Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic musical finds new life in this adaptation that follows a community of magical cats on the evening of their annual ball.
Runtime: 1hr 49m
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Ray Winstone, Francesca Hayward, Larry Bourgeois, Laurent Bourgeois
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/81140928
I’ll start this weeks review by saying I only watched Cats to see why it is hated so much by so many people, I mean the amount of hate it got on social media when it was added to Netflix must mean that it is really bad – right? Wrong! I honestly didn’t find it to be a terrible film at all, I’ve watched some shockers in my time but this was not one of them. Before I start a pile on let me justify my reasons.
As “Cats” is very closely based on the stage show by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber which in turn is based on Old possum’s Book Of Practical Cats a book of poetry by TS Eliot; if you don’t like musical stage shows such as Hamilton then you more than likely won’t like “Cats”. Although it is not filmed on a stage the sets are very much like the sets you would see on the West End but maybe with a few more added special effects. There is also not much spoken dialogue in the film it is mainly sung, even the few spoken parts are performed rhythmically, and the actors move in same way as they do in the stage show, cat like delicate and almost ballet-esque.
“Cats” follows a tribe of cats called the Jellicles who, meet each year at the Jellicle Ball, where the tribe leader Old Deuteronomy hosts a talent show to decide which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life. It is a widely held belief by fans that the Heaviside layer is the Jellicle cat’s equivalent of Heaven – which means the whole film’s story is about cats who want to die, told through lots of happy singing and dancing 😉
The lead cat Victoria, who is a kitten who has been abandoned by her owner is played by newcomer Francesca Hayward who does a brilliant job of acting and dancing like a cat but sometimes seemed a like nervous when she was singing solo. One of the funniest performances is by the brilliant James Corden who plays Bustopher Jones a parody of an Edwardian gentleman of leisure. He is described as the St. James’s Street cat, a regular visitor to many gentlemen’s clubs in the area, he is particularly interested in fine dining and the cuisine available at the different clubs. However at the first sign of trouble, he leaves as swiftly as he can. Corden is obviously not a theatre trained singer or dancer by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t mean his performance is not both professional and entertaining. Whilst all the other performances are equally as good my favourite performance was by Laurie Davidson who plays Mr. Mistoffelees the magic cat who is a young black-and-white tuxedo cat with magical powers that he cannot yet fully control.
The costumes are all created using some amazing CGI technology, which makes the cats look like some sort of human/cat hybrid, the CGI is also used to create some of the cats’ more elaborate jumps and leaps. This is one of the ways in which the film strays (see what I did there) away from the stage show where traditionally the costumes are leotards with fur sewn on and a bit of face paint. The use of CGI does at times cause issues where you may be able to see human hands or feet when you’re not meant to, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the film at all and to be honest I probably wouldn’t have noticed if it hadn’t been publicised so I was looking for it but even then I think I only noticed it once. One of the other ways that it deviates is that Macavity the mystery cat who is played by Idris Elba has a bigger roll in the film compared to the stage show but as we don’t do spoilers I can’t really expand on how much of a part he plays.
All in all I honestly believe that “Cats” deserves a watch, if only for the fact that most people know at least some of the words to most of the songs so can sing along. Meow!
Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!