo cat that is a magician. He’s a magical cat. Rebel Wilson is a fat cat, and I guess Idris Elba was the devil crack cat? Again, it was the 80’s.
Idris Elba’s character Macavity also reaffirms my belief that these cats are ghosts and the goal being to win a trip to heaven. Macavity is our villain, tempting other cats with crack or this case catnip. He also might be the devil.
His goal, which I wasn’t even aware he was doing, is to kidnap the others who sang about themselves, so Deuteronomy would have no choice but to pick him.
As the cats take Victoria around London, which might have been changed from New York, or maybe I’m assuming it was always set in New York since it had such a long run on Broadway. I know nothing about the play. I’m sure those more familiar with it, might be slightly more forgiving with the confusing plot of the film. Hell, there’s a slight chance you even know what’s going on.
They tell Victoria about the Jellicle Ball, the singing competition I mentioned. Rebel Wilson’s character Jennyanydots is a fat house cat who wants a different life. I didn’t really get what she was singing about or why she wanted to win the competition. Whatever it was, it had something to do with how she’s enslaved some mice and forced them to play music for her and captured a few hundred roaches so they can dance for her…
The most disturbing thing however is the fact Jennyanydots has the ability to unzip her skin. Whenever she needs a costume change, she doesn’t unzip her clothes, no, that would be too easy and not nearly enough nightmare fuel. Instead, they have her unzip her whole body, skin and all. It made my skin crawl each time she did it.
I don’t remember what happens after that, I either blocked it from memory or I fell asleep. But again, it really doesn’t matter as all this film is are cats introducing themselves through song, so you can skip a few if you like and not miss anything.
Next up was the actor cat played by Ian McKellen, who gets taken by Macavity by turning into dust an disappearing, like cats do.
Then after that it’s a railway cat telling his boring story of taking train tickets or some nonsense, at this point I was completely checked out.
Soon after that, Taylor Swift shows up to sing a song about Macavity, drugging the whole theater with catnip.
My cat seems to be completely immune to catnip. I’ve gotten her catnip spray, actual leafy catnip and still nothing, she couldn’t care less about it.
But the cats in Cats seemed to love it, getting high and passing out on the dance floor of the theater they are all squatting in. This is the perfect chance for Macavity to sneak in and kidnap Deuteronomy, forcing her to pick him as Jellicle Choice. When she refuses, he magically poofs her away to the ship he is keeping all the other contestants.
Victoria talks the tuxedo magician cat into using his magic to unpoof Deuteronomy and bring her back to the theater. And through the power of song, he is able to bring her back kicking this film into it’s very final act.
Victoria sees Jennifer Hudson’s character Grizabella having another one of her sobbing fits and talks her into instead of sobbing in the streets, that maybe she should take it inside and cry for everyone else in the theater.
That seems to do the trick as her sobby song touches Deuteronomy and picks her as Jellicle Choice. We do finally get to see what that actually entails, as it’s hyped up as this ability to go to heaven and get reborn. But what it really is is you take a solo ride in what looks to be a homemade hot air balloon.
Grizabella basically just floats off into the sky, if they weren’t already ghosts and maybe they just had this tribal sense of things like the Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy, Grizabella is so dead, most likely frozen to death as no one was controlling this balloon.
They did show her going into a giant cloud shaped like a cat’s face, so again it reaffirms my belief that these cats are already dead. If not, cats are basically sacrificing themselves like the old couple in Midsommar.
After that, the movie is pretty much over now. The thin plot has wrapped up, Macavity wasn’t able to hitch a ride on the balloon, the kidnapped cats got themselves free by Rebel Wilson using her skin crawling ability of unzipping her skin, and last but I hope least, Victoria joins the Jellicles.
And that is Cats. Did it live up to the hype of awfulness? Yes, absolutely. This film is an unmitigated disaster.
Years ago, Steven Spielberg was set to make an animated adaptation of Cats. There’s even concept art made and from the looks of it, would have been really fun to look at. The story would have still be complete garbage, but at least it wouldn’t be nightmare fuel like Rebel Wilson zipping her skin off.
Was there anything good about this adaptation of Cats? Not that I could find. I guess if I had to pick some things that I might have liked, maybe seeing Taylor Swift as a cat was pretty hot.
The song Jennifer Hudson sang at the end wasn’t too bad either. But at that point I think I’d take anything that wasn’t that damn Jellicle Cats song. Because Jellicles are and Jellicles do!
I give Cats a SKIP IT rating. But c’mon, I don’t think that comes as any surprise.
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