REVIEW: ‘Cats’ a furry, frisky train wreck

Last year’s movies were stockpiled with loads of CGI-infused blockbusters that sit on the broad shoulders for this year’s box-office success. But, very sneakily, in comes “Cats,” a film that has orchestrated a social media circus in which anyone and everyone is parading around the fever dream of a cinematic experience and its perpetual failures in all monetary or critical ways. 

But, the strange thing is that the film is such a monetary failure, with Universal set to lose anywhere up to $100 million because of their unnecessary creation. This makes me believe that people haven’t subjected themselves to the actual experience before criticizing it. 

As much as I wanted to speak on behalf of trailers, interviews and reactions, I had to witness this, whatever it is, for myself.

What I can say is that the film is the furriest and friskiest train wreck of a cinematic endeavor that I have endured in quite some time. It’s one thing for a film to be average, to feel like your time has been wasted and leave with no lingering thoughts or images of any sort of resonance whatsoever. 

“Cats” contrasts this with nightmare-inducing shots of the director Tom Hooper’s human-cat crossovers, glossed with this cel-shaded filter that felt like a two-hour video game cutscene. 

If you are as unfamiliar with the source material of “Cats” as I was, the story is essentially one that revolved around exposition yet simultaneously being utterly void of it. Each scene introduces a cat: who they are, what they do and why they should rise to the Heaviside Layer, which is this universe’s heaven. 

If everything that revolves around this fruitless plot was this static, Hooper’s film would be interchangeable with any recycled awards-season musical flop. But thankfully, the film’s sole focus is on everything else. At least, that must have been the attempt. 

Hooper and his cast’s paint strokes feel like missed attempts at getting paint in the first place. The CGI is not committed to looking realistic or looking cartoonish, thus lying knee-deep in the uncanny valley, with every character appearing as if they are in different films than each other. 

The one cat that stands out the most has to be Jennifer Hudson’s portrayal of Grizabella, where it legitimately feels as if Hooper directed her in a completely different manner than anyone else in the film. She cries, and snots, more than Anne Hatheway in Hooper’s more critically and financially successful musical counterpart, 2012’s “Les Misérables.” 

The misdirection, awful effects, lack of meaningful subject matter and overall lack of self-awareness in the project’s becoming, “Cats” proves to be the failure that everyone assured it to be.

But, there’s more. 

Is “Cats” awful? Yes. But is it meaningless and void of any enjoyment? Absolutely not. 

This is where the critique of review aggregation sites like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes come into play. Films have overwhelmingly negative scores, then they are seen as bad films. Fair.

A score is an indicator, but behind that score is context and explanation underneath said rating. This is where the difference between subjective and objective analysis comes into play more than any other film I saw in 2019. 

“Cats” is easily, and objectively, the worst film I saw in 2019. But it’s not just a typical type of bad or mediocre. It is so of the hinge bad that you just can’t take your eyes off of it. 

The points of discussion that this film has surged in social environments since I saw it has been immense. It is already shaping up to be the uncanny hit of 2019, maybe even the decade, as the biggest dumpster fire of the year solidifies in social relevance of the past, the present and maybe even the future. 

It’s cult classic status awaits, but for now, do yourself a favor and see this film if your expectations are what they should be: low on quality, high on unadulterated fun.