I am going to strive to not make any cat puns during this review. We’ll see how well that goes.
There was a woman in my theater sitting two seats from me who was waving her hands in her face to keep from crying and she was clearly filled with joy over this movie.
I’m glad that she found joy here, because there was little to no joy to be found by me.
This was a total crap-show.
I’ll get the positives out of the way first. God bless Ian McKellan. He was the one actor, appearing as Gus the Theater Cat, who seemed to know what movie he was in. When he meowed, I nearly fell out of my chair.
Second, the musical performance of Memory by Jennifer Hudson was astounding. Hudson has an amazing voice and she put every last bit of emotion into that version. I also have a special place in my heart for the song, Mr. Mistoffelees so I liked hearing that song.
That was about it.
You may wonder why I have not done the plot synopsis that I normal do. Simple. There is no plot here. The story is severely lacking at best and at worst non-existent. From what I can tell, the story was that each new Jellicle cat arrived and sang a song about who they were, hoping to be selected by Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) to be reborn into a new life on the Heaviside Layer. No explanation of what any of that means, mind you, but there it is.
The biggest issue with the movie is the horrific CGI that made these wonderful actors into some kind of nightmarish cat/human hybrid. It may look somewhat better than that terrible trailer they released earlier this year, but it still looked atrocious. Jennifer Hudson was frightening as she performed her brilliant version of Memory.
There were times where I simply stared at the screen in utter shock over what I was seeing.
The tone of the film was scattershot. One minute, it felt like the movie was intended to be a comedy (such as when James Corden and Rebel Wilson were on screen) and in another minute it felt like a serious drama (when Judi Dench and Hudson were on screen). Meanwhile, there were dancing and singing cats all over the place.
The size of the cats was inconsistent. Some times they seemed as if they were supposed to be human sized. Other times they seemed to be cat sized. There was even a time, when they were walking on a rail, that they seemed to be tiny, almost mouse-sized. This is just sloppy editing and direction.
Most of the music could not replace the story and it made much of the movie feel boring. None of these characters that were introduced, outside of Gus, were interesting at all. Macavity (Idris Elba) was the main villain, but there was little point to him. He arrived to spirit away the individual cats so they would not be around for the selection. This whole subplot was forced and irrelevant.
This may be a film that eventually will find its place as a cult movie or a film to be riffed by RaffTrax Live or some type. That would be purr-fect.
Dang it. I didn’t make it.