Photo provided by: Julia Moon
Review on Cats
February 27, 2020
Shortly after the movie rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Cats” was released on December 20th, 2019, reviews and opinions followed either applauding the film, or criticizing the weirdness of it all. Junior Angelina Jonkaitis (pro) and sophomore Brooke Holland (against) share their thoughts on the cinematic adventure, explaining their perspectives on whether they viewed the movie as a magical experience, or a terrifying one.
Full disclosure: I could not even finish watching this movie.
Prior to seeing Cats, I found it hard to believe how a studio with a 95-million-dollar budget to remake a beloved Broadway musical could be as bad as the media portrayed it. However, after sitting through just the first fifteen minutes of watching the strange and unnatural “Jellicle cats”, awkwardly observing as they pranced around the streets, I realized how. While some scenes do have value to them, the overall product is awful to watch.
The moment the first scene began, I immediately started to question my decision to watch it. The overly realistic CGI made it hard to focus on the storyline of the movie (the occasional and out of place cats wearing trench coats did not help either). Furthermore, as the story progressed, the plot got lost and the whole storyline can easily be misinterpreted as a Hunger Games, but with cats.
An excessive amount of editing mistakes due to the film being rushed into theaters also contributed to the movies’ low ratings and bad reviews. In one of the scenes, actress Judi Dench is exposed with her human hand rather than that of a cat paw, wedding ring and all. There were additional instances where cats were seen floating in chairs, fur was misplaced for feathers and discoloration in the faces was apparent.
Not only did critics have negative opinions toward the motion picture, but even the actors have tried to dismiss Cats. Taylor Swift, for example, shared in an interview with Variety she was “in no way aware of how the cats of Cats would end up looking.” She also chose some choice words to describe the film.
The talented cast portrayed the felines considerably well and the vast use of detail in keeping the “Jellicle cats” true to that of a real cat, were about the only good things that came from this film. Despite the intentions to do justice to a classic musical by bringing it to the box office, this is undeniably a movie that is best suited in the litter box.
Cats got your tongue?
The movie adaptation of the stage show “Cats” is artistic, creative, beautiful and eye-catching. Despite watching it with expectations to hate the film due to negative reviews and comments, I ended up really liking it. On Dec. 20, Universal pictures released “Cats.”The film received a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and it only made $6.5 million on opening day, despite the budget being around $95 million.
The moment the first scene began, I instantly fell in love with all the details in the background. The fact that all the cats are small compared to the buildings really makes the viewer feel part of their world and their story. The movie is about all the Jelicle cats who want to become reincarnated into their second lives. As you travel around the town learning about each cat, the setting reflects the character. For example, when first introduced to house cat Jennyanydots, it is revealed she likes order which explains why she teaches the rodents and bugs how to behave. The use of bugs compliments the stereotypes of household cats catching rodents to protect their homes.
The cast was extremely talented and each song was so catchy that I found it hard not to dance or sing along. “Memory” is by far my favorite song from the track and Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella carried the song perfectly. Her voice was so powerful I almost started crying. Not only was the cast powerful vocally, but the dancing was unique and reminiscent of the original “Cats” on Broadway. Each song was different and the dancing helped tell the story of the Jellicle cats. The camera angles and cuts made this film stand out. There is one transition where the cats go from being out in the town to being on a railroad track and that really caught my eye. All of the cats were dancing to Skimbleshanks song about how he wanted to be a train conductor, but a clean and precise transition allowed them to suddenly be dancing on the railroads.
However, “Cats” the musical does have some flaws. The CGI needs work and on opening weekday, the CGI glitched and the fur was replaced with feathers and some cats lost their features when they moved. Universal had to send a new copy of the movie to replace the glitched version. Considering that the film was not fully animated and actors were involved, the CGI outlined the human bodies which gave the cats a creepy human figure. It is not an easy job and people will make mistakes, so it would not be fair to hate the entire movie just because of a few minor errors.
“Cats” might have had its negative reviews but if you look at it from the standpoint of art, Webber’s piece is unique to its time. With its dancing, singing, costume choice and overall design. The film had its own style and personality, and that is what made it enjoyable.