Tom Hooper’s ‘Cats’ adaptation (based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber) has faced much criticism online. But the musical film, is scoring fairly average reviews from critics. We sent a reporter to see if the film is truly as bad as social media is making it out to be.
If an empty cinema is a message, this was a definitive bad omen. During the trailers, I thought back to the anticipation of this film and the star studded cast that marketed the next instalment in Hollywood’s trend of musical blockbusters. Since the success of ‘La La Land’ and ‘The Greatest Showman’ we have seen the market change towards a commodity for musical based films. So when I first saw the trailer for ‘Cats’ I expected it to become the next hit film, with no doubts in my mind whether it would be a success or not. But a few days since the premiere, and the critical reviews were flooding in with no mercy, leaving the film becoming nothing more than a meme. However, with such a celebrity cast and notorious soundtrack, I doubted it could be as bad as they claimed it was so I began my experience with an open mind.
The first thing to note, is during the first five minutes it became clear how awful the CGI was. Bodies blur whilst dancing, the scale of the setting is not to scale in comparison with how big cats are- in one scene that takes place under a kitchen table, you only see a tiny amount of table leg, depicting that the cats are somehow miniature. The setting isn’t very HD throughout, there is a very 2000’s film esque situation behind the main characters at all times, and it becomes distracting from the plot and soundtrack of the film- in fact, the CGI wasn’t ready for this film and I don’t think the audience was either.
Those musical buffs would have been studying the soundtrack more than anything else, so it’s a massive factor when considering the whole film. The soundtrack was one of the highest points for me, it was executed well, the songs were catchy and you cannot miss Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of ‘memory’- the iconic song from the musical. The downside, is the song Taylor Swift performs, where she has to do a British accent and she ends up sounding Australian- another distracting moment from the plot.
I think the cast was the main selling point, and with big names like Dame Judy Dench and Sir Ian McKellen, it was going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I will admit, that most of the cast were excellent. I was most shocked by Jason Derulo, having not seen him act in anything before he was great, and his British accent was fantastic also, even when singing. Idris Elba as Macavity was a welcome casting, and couldn’t have been any better. Dench and McKellen were exceptional as always, but the true stars were Jennifer Hudson and Francesca Hayward for me. Both of them were brilliant singers, dancers and actors, even with the dodgy CGI behind them they still stood out.
What annoyed me when watching the film, was how unnecessary some castings and quotes were. Rebel Wilson was meant to be a comedic role, but instead created a cringe factor that dampened the viewing. James Corden was near enough the same, although America adores him in anything so it’s clear why he was chosen. Taylor Swift should not have been in the film full stop, her accent was terrible and her character had no real value which made the audience look puzzled. What this film has in great characters, they also made up for in bad- which is probably why this film is only getting average reviews.
All in all, it’s clear to see why this film has mixed and average reviews and also why musical fans were left disappointed. Much like an unfinished school project, it had plenty of potential but failed to reach those top barriers in order to get better reviews. It is disappointing though as it casts a shadow over the actors who really made the film. One thing is for sure though, I guarantee the DVD sales will soar due to those not wanting to spend money seeing it in the cinema.