Taking place on the streets of London, Cats follows the story of Victoria the White Cat (Francesca Hayward), who is abandoned by her owners in the middle of the night. The alley cats, the Jellicles, approach Victoria and show her the world of the Jellicles as they promote the Jellicle Ball, an annual ceremony where cats compete to go to the Heaviside Layer and be reincarnated.
At the Jellicle Ball, the cats’ leader, Old Deuteronomy, chooses the winner. The competitors express their contributions through a musical number: the pampered Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson), the Lothario Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), garbage can connoisseur Bustopher Jones (James Corden), cat burglars Mungojerrie (Danny Collins) and Rumpleteazer (Naoimh Morgan), Gus the Theater Cat (Ian McKellen), the railway cat Skimbleshanks (Steven McRae), and the magical Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson).However, Macavity, the villainous stray with the power to teleport, wants to win through cheating with his hype-cat, Bombalurina.
Although the movie’s visuals were unsettling, some scenes were ironically captivating and humorous. For instance, Jennyanydots summoned and chowed on an army of bipedal dancing CGI’d human-faced cockroaches. In addition, Jennyanydots rips off her fur, revealing a jazz outfit with fur underneath.
Despite its farce-like qualities, the movie does have some sentimental value. Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), a former member of the tribe who was banished, infuses her solos with mountains of raw emotion that CGI cannot diminish. Grizabella is left alone to contemplate her memories of the time when she was apart of the Jellicles and sings “Memory” while desperately wanting to be accepted.
However, there were a lot of inconsistencies in the CGI. The actors’ faces did not always follow the body of their cat, often leaving their face floating. In addition, there was an abundance of uncomfortable sexual tension, so Cats should not be rated PG.
Overall, Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats and the poems from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Eliot was as indigestible as a hairball. Despite the dull plot, music, and disturbing CGI’d anthropomorphic cats, my eyes were glued to the screen. Cats defied all principles of coherent storytelling and felt like a fever dream. Because of this strange enchantment, Cats is a film I recommend experiencing.