A Night at the Egyptian

Cats

Director: Tom Hooper

Cast: Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, Francesca Hayward, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Laurie Davidson, Robbie Fairchild, Ray Winstone, Steven McRae, Danny Collins

Based upon Modernist poet T. S. Eliot’s poetry collection, Old Possum’s Books of Practical Cats, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats the musical has been a Broadway and West End hit for decades.

The film version of Cats directed by Les Miserables director Tom Hooper is fascinating, surreal but also quite lacklustre and this is due to the uneven casting of the film.

Cats as a film has superb production design with brilliantly realized costumes and sets, but viewers must be familiar with the Theatre production of Cats which was primarily about movement, dancing and singing.

To turn such a successful theatrical production of Cats into a hit film is a daunting task for any director. Despite Tom Hooper’s success with such films as Les Miserables, The Danish Girl and The King’s Speech, he unfortunately misses a golden opportunity to make the cinematic version of Cats absolutely dazzling and that has a lot to do with the strange casting choices for the roles.

While Oscar winner Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) adds gravitas as Old Deuteronomy, Idris Elba’s green eyed Macavity is just plain weird and as for Rebel Wilson and James Corden, they should not have been cast at all as their interpretation of Jennyanydots and Bustopher Jones is utterly cringe worthy.

What saves Cats is Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson’s interpretation of Grizabella as her solo numbers are superb and she really anchors the film with a brilliant onscreen performance and fantastic singing.

All the professional singers cast in Cats are really good, including a mesmerizing performance by Taylor Swift as Bombalurina whose onscreen entrance is clearly inspired by Nicole Kidman’s entrance in Baz Luhrmann’s masterpiece Moulin Rouge. Jason Derulo equally holds his own as Rum Tum Tigger and Laurie Davidson’s interpretation of Mr Mistoffelees is spot on and charming.

The narrative arc of Cats goes completely off track but audiences must remember that the musical was loosely based on a collection of lyrical poems, so there was never a strong story to begin with. The middle of Cats is entertaining especially the tap dance scene performed by Steven McRae as Skimbleshanks. Newcomer Francesca Hayward holds her own as the novice feline Victoria.

Unfortunately the beginning and ending are terrible and audiences get a sense that director Tom Hooper was a bit out of his depth with this film production. But perhaps if Baz Luhrmann had directed it, viewers would have gotten an entirely unique interpretation.

Cats as a film is enjoyable but not brilliant, saved by magnificent soloist performances, solid production design and generally speaking the cinematic effort should be applauded and not so universally mocked as it has been on social media.

Despite the dubious casting choices, Cats only gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is really aimed at ardent fans of the hit musical production.

Comments are closed.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
December 2019
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • Biden’s Antitrust Squeeze May Grease the Wheels for TV Deals (Column)
    The Biden administration made a statement earlier this month when the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the $2.1 billion sale of Simon & Schuster. Merrick Garland’s body block of the deal that ViacomCBS struck with Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House sends the message that the White House is paying attention to the pace […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • Disney’s ‘Encanto’ Leads Muted Thanksgiving Box Office, ‘House of Gucci’ Lands Impressive Debut
    Disney has reclaimed its rightful place at the top of Thanksgiving box office charts. “Encanto,” the studio’s new animated musical fable, collected $40 million since Wednesday, a robust tally at a time when family audiences haven’t been eager to return to cinemas. It’s become holiday tradition for Disney to release a family friendly movie around […]
    Rebecca Rubin
  • Domenico Procacci on Making Directorial Debut With Davis Cup Docuseries ‘The Team,’ Trailer (EXCLUSIVE)
    Italian producer Domenico Procacci, after shepherding more than 100 movies and several TV series, including Netflix’s upcoming Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lying Life of Adults,” via his Fandango shingle, is debuting as a director with six-part documentary series “The Team.” Variety speaks to Procacci exclusively about what prompted him to go behind the camera for […]
    nvivarelli
  • BTS Lights Up L.A.’s SoFi Stadium on Night One of Permission to Dance Tour
    BTS kicked off its four-night takeover of Los Ang’s SoFi Stadium on Saturday night with a much-anticipated sold-out show that thrilled tens of thousands of proud Army who packed into the venue. The two-hour set, for the boy band’s Permission to Dance On Stage tour, was rife with confetti, smoke, pyrotechnics and — of course […]
    Angelique Jackson
  • ‘Dying to Divorce’ Review: A Sobering Documentary That Scrutinizes Turkey’s Femicide Problem
    “Dying to Divorce” begins and ends with an onscreen counter, ticking over as rapidly as a zealous taxi meter — if only it were measuring anything so banal. Instead, it’s a representation of Turkey’s appalling rate of femicide over recent years, the screen below the counter filling up with the names of women murdered by […]
    Guy Lodge
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90