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Cats review: Even Taylor Swift and Idris Elba can't save the musical from being the worst movie of the year

Fur real

Text: Aravin Sandran


I'm hardly one to beat around the bush, so is Cats as bad as the reviews make it out to be? The answer is a straight-up yes. Inspite of the highly entertaining wordplay that's been dished out against the movie-musical, I know there'll still be some of you who are thinking of catching it just to see how bad it actually is, but I beg you. Don't do it. It's 110 minutes of your precious time this end-of-year holiday season that you will never get back. If you're in the mood for disappointment, waste away a couple of hours watching the anti-climatic conclusion to the Star Wars saga instead. Better yet, why not watch this YouTube compilation of actual cats dancing?

It's such a shame, because the Andrew Lloyd Webber-composed musical is currently running in Singapore at the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands, but director Tom Hooper of Les Misérables fame has ruined Cats for me not just the musical, but the four-legged feline as well.

That might sound like an exaggeration, but it's been two days and I still can't seem to look at any cat the same way again solely because of Rebel Wilson and no, it wasn't because of her comedic genius this time. She could hardly hold a tune as the clumsy ginger Jennyanydots, but it was her obscene fanny-scratching with her legs to the sky as well as disturbing snacking of some tiny human-faced cockroaches that made me lose any reasonable hope just about 30 minutes into the film.

The fustrating thing is, nothing much ever happens. In a nutshell, Victoria played gracefully by Francesca Hayward of London's Royal Ballet gets abandoned by what seems to be the only human in the post-apocalyptic town of Jellicle one evening. She spends the rest of the night singing and dancing along with the street cats and then bears witness to "Jellicle's Choice", a talent showcase like Britain's Got Talent, but instead of a sour-mouthed Simon Cowell, a grand fur-adorned Judi Dench reigns over.

Don't get me wrong; there were laughable moments of camp that didn't stink half as bad as day-old cat litter: late night TV host James Corden's turn as the spats-wearing, dumpster-diving Bustopher Jones, veteran actor Ian McKellen's heartfelt performance as well as Taylor Swift's one-song cameo that will surely get all of her Swifties all purred up despite its Oscar snub.

Considering Jason Derulo's much-discussed non-existent crotch, Idris Elba's buff and velvet-like chocolatey body as well as every other cat's Kardashian-like voluptuous frame, I'll be hard-pressed not to mention the overt sexual undercurrent, which I'm sure will find particular resonance with those familiar with the 'furry' subculture.

In the end, not even Jennifer Hudson's snot-ridden rendition of "Memory" could salvage the "horror" as I overheard someone utter as the credits rolled up. Named as the "Jellicle's Choice", she was sent packing on a hot air balloon to God-knows-where. Yet, strangely enough it felt like a fitting conclusion for a film that was filled with rhymes, but hardly any reason.

Cats hits local theatres on 26 December. Watch it if you care.

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