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‘Cats’ Movie Review

3 min read

Movie Information:

Release Date: December 20th, 2019

MPA Rating: PG (for some rude and suggestive humor)

Runtime: 1 hr 42 min

Directed By: Tom Hooper

Written By: Lee Hall and Tom Hooper

Starring: James Corden, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Ian McKellen, and Francesca Hayward


Based upon the Broadway musical of the same name, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats brings the fantasy to the big screen. The film has a star-studded cast which includes such stars as James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, and Rebel Wilson. 

The story takes place on the streets of London, and involves an abandoned kitten who is introduced to street life by a group of alley cats. The group is part of the “Jellicle” tribe and take her under their wing. The four cats also acquaint Victoria (Francesca Hayward) to the annual Jellicle Ball where cats compete at a chance for a new life in the Heaviside Layer. Victoria is then introduced to some of the competitors. They include Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), Bustopher Jones (James Cordan), Gus (Ian McKellen), and Macavity (Idris Elba), who believes it’s his birthright to reach Heaviside Layer. For this reason, he plans to win by any means which includes kidnapping his competitors. 

Later, Victoria meets the tribe’s matriarch, Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) after being rescued from danger. The young feline meets Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), a repentant cat who once was a Jellicle but banished for siding with Macavity. Old Deuteronomy tells Victoria that she could become a Jellicle Cat someday too, before an evil feline by the name of Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) and two other cats distract the Jellicles, while Macavity kidnaps Old Deuteronomy and threatens her life. 

The rest of the movie involves a rescue of Old Deuteronomy, the freeing of other cats, and the Jellicle Ball competition. A new winner is crowned and rides a hot air balloon to the Heaviside Layer, while someone becomes a new member of the Jellicle Tribe.


Cats was supposed to be a musical theater major’s Broadway to the big screen dream. Unfortunately, the Andrew Lloyd Webber film adaptation has been anything but. With the hype surrounding the summer theatrical trailer, and the ensemble of high-profile cast members, Cats was an anticipated hit this holiday season. Saying it missed the mark, would be an understatement.

Let’s begin with what can be seen. The characters are a bit creepy to look at due to some poor CGI work. Faces do not always follow the body they are placed upon, and collars even seem to float in the air at times. Hmmm. The dancing sequences fall flat due to poor editing and special effects. And finally, the scenery is out of proportion to the cats who live there.

Besides visually lacking, the singing is off key, and the director cannot seem to focus in on a scene. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong with this movie, did. Even legends such as Ian McKellen and Judi Dench could not save Cats from derailing.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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