Cats: The Worst Film of The Year and Decade

Taylor Swift as Bombalurina in "Cats," co-written and directed by Tom Hooper.

Cats may be musically pleasing to Broadway musical fans but for movie goers, the visual effects will only make someone want to gouge their eyes out.

There’s a point in the film where Ian McKellen’s Gus The Theatre Cat says: “The theatre is not what it once was.”  To which a colleague of mine responded with “Amen.”  Amen indeed.  This film is quite the disgrace to theatres everywhere.

Listen, I don’t know if anyone asked for this film.  But here’s my mindset going into the film: I never saw the musical.  Not only this but I’ve also managed to avoid the trailers to the best of my ability.  Regardless, not even the cast can save a film that is so visually displeasing to the eye.  Even for the Cats veterans, one can only hope they saw something in this film.  I sure didn’t!

Sir Patrick Stewart’s career got so low to the point in which he lent his voice to a piece of shit.  Unfortunately, Dame Judi Dench and X-Men co-star Sir Ian McKellen have reached a similar low point.  Instead of voicing a piece of shit, they are dressed up in cat suits with terrible visual effects that–again–make you wish to gouge your eyes out.  As for the film’s camerawork (combined with sloppy editing), it made me very nauseous.  Songs like “Memory” come with the same sort of extreme close-ups that won Anne Hathaway an Oscar.  Having never seen Cats on Broadway, I’m feeling forced to ask if Rebel Wilson’s character was as sexual in the Broadway musical.

It’s not that the cat suits are bad but they are REALLY BAD.  For one, none of these cats have genitals while the female cats have boobs.  How do they relieve themselves?  It’s one of the most pressing questions as a result of the CGI/catsuits.  Also, these cats have mastered the ability of walking on their hind legs.  My late border collie wasn’t even able to accomplish that feat?  What are they putting in the British milk or water?  Don’t answer that.  It’s a rhetorical question!

Last year, I wrote that The Happytime Murders was the worst film ever made.  Holmes and Watson shortly followed.  To think that another film would overtake this slot just over a year later is unfathomable but here we are.  This film doesn’t even have Russell Crowe in the cast.  G-d forbid he sings in another film again!  At least Pierce Brosnan was able to redeem himself after horrid singing a few years ago.  For the love of everything holy, please keep Tom Hooper away from directing another musical on the big screen.

Here’s the really sad part: Cats had bad things going for it even before it screened for press.  When the Oscars announced its shortlist, “Beautiful Ghosts” was nowhere to be found.  While that may be bad news for Taylor Swift, the news gets even worse for the film.  HFPA screened an unfinished version of Cats and didn’t think it was worthy enough for Best Comedy/Musical.  This is a group–much criticized–that usually falls head over heels for musicals!  Maybe we’d have been better off letting this film open without bothering to screen for press.  A few of us were laughing during the film but it wasn’t even the good type of laughs.  No, it was the THIS IS SO BAD, IT’S TERRIBLE type of laugh!

Visual effects can make or break a film.  The visual effects broke this film so much to the point in which I lost faith in filmmaking.  What’s really sad is that Tom Hooper is going to end up just fine.  Unlike many female filmmakers who end up one and done after a film fails, Tom Hooper won’t end up in filmmaker jail.  He’s going to be just fine in the long term.  Maybe not the short term.  Let’s put it this way, I’m not planning to see another Tom Hooper film anytime soon.  Or maybe even ever.

As far as motion picture musicals are concerned, Cats is no Fiddler on the Roof–it’s a cinematic disgrace.

DIRECTOR:  Tom Hooper
SCREENWRITERS:  Lee Hall, Tom Hooper
CAST:  James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and introducing Francesca Hayward

Universal Pictures opens Cats in theaters on December 20, 2019. Grade: .5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.