- The new musical-turned-movie “Cats” stars big names like Judi Dench and Ian McKellan, alongside music powerhouses Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and Jennifer Hudson.
- However, the star-studded cast wasn’t enough to save the film from the wrath of critics that was unleashed as soon as the embargo was lifted Wednesday.
- Film critics from various publications had some explosive emotions about the feline feature.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The new musical-turned-movie “Cats” has film critics baffled, exasperated, and all around weirded out by the heavily computer-generated feature.
The film stars big names like Judi Dench and Ian McKellan, alongside music powerhouses Taylor Swift, Jason Derulo, and Jennifer Hudson. However, the star-studded cast wasn’t enough to save the film from the wrath of critics that was unleashed as soon as the embargo was lifted Wednesday.
One critic thought the film was “painful enough to make your heart race for everyone involved.
“Cats are elegant. This ‘Cats’ isn’t. In fact, for a good while – starting with the opening, which introduces pearl-coloured new stray Victoria (ballet superstar Francesca Hayward) to the turf felines who prowl 1930s’ London hoping to be anointed by Old Deuteronomy, and through numbers with Rebel Wilson (as showbiz-mad Jennyanydots), Jason Derulo (as self-centered Rum Tum Tugger) and James Corden (as gluttonous Bustopher) – it’s painful enough to make your heart race for everyone involved.” – Robert Abele at The Wrap
After an animated version of “Cats” didn’t make it to the screen, another critic questioned the circumstances that this CGI version did.
“Once the idea of making ‘Cats’ as an animated feature was rejected, there presumably were multiple tests to figure out a digital approach to rendering the pusses onscreen. It’s almost unfathomable that this one made it through all the preliminary production meetings without someone sensibly calling a halt to the process by saying, ‘Wait a minute, those kitties are damn creepy!'” – David Rooney at The Hollywood Reporter
Another critic was also baffled by the investment – in both time and money – into the film.
“‘Cats’ is technically two hours long but spiritually two cat years long. ‘Cats’ is the most money anyone’s spent on something so disastrous since the Iraq War.” – Gabriella Paiella at GQ
Descriptions of the humanoid cats ranged from “creepy” to “grotesque”…
“With its grotesque design choices and busy, metronomic editing, ‘Cats’ is as uneasy on the eyes as a Hollywood spectacle can be, tumbling into an uncanny valley between mangy realism and dystopian artifice.” – Justin Chang at the Los Angeles Times
… and for one critic, an “unholy, dredged-from-the-uncanny-valley horror.”
“I’m trying to summon a description of the cats in ‘Cats’ that does justice to even a fraction of their unholy, dredged-from-the-uncanny-valley horror. They look like designs for the villains of one of the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies that got rejected for being too unsettling. They look like someone took an enormous amount of psychedelic drugs and then tried to craft a gritty reboot of the ‘Cats’ Broadway show. They look like what I imagine the characters in all Hollywood blockbusters looked like if a furry was put in charge of the film industry.” – Matt Singer at ScreenCrush
Another film critic was delighted by the “monstrosity.”
“To assess ‘Cats’ as good or bad feels like the entirely wrong axis on which to see it. It is, with all affection, a monstrosity.” – Alison Willmore at Vulture
However, one critic thought the movie deserved an average grade.
“Even after 110 tumbling, tail-swishing, deeply psychedelic minutes, it’s hard to know if you ever really knew anything – except that C is for Cats, C is for Crazy, and C is probably the grade this cinematic lunacy deserves, in the sense of making any sense at all.” – Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly
The critic at The New York Times echoed the same subpar sentiment, but in feline terms.
“What a blunder! In feline terms, this is a movie without epic hairballs, without rear-end sniffing, without a deep, wounding scratch. Instead the movie tamps down and tidies its innate strangeness, cutting carefully loose only in its more comic numbers.” – Manohla Dargis at The New York Times
The critic at CNN Entertainment thought the movie was a flop.
“Ultimately, ‘Cats’ feels like a conspicuous waste, in what the studio is describing as an ‘epic musical.’ If the goal was to provide a holiday musical event that’s fun for the whole family, it’s a good idea in theory, packaged in the wrong litter box.” –Brian Lowry at CNN
One critic was stunned at the film, but still came to a rather definitive conclusion about the movie.
“It’s literally incredible. I hope I never see it again.” –Alissa Wilkinson at Vox