Cats: A Purr-fect Trainwreck

A rare work of ill-advised ideas and hallucinatory imagery

No movie in recent memory has been more fascinating than the critically-panned box-office-bomb sensation of last month that is… “Cats.” I have never seen another film where I was simultaneously baffled and fascinated throughout its two-hour runtime. Before we dive in, let me remind you that this movie was made by an Oscar-winning writer/director and stars multiple Oscar-winning actors. But that is what makes it so intriguing, the filmmakers took a story so fundamentally dumb and tried to execute it in the best possible way.

“Cats” is based off the famous Broadway play about a group of felines competing over who deserves to go to heaven. That is just the most ridiculous premise, so I thought it would be over-the-top silliness. But they apparently took the material completely seriously. The craziest thing is that you can never tell what this movie is supposed to be. It moves at such a breakneck pace, constantly introducing new characters and environments that you never get the chance to just think, “What is going on?”

The most glaring problem with this film is the character design. Since the filmmakers were making a “serious” movie, they could not put the actors in silly outfits so they decided to blend human and cat parts together to create the horrific monstrosities that are our characters in this film. Recent movies like the “Planet of the Apes” films have pulled off completely believable computer-generated characters, but in this you never get used to the characters. No matter how realistic the fur looks, the awkward design limits the viewer from becoming attached to the cats at all. You are left constantly cringing at the unsettling sight of known actors covered in fur completely naked.

The viewer is then subjected to the torture of watching these creatures dance around the screen for what seems like eternity because there is almost zero plot. No character arcs, no stakes and no exposition, leads the movie to feel like a fever dream with no end. The plot is just cats introducing themselves and singing about who they are. The first half breaks down to James Corden playing the fat cat, Rebel Wilson as the other fat cat, and Jason Derulo as the sexy cat! The latter included a disturbing scene where he moans while lapping up some milk (this is a PG-rated film).

The only connecting tissue of the movie is the music which I would call the best part of the movie with ten asterisks. I always love myself a good musical but I found the dance numbers and songs to be severely lacking. I do appreciate some of the synths and funky guitar melodies included in the soundtrack which felt like a fun throwback to classic musicals of the 80s. That said, songs like “The Old Gumbie Cat” or “Gus: The Theatre Cat” caused me to legitimately cover my ears.

So where do I stand with this film? When it ended, I wanted to walk right back in and see it again, knowing all the pain I had just gone through. To conclude, I would recommend this film to everyone. This is a once-in-a-lifetime movie; I doubt anything like this will ever be made again. Now studios are using A.I. analysis to determine what films to make, so soon every movie will be the same predictable nonsense. With this in the future, I don’t think any studio will make a failure as spectacular as this anytime soon. If you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” movies, you should make sure to see the sensory overload experience that is 2019’s “Cats.”