Ever since the release of the first trailer, Cats (2019) has been a disappointment to fans of the musical and newcomers alike. Even from the first look at the celebs with CGI fur, people could tell that the movie would not be a box office hit.
The greatest reason why Cats (2019) ended up being such a cat-astrophe is that the movie interpreted the source material entirely wrong. As a stage play, Cats made a name for itself through the way that the energetic music, exciting dances, and colorfully costumed actors created a memorable experience. The movie? Not so much. Because movies are shown in a pre-recorded format, unlike live Broadway shows, the vibrant experience of Cats is dulled down to a long two hour run time that might just leave you wondering …why?
Camera angles cut off much of the dances in favor of getting a closer look at the faces of the stars; while there are some times that you can see ballerina Francesca Hayward and friends bust some moves on the dance floor (which is part of a sometimes life-sized, sometimes larger-than-life set), it’s more likely that a dance number will only show part of what’s going on.
Along with this inadequate editing, another problem with Cats (2019) is not using the stage play’s purr-fectly good costumes. On stage, actors wear skin-tight body suits and furry accessories, including puffy wigs with cat ears, tails, and sometimes gloves and legwarmers. These costumes are appealing to the eye while still keeping with the notion that all the characters are the small, fuzzy animals that we all know and love. The movie, however, forgoes this in favor of flashy CGI, computer-generated imagery, a factor that movies have begun to use in times where practical effects could do the job just as well. Instead of creating humans who are reminiscent of cats, the designers instead covered the actors in CGI fur, leaving only their facial features for the audience to see. This choice had been critiqued by everyone unlucky enough to see these human-cat hybrids; even since the trailer was released. Creepy cats aren’t the worst part; in one scene, the cat played by Rebel Wilson, named Jennyanydots, unzips her cat skin, revealing the same body, but with a sparkly outfit, underneath. In the same scene, Jennyanydots dances with cockroaches. Not the bugs. Well, sort of- these poor creatures had the same treatment as the cats- they are also disturbing figures created of both human and cockroach alike.
It seems as if Cats (2019) knew that this movie’s flaws were too great for audiences to genuinely have an interest in the movie. To combat this, they obtained a star studded cast of both singers, actors, and talk show hosts alike. However, not even household names like Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, or James Corden could save the film from utter, un-fur-tunate failure.