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Cats (2019)

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So many questions...  

First of all, why Cats in the first place?  I know, I know, it ran for eight billion years, but it's been closed for decades and it was the butt of jokes even when it was running.  It's a weird musical even on stage, it has little to no plot, the music isn't great, save Memory (the Jellicle Cats Song, makes me want to take an ice pick to my eardrums).  That being said, how did this abomination come into being? 

How high was the production team that they thought this looked good?  Why do cats have boobs?  Why does this look like a body horror film that should have been directed by Cronenberg?  People caught halfway between human and cat... Why do I feel like Tom Hooper really liked Cat People and said, "Let's make that a musical?"  Why not just either make them CGI cats or go cheap and put them in costumes...

Edited to add

What are the chances of seeing CGI tap-dancing cockroaches in this, do you think?

Edited by Proclone · Reason: adding a thought
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On the news, they showed the "Cats" trailer but someone used the voiceover from the "It: Part 2" trailer. It matches. lol 

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On 7/24/2019 at 9:29 AM, Proclone said:

It's a weird musical even on stage, it has little to no plot, the music isn't great, save Memory (the Jellicle Cats Song, makes me want to take an ice pick to my eardrums).

I always liked Macavity but, yeah Memories and Macavity are pretty much the only two good songs, IMO

Edited by Morrigan2575

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It's the dancing that makes the show more than the singing or any storyline, the way they move like cats. I saw the musical on stage years ago and enjoyed it. Then a DVD of a theater production came out and my young kids were riveted watching it. I'll give this a look but won't be expecting much. I find Jennifer Hudson too shouty. I'm afraid she'll ruin "Memory" for me.

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On 7/24/2019 at 9:29 AM, Proclone said:

So many questions...  

First of all, why Cats in the first place?  I know, I know, it ran for eight billion years, but it's been closed for decades and it was the butt of jokes even when it was running.  It's a weird musical even on stage, it has little to no plot, the music isn't great, save Memory (the Jellicle Cats Song, makes me want to take an ice pick to my eardrums).  That being said, how did this abomination come into being? 

How high was the production team that they thought this looked good?  Why do cats have boobs?  Why does this look like a body horror film that should have been directed by Cronenberg?  People caught halfway between human and cat... Why do I feel like Tom Hooper really liked Cat People and said, "Let's make that a musical?"  Why not just either make them CGI cats or go cheap and put them in costumes...

Edited to add

What are the chances of seeing CGI tap-dancing cockroaches in this, do you think?

They should have went with Wicked! instead.

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Until last night, I'd only seen the trailer for Cats here/on my computer screen.  I saw it before a movie, on the big screen, and it's terrifying when it's ginormous like that. 

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I have had cats all my life.  I never, ever thought of them as one pirouette away from a ballerina.  More clutzy at least once a day and only half capable of hiding a mistake as intentional.  

Friends gave me the book of poems on which Cats is based before the play became famous.  (They are also cat people and we have had cats in common.) 

Then I saw the play, several times. 

We'll go see the movie.  It would have to be a total masterpiece to have a chance to supplant the stage play in our affections.

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Well that was a little less freaky compared to the tease even if I think when I see it  Iwill spend all my time overthinking hwo the cats change sizes. One minute they appear super small compared to objects around them and next minute they seem regular size cats. I also chuckled at how hard that trailer tried in trying to fool the uninitiated that there is a solid plot to the story. I didn't seethe musica, just the filmed dvd version and all I remember is that it was 2 hours of singing and dancing cats who every now and then would remind us that someone was getting chosen for something special later that night, not plot in sight.

If the music in the trailer is replicated in the movie then maybe, just maybe it will be worth a trip to the cinema. The score sounded rich and amazing.

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On 12/8/2019 at 9:15 PM, Writing Wrongs said:

Every time they show the commercial for this, it creeps me out. It looks so weird, I don't get it.  I can't believe the names they got to be in this.

Extremely creepy. Part of the magic of the musical is the fantastic costumes and the way the dancers move like cats. This CGI crap demeans it somehow. 

Edited by ferjy

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This thing is spawning some fantastic reviews. By which I mean the reviews are wonderfully-written about how much they hate this. Some of my favorite quotes:

"This movie feels like a prank, but I'm not sure on who."

"In full disclosure I'm not a cat person. After watching this ... I'm not sure I'm a movie person anymore either."

"Congratulations to dogs."

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Lindsay Ellis' unironically loves the stage musical and she got to see it a a press screening. Her tweets about it is awesome:

 

Edited by VCRTracking
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On 7/24/2019 at 9:29 AM, Proclone said:

What are the chances of seeing CGI tap-dancing cockroaches in this, do you think?

Well I would have lost money on that bet...I went to see this because the reviews were hilarious and I have Regal unlimited and it didn't cost me any extra money.  It is both somehow so much worse and so much better than I could have ever imagined.

I said the quote above never ever in a million years thinking they would have tap-dancing cockroaches in a mainstream big budget movie.  My jaw just about hit the floor when I saw them.  In fact I figured despite the horrific CGI that the movie would retool Cats in a pretty significant way, tone down the weirdness of the musical and give it an actual plot and probably make it pretty boring.  Well they certainly did none of those things.  I mean it doesn't make it a good movie, but it makes it an experience for sure.

I agree with Lindsey Ellis that the Old Grumby Cat sequence was one of the most disturbing things from the start.  First of all there were several lingering shots of Rebel Wilson's crotch...Why?  I have no idea.  Then come the mice, which weren't super horrifying until you realize they're played by children and Jenny threatens to eat them...That's right folks, Rebel Wilson threatens to eat small children.  The the travesty continues with the tap dancing cockroaches...which she does eat (though mercifully they are played by adults).  It's got to be one the most trippy, weird, off-putting sequences ever put to film.

I will give them the CGI is slightly less disturbing then it was in the trailer.  I mean it's not good, but it's no longer the stuff of nightmares.  And I will give everyone who wasn't a big name star props for going full cat.  I mean they look like theater students who's instructor made them do animal exercises, but they did commit.  Everyone who was a big name star seemed to forget they were in a movie where they were playing a cat...Except perhaps Sir Ian.  Judy Dench certainly did.  Jennifer Hudson (who did sing the hell out of Memory), seems to have no idea that's she's supposed to be playing a cat, she even looks slightly confused when Dench goes to touch heads with her at the end.  I think they forgot to tell her she was actually in Cats, and just asked her if she could swing by and sing a couple songs.  Rebel Wilson and James Cordon, simply appear to be in the SNL skit version of Cats.  And the less said about Idris Elba the better.  I've loved him since he was Stringer Bell in the Wire, but he was bad in this, really really bad.  And not really in a fun way.  

I agree that Taylor Swift did the best musical number (and of the big names looked most like a cat).  Though it seemed and odd choice to make her sing in a British accent, which you only hear on certain words anyway.  I get it was set in London, but why ask her if you're going to make her do something so out of her wheelhouse.  I didn't hear an accent with Derulo.

I will also give major props to Francesca Hayward who not only danced her butt off, but has a beautiful singing voice.  I hope this gets her work in an actually good musical.

This is not a good movie, I repeat this is a very bad movie, but it is fun.  And if you have the money to waste (or a rewards card or the like) you should see it in theaters, just to say you did.

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A local reviewer gave this an F grade. I've often seen him give D- to awful movies so giving an F must mean it's really.......special.

See you all at the Razzies.

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Want to get the full unadulterated horror? Better see it now!

 

As the article notes, it's an unprecedented move for a studio to update a film's VFX less than a week after its release date. The longform pieces and oral histories about this debacle will be something else...

Edited by Dejana
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While I have no doubt audiences under the influence of just about any kind of substance are exactly the people to appreciate it, I'm wondering if that's true.  Especially if they'd had to do a second rush job on the special effects after everyone noticed the lag between the movements of the actors' bodies and their faces.

No matter what, the eventual longform article and oral history are going to be fascinating in about ten years.

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10 hours ago, starri said:

While I have no doubt audiences under the influence of just about any kind of substance are exactly the people to appreciate it, I'm wondering if that's true.  Especially if they'd had to do a second rush job on the special effects after everyone noticed the lag between the movements of the actors' bodies and their faces.

And a lot of the reviews have also been that it’s boring in addition to being a clusterfuck so I doubt it.

It only made $6.5 million this weekend.

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Cats was the first show I saw on Broadway, the ridiculous “plot” didn’t matter because the Wintergarden was completely transformed into a junk yard, the cats made eye contact with the audience, and there was a flying trapeze on stage! 
 

Having said that, there was absolutely no reason to make Cats into a film. It’s absurd, awkward, bizarre, and the best $15 I’ve spent in a long time. Every choice that the film makes is wrong. They should have saved 100 million dollars and just did a one night only concert and filmed it for PBS. 
 

 

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8 hours ago, TwopLurker said:

just did a one night only concert and filmed it for PBS. 

I cherish my DVD of the stage show.  I had seen it playing in a city-to-city version and then saw it on a major city stage (the details of the always in one place were, understandably, better.)   But all the bits I've seen from this movie aren't going to displace my love of the stage version.  We will go to the movie version later this week. but I'm beginning to worry that it will be as odd as the warped ballet in the Blake Edwards' movie S.O.B.

Edited by enoughcats
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5 hours ago, TwopLurker said:

Cats was the first show I saw on Broadway, the ridiculous “plot” didn’t matter because the Wintergarden was completely transformed into a junk yard, 

You just reminded me of when I worked for an insurance company that was owned by someone heavily into broadway & art. One day I walked into the office, & there were giant pieces of of garbage all over the place. I don't just mean larger than normal garbage, I mean 6 feet tall empty soda cans & carpet sized old newspaper kind of garbage. Turns out they knew somebody who worked on designing the stage show of Cats, & these were all props from the show. It was cool once you knew what they were, but they didn't tell anybody that the pieces were coming, so we all just walked into work to find giant garbage all over the place. Kind of unnerving.

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I'm also one of those people who loved Cats because it was the first professional show I ever saw. I loved watching our HS musicals and so desperately wanted to see a professional one and this one sounded fun to me.  And, yes, I loved it.  I was in awe of the dancing and singing, the stage and even enjoyed most of the songs.  I didn't care that I didn't quite understand what the plot was.  However, I never thought it would translate well to screen.

Because it was a sentimental favorite, I winced when I heard the first of the bad reviews come in, but now?  Some of them are so funny (especially the ones on Twitter from random people)  that I'm getting a good laugh out of them.  When it's streaming, I'll watch at least some of it out of curiosity. 

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Breaking Banter's review of Cats.

Damn, Bailey looked so cute with the kitty filter. I have no desire to see this movie, as I absolutely did not enjoy the musical when I saw the touring version of it circa 2011, but Bailey's dumbfounded reaction to it gives me life.

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On 12/21/2019 at 7:58 PM, Dejana said:

Want to get the full unadulterated horror? Better see it now!

 

As the article notes, it's an unprecedented move for a studio to update a film's VFX less than a week after its release date. The longform pieces and oral histories about this debacle will be something else...

There will probably be articles by Monday helpfully detailing for us the changes that viewers detected between original recipe disaster and extra crispy. If anyone comes across those, I'd love to get links.

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49 minutes ago, Milburn Stone said:

There will probably be articles by Monday helpfully detailing for us the changes that viewers detected between original recipe disaster and extra crispy. If anyone comes across those, I'd love to get links.

One of them will be Judi Dench's hand

6581ed7a24b8421ca6fcf6d0692fbda4_md.jpg

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On 12/21/2019 at 10:21 PM, AimingforYoko said:

I betcha this movie makes its money back on midnight screenings.

This is a camp classic in the making.  Do it Rocky Horror style proper and it will recoup its money.  It will decades - but eventually it will get its money back.

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Is anyone surprised that this is a total disaster.  Hooper f**ked up Les Mis.  

His interview for that monstrosity was that he didn't understand how people would all of a sudden burst into song.

He has no business dealing with musicals - especially one that never had good reviews and was the butt of everyone's jokes.

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7 hours ago, Macbeth said:

Is anyone surprised that this is a total disaster.  Hooper f**ked up Les Mis.  

His interview for that monstrosity was that he didn't understand how people would all of a sudden burst into song.

He has no business dealing with musicals - especially one that never had good reviews and was the butt of everyone's jokes.

Tom Hooper's directorial choices actively work against the quality of his films.  I have seen every single film whose director won the Oscar for Best Director, and Hooper's win for The King's Speech is ranked dead fucking last.  Partly, it's due to the quality of the work of the other nominees that year, all of whom were so superior to Hooper that it's not even funny.  Partly, it's because his choices served to highlight him the director and how impressed with his brilliance he is/we the audience should be, rather than to serve the story itself.  The reasons I liked the movie (the acting and writing) were in spite of him and his direction, but I would've liked it much more with a better director.  His choices are distracting, amateurish, and nonsensical, and I just think he's terrible.  And he really did almost ruin Les Mis (well, he and Russell Crowe); again, the only reason I didn't absolutely hate the film was due to some of the acting (Hathaway, Jackman, Redmayne – whom I've never liked since) and the wonderful score.

I already loathe Cats (my hatred of it is directly proportional to my love of cats, which is immeasurable), and I detest Hooper, so I just think Cats + Tom Hooper = cataclysm of end-of-days magnitude.

Math doesn't lie and is amazing.

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We waited 'til the day after Christmas to see Cats.  The early afternoon show had less than twenty folks there and two really loved it. 

My husband totally appreciated that he could understand the pronunciation of the dialog AND songs (I should admit that we've never been able to afford tickets close to the stage in any venue in any country.)  I hated the editing of the show, just 'cause you can cut the film into 15 second (or less) snipets doesn't mean you should.  I hated that the cats moved like lemurs with lemur tails.  It bothered me that the cats ears were so small and only some of them moved appropriately.  

The song Old Deuteronomy had me in tears, it always does. (I've had so many cats that lived long good lives, but their ends come too soon.) 

I had said I wanted to compare this movie version to a stage version.  We had made a video tape and more recently transcribed it to a DVD.  It was from a PBS Great Performances of Cats from 1998 and that was recorded in England, with cast from both the London and New York versions. I still love that version. I had forgotten how much I loved the costumes; then I saw the new improved version and wasn't much impressed yesterday, but seeing my old favorites made me hate the money they wasted on adding insufficient, bad hair days to the 2019 cat company.

I will challenge you to compare Elaine Page's Memories to Jennifer Hudson's. They are different, probably due to Directors' choices. 

Then I compared John Mills' Gus.  With less makeup, he did more.  He made no effort to dominate, but I loved his Gus so much more.

Will I buy a copy of the movie?  Probably not.  I am looking to find a full length version of the 1998 PBS version.  

What's really weird, though, is that yesterday's viewing left me with a brain worm of one song.  Today's watching didn't because there are so many in the stage show as presented then that I really embrace emotionally.

 

This website has photos from the 1998 version for comparison with the movie's kitty faces.  You might also enjoy what a Jennyanydots' costume is like when she was on equal footing with the other cats (as opposed to created comic + singer.) 

 

 

 

Edited by enoughcats · Reason: Found a website with photos of the London production
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And then when the one thing they could have got a nom for at the Oscars - Best Original Song - didn't even make the short list (before it opened), I guess with the negative response from critics and the public they thought screw it and gave up. Although with all the negative responses I'm not curious to see how bad it actually is. Plus it allows me to enjoy some air conditioning in this Aussie summer.

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11 hours ago, GaT said:

Jennifer Hudson as a cat

The show we saw started with previews, and the first was Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin and she looked and sounded so good. 

Then her singing in Cats...in my totally uneducated about music opinion...I thought the intentionally weakened voice brought pathos and then she belted out a few lines.  I found the song sadder than in the stage show, and I chose to avoid looking at the closeup, which didn't do homely cats (of the meow variety) any favors.

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It was everything I hoped it would be and more and I sincerely enjoyed the experience of watching it.  Say what you will about it, but it's not dry, meandering, or boring.  

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13 hours ago, GaT said:

I clicked on the link & it was the first time I had seen Jennifer Hudson as a cat & she's TERRIFYING!!!!!! Scared the crap out of me LOL

I am not a fan of Jennifer Hudson's singing, but she didn't deserve to look that bad LOL.

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What makes it worse is that it has the Spielberg touch, which makes it all the more forgettable even if he only executive produced the film. Spielberg hasn't had a good film in God knows how many years.

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On 12/27/2019 at 3:01 AM, NUguy514 said:

Tom Hooper's directorial choices actively work against the quality of his films.  I have seen every single film whose director won the Oscar for Best Director, and Hooper's win for The King's Speech is ranked dead fucking last.  Partly, it's due to the quality of the work of the other nominees that year, all of whom were so superior to Hooper that it's not even funny.  Partly, it's because his choices served to highlight him the director and how impressed with his brilliance he is/we the audience should be, rather than to serve the story itself.  The reasons I liked the movie (the acting and writing) were in spite of him and his direction, but I would've liked it much more with a better director.  His choices are distracting, amateurish, and nonsensical, and I just think he's terrible.  And he really did almost ruin Les Mis (well, he and Russell Crowe); again, the only reason I didn't absolutely hate the film was due to some of the acting (Hathaway, Jackman, Redmayne – whom I've never liked since) and the wonderful score.

I already loathe Cats (my hatred of it is directly proportional to my love of cats, which is immeasurable), and I detest Hooper, so I just think Cats + Tom Hooper = cataclysm of end-of-days magnitude.

Math doesn't lie and is amazing.

Very well said.

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