I'm going to review THAT Cats . Let me begin with ~ I saw the Cats musical ~ or should I say meow -sical? production when I was 1...

Cats the Movie (2019)

I'm going to review THAT Cats.


Let me begin with ~ I saw the Cats musical ~ or should I say meow-sical? production when I was 12 years old. I was a smitten kitten and loved it. What's not to love? It's about cats! It was an immersive experience with the set being a giant junkyard, and the characters only consisting of actors dressed as cats, there were no "people" in the show. Each performer was covered in a lycra unitard trimmed in plush fur and their markings, movements, and attributes are what made them distinct characters in the musical. I was enthralled with the costumes, the acrobatic prowess of the performers, their cat-like nature, and the synth-y keyboard music. I left with a Cats sweatshirt and the soundtrack on audio cassette. (Yes, I'm dating myself now.) When the production rolled through town again ten years later, I was there, still fully in love with everything about it. The latest movie is not the stage production.


I love all these cat costumes and their furry heads are the best part! 

***SPOILER ALERT***

Cats the movie, follows pretty much the story of the musical with a few tweaks here and there. It has cats, rituals, magic, singing and dancing, and the moon. What could go wrong?

The story is based on T.S. Eliot's Old Possom's Book of Practical Cats. (I've written about it before when I blogged about Edward Gorey.) It's about a gang of cats called the jellicle cats that go the the jellicle ball once a year where one of them is picked by a wise cat named Old Deuteronomy to be "reborn" in the Heaviside Layer. It's a place where you can be the cat you've always wanted to be, it could be heaven, or it could have to do with cats having nine lives, it's never really explained. Throughout the musical each cat is introduced and you learn their backstory and why some of them would want to go there.

The first few minutes into the movie it's hard to tell if it's going to be a cartoon because of the heavy CGI on the actors cat ears and tails. They have the faces of the actors and they almost look projected on to the bodies, anthropomorphic cats. At first it's a little disturbing, but by the end of the movie you're used to it. I can see where they thought this might have been a good idea. It's the perfect way to experiment with advanced CGI and I'm sure the actors thought it was cool to be turned into cats. I was hoping that this would update the story, but honestly I think it would have been better with the lycra and faux fur. It was hard to make out the individual cats like in the musical, most of them just look like tabbys, and the fur looks almost flat, without texture. Don't get me wrong the tail and ear movements were pretty accurate, but the costuming ~ if you can call it that ~ falls flat.


The movie takes place on the street set in a theater district. The main scene is performed in a run down theater. It looses the charm of taking place in a dingy junkyard.

The dancing is good, and includes a lot of styles, but its's lacking in the acrobatic style. Most of the leaps and jumps look computer generated, and it takes away from the performance. I did enjoy that they made Skimbleshanks, The Railway Cat, a tap dancer. I'm a tap dancer from way back, and he starts slow with paradiddles and works his way up, it's great!

Here's his full scene if you can stand 4.5 minsutes of it. Lol.


The comedic parts interspersed throughout the movie are BAD, with a capital B. In the original musical, the whole story is told through songs. In the movie, it was mostly told through songs, but there was some hokey comedy bits fit for a five year old. I was waiting for a fart joke. This ruined the tone of the movie.

Taylor Swift's part is miscast. She is meant to play a sexy cat and has one featured song. Sorry Taytay, in my mind you are not a slinky sexy cat. You are a tall young girl that's annoying. In the movie she swings down on a fake moon and sprinkles catnip on the cats. Was this added to give her a bigger role? Not really sure. It seemed completely out of place.


Old Deuteronomy is played by Judi Dench, whereas in the stage production it's normally a male role. It enjoyed this switch-up, and after some research I found out she was meant to be in the very first production of Cats in 1981, but got injured before it opened.

Jennifer Hudson is the best part of the movie. Anytime she sings, it's like she stops time. Her rendition of "Memory" is powerful and dare-I-say moving? It's absolutely beautiful.


A new song was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift for this movie called "Beautiful Ghosts". It's also an equally great song, but it really needs a stronger singer to perform it in the movie.

Overall, I'll say it again, the singing by Jennifer Hudson is the best part of the movie. Don't expect any purrs from me. I predict with the other scathing reviews it's recieved, they will help elevate the versions of Cats to cult status. I give it 1.5 meows out of 5.

Here's the trailer. A little disappointed it doesn't have the original overture because it was so atmospheric, but a reworked version of it...


Here's the original overture...









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