The cat claws are out for skewering Tom Hooper’s “Cats,” but not mine. The mega popular Andrew Lloyd Weber Broadway musical, based on T.S Eliot’s poems from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, now is a film that is far from purr-fect but it is weirdly entertaining, fun, and poignant.
This could be a “The Greatest Showman” déjà vu, where that film was a bust with critics but the public loved it. Director Tom Hooper (The Kings Speech, Les Misérables), who also co-wrote the script with Lee Hall, has created a moody, lush world where cats rule. Within that world the cats sing, dance and have their own catty dramas. The singing is wonderful and the dancing is dazzling. Newcomer Francesca Hayward plays Victoria, and she is a charming, graceful revelation as is Robert Fairchild who plays Munkustrap. Jennifer Hudson’s grizzled Grizabella, sings a soul searing rendition of “Memories.” Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy and Ian McKellen as Gus The Theater Cat are of course wonderful as well as Idris Elba as the scary Macavity. Taylor Swift is sexy Bombalurina, James Corden as Bustopher Jones and Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots are a bit muggy but amusing. Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger gives a good turn.
Hey, the film makes no real sense, what is a Jellicle cat anyway? But neither did the stage show. It’s not a Marvel movie, no one gets shot and there are no lasers or fighting. “Cats” is poem brought to life with innocence, a winning score which will enchant children and non-cynical adults alike. “Cats” is a Purr-fectly fun and truly entertaining film. The naysayers that are pouncing on it. Well let’s just see how the ‘Litter’ Box Office turns out!