Directed by Tom Hooper. Cast: Francesca Hayward, Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Robbie Fairchild, Laurie Davidson, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, Ray Winstone, Steven McRae, Danny Collins, Naoimh Morgan, Mette Towley, Laurent Bourgeois. 2019 108 minutes Rated: (for some rude and suggestive humor).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman for TheFilmFile.com, December 19, 2019.
The thing to love most about "Cats"the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and this dazzling big-budget screen adaptation from director Tom Hooperis it treats felines seriously. Cats are layered, beautiful, mysterious, one-of-a-kind creatures. They can be loving and affectionate, silly and mischievous, skittish and shy, wriggly and prickly, thoughtful and stubborn, generous and devoted. They also are, let's face it, royalty of the first order. This musical understands all of that in a way that will be genuinely touching for cat lovers and fans of the show. Is it uniquely strange and is the synth-tinted score foreboding and is the production design of a deserted nighttime London simultaneously wondrous and portentous? Yes, yes and yes. It's supposed to be. And after the initial sight of furry, CG-enhanced human actors embodying the movements and senses of cats, it all stops being disconcerting and fully immerses those viewers with the imagination and willingness to go on a fantastical journey never before captured in this manner on film.
Let the haters hate the picture; most critics walked in with their claws at the ready to attack, likely forming pithy put-downs and snide Rotten Tomatoes-ready quotes before they'd even entered the theatre. The truth is, "Cats" is destined for cult status, misunderstood by the uninitiated, unaccepted by the "it's-cool-to-hate" crowd, and cherished by a special brand of audience who sees the value in art that dares to be different. "Cats" is wild and strange and truthful, seeping into one's memory and staying there. Best of all, it adores its title creatures in their every complex, wonderful facet.