Cats

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Director Tom Hooper has a lot to answer for…
The man who gave us The Danish Girl, The King’s Speech and the 2012 version of Les Misérables seems to have had some sort of mid-life crisis and has desided to punish humanity by adapting the hit musical for the screen (despite the fact it’s a bit shit). Helping him do so are a starry cast transformed by unfinished visual effects into all singing, all dancing, animal/human hormunculi that manages to out-weird every version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau ever made while trying to inflict upsetting fetishes on any unsuspecting soul who views it. Sort of like The Ring for Furries…
The year is 3427, a virus has swept all traces of human life from the face of the earth and the prominent lifeform that stalks the streets of a deserted London are super evolved cats who meet up once a year to celebrate their unholy existence in an evening that will end in death…
Ok, that’s not what Cats is about, but it sure makes a damn sight more sense than what the movie is ACTUALLY about.
Originally conceived for the stage by living toad-creature Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on a series of poems by T.S. Elliot (presumably written on parchments forged from the skin of sacrifices babies) Cats concerns itself with a special night of the year when the “Jellicle” cats (nope, no idea what that means but they say Jellicle a LOT) gather for a talent contest where the prize is to move onto the afterlife to be reincarnated into the life they’ve always wanted – essentially it’s X Factor but the winner gets euthanized (maybe they should try that on the real show too…). As Victoria, a young, abandoned cat struggles to understand this new world she finds herself in (much like the bewildered audience) we are treated/punished by various musical numbers from different cats who all seem to be desperate to be dead.
However, renowned cat criminal (?) MacCavity has a plan to kidnap all the contestants so he will be a shoo-in to be awarded the sweet kiss of death (seriously, there are a lot of cats in this movie with a death-wish; should I be worried) will he succeed? Can the audience tolerate an hour and forty minutes of forgettable songs until someone sings “Memories”? Will any of us escape with our collective sanity intact after witnessing this brain bleeding abomination?
Less a movie and more of a seemingly neverending parade of cursed images, watching Cats is what I would have expected watching The Exorcist was like back in the 70’s: a gruelling endurance test for the soul that’s loaded with forbidden sights that makes you question the very existence of a loving God.

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I could simply reel off a list of images that causes the human body to involuntary have violent “nope” spasms but technically that wouldn’t be much of a review – but then considering that Cats isn’t much of a musical, I guess turnaround is fair play, so here goes…
Sub par visual effects aside (that causes some actors heads to queasily float free of their bodies like a helium balloon despite clearly being attached at the neck) you are constantly being bombarded with contradictory evidence as to how big these creepy feline bastards actually are – for example, in one scene Victoria wears someones rings as bracelets and brandishes cutlery the size of a 2ltr bottle of Coke (I’m thirsty, sue me) but earlier on it’s established that a loaf of bread has roughly the same mass as a small pillow… so…? Like a cluster of dancing creatures you would more likely spot whether struggling with sleep paralysis or watching that “Where’s Your Head At?” music video by Basement Jaxx isn’t bad enough, you also have to contend with the vertigo inducing size issues as WELL?
Also, who in the name of everlasting fuck thought it wasn’t anything but a hideous mistake to not only feature tiny terrified mice with the faces of anxious children but a chorus line of cockroaches with the blank grinning visages of the Rockettes (the Cockettes?)? If this laundry list of purest nightmare fuel wasn’t enough, the eldrich, lovecraftican horror that is familiar actors digitized into cat form keeps popping blood vessels throughout.
Ian McKellen (looking like Sabretooth from the X-Men has spectacularly dropped out of rehab) persists on making yowling/yawning sounds like he’s in the throes of a particularly powerful stroke, Dame Judy Dench totters about looking like a fuzzier Garfield and Jennifer Huston nails “Memories” but you can’t help but be distracted by the Blair Witch levels of snot cascading out of her nostrils like a leaky faucet… Jason Derulo has Dick Van Dyke’s Mary Poppins accent out on loan and is abusing the shit out of it, James Corden and Rebel Wilson’s parts are nothing but consolidated fat jokes and – by far worst of all – the image of a VERY nude looking Idris Elba covered in a sleek and uncomfortably shiny computer generated pelt stirs so many conflicting feelings and emotions, you feel it only fair for Universal Studios to cough up the fee for your inevitable therapy.
Add the fact that everyone, while pretending to be all feline and slinky, all come across like they’re all in heat and I’m frankly stunned this monstrosity has been labelled a “U” certificate.
It was widely publicised that Cats was unleashed into cinemas with much of the CGI unfinished (the version I saw certainly was) but you truly are unprepared how brain meltingly upsetting some of these visuals are, as the film seems to have announced squatting rights in the uncanny valley has has definitely refused to leave. Actor skulls visibly change shape every time they cock their heads giving their bone structure the density of taffy and a scene involving a bunch of prancing pussies tap dancing on a railway line contains some of the worst visuals in modern history.
So why in the name of Rum Tum Tugger’s testicles have I given this atrocity 2 whole stars? Answer: because I truly believe that in a decade or so this film will be discovered by the same sort of crowd who elevated Tommy Wiseau’s The Room and Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls into midnight trash classics and a future of cult sing-along screenings and drinking games await (although anyone who attempts to down two fingers every time someone utters Jellicles will most likely be hospitalized within the first 20 minutes) and who knows, maybe someday someone may actually up the ante by adapting Starlight Express in the same way…

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Imagine it – singing half human, half machine abominations who look like they’ve escaped from H.R. Giger’s tortured imagination to star in some bastard musical abortion that plays like Tetsuo: The Iron Man with a melody.
An experience truly like no other, to watch Cats dredged up many an emotion but ultimately feel more like a boot square to the Jellicles…
Me? Ow…
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