“Cats” Scratched by Critics

Nora Toscano, Reporter

“Cats” made its box office debut on December 20, 2019.  It was greatly anticipated, as it had a cast loaded with A-list actors and actresses, including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, James Corden, Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen, and more.  “Cats” is the story of a tribe of cats who must decide each year who amongst them will ascend and come back to a new life. The film shares its name with the Broadway musical it was based off of. The musical has been on Broadway since 1981, and has won multiple Tonys.  But it seems the movie adaptation did not meet the high bar that was set. 

According to Rotten Tomatoes’s “critics consensus,” “Despite its fur-midable cast, this “Cats” adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.”  Rotten Tomatoes also gave the movie a 20% on its “Tomatometer,” a measurement of critical recommendation for fans based on the opinions of film critics. Most other reviews for the movie have reported that it was very disappointing.  CinemaScore surveyed audiences and found that they gave “Cats” a “C+” on an A+ to F scale. PostTrak gave it 0.5 out of 5 stars.  

A review on “The Film Stage” reads, “Absolutely nothing works here. There isn’t a performer who found their footing in the awful score, nor a piece of CGI scenery that transcends its shoddy date-demanded craftsmanship. Faces lag behind bodies like they’re the filler in a late-90s video game…. Every edit diminishes the terrible and lazy choreography, filleting the dancing which was the only reason to watch the show in the first place, s

o your eyes wander to the feet that magically transform from shoes to flesh because the CGI programming couldn’t keep up with the movement.”  A “Wall Street Journal” critic reviewed, “Mostly, “Cats” is a confusing litter box of intentions, from its crushed-velour aesthetic to its strip-bar sensuality to its musical cluelessness.”

Cast members have revealed in interviews that they had to attend “cat school” to learn how to act like a cat to authenticate their acting in the movie. They were taught how to imitate catlike movements and behaviors, including creeping on four legs, sniffing each other, and nuzzling each other in greeting.  “What kind of self-loathing person does that? Do they really have no self-respect?” says Wantagh High School freshman Ella Cetina upon learning about famous actors getting lessons on mimicking cats.
Overall, it seems that Tom Hooper’s film adaptation did not meet the high expectations that were set for it.