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  • Writer's pictureMartin Cheney

Cats. Kill it with fire.


Let's get one thing perfectly clear. Cats is an absolute dumpster fire of a movie. And by that I mean that the cats seem to spend a lot of time in dumpsters and I spent a lot of time hoping that the dumpsters would catch on fire because that would mean the cats would all burn to death and the movie would be over and I could go home.

Perhaps the most common criticism levelled against the musical Cats is that there's no story and it doesn't make any sense. Well, the film adaptation goes one step further by not even giving it the chance to not make sense; the audio mix is so atrocious and vocal levels so poorly balanced that they might as well have been singing in Chinese. At one point I SWEAR Judi Dench spoke-sang "so I'll dance with these beautiful goats" and I nearly screamed (see picture 4 below - yes, I was so beside myself with despair that I resorted to taking selfies so that at least one entertaining thing would be occurring in the cinema).

Look, to be fair, I hate the musical too, so I'm probably not the right person to be judging the quality of this film (not that that's going to stop me, but virtue signalling is very on trend at the moment). All I know is that I paid for a ticket, sat down and then about 2 hours later I didn't even want those two hours back because it would mean I would have to relive them in some way and I would rather them just be in the past so I can move on with my life and never think about it again.

For the sake of balance, it wasn't without fleeting moments of near-redemption. I found the Skimbleshanks sequence to be undeniably joyful and everything Ian McKellen and Dame Judi did almost won me over (except when she lifted her leg in the air in appreciation what on EARTH). Unfortunately, these little teases of what this film could have been could not overpower the film it was - an unmitigated disaster and frankly criminal waste of money (AUD140 MILLION! ME-OWWW!).

Have you ever heard an actor phone-in a laugh? I have. I heard Idris Elba do it quite recently. Also, I think Taylor Swift must have started regretting her involvement about halfway through the production phase, and so she thought 'maybe if I sing terribly they will ask me not to be in the movie anymore.' Alas. I can't wait for her to win the Oscar for Best Original Song That Is Totally Incongruous With The Music In The Rest Of The Film. [EDIT: thank goodness the For Your Consideration campaign was pulled]

I'm convinced Cats will earn some kind of cult status in due course, and I'm not so blinkered that I can't see why some will enjoy the sheer audacity of its lunacy and unbridled campiness. Each to their own, I guess. Needless to say, La La Land is no longer my least favourite film musical, and that's probably the best burn I can muster. PS - I caught a glimpse of Judi Dench's wedding ring, and one of the dancers' knees goes straight through the floor at one point.

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