Reel Life: “Cats” Without Claws


How you feel about a movie version of Cats is probably dependent on whether or not you enjoyed Cats on Broadway (or on any stage). I was indifferent; I wasn’t completely immune to its certain charms (the otherworldly Betty Buckley’s incandescent performance, to be precise), despite the flimsiness of the score, sets and costumes. So, considering the source material, the film will probably be better by fiat. I’ll also surmise that the screenwriter, Lee Hall (who also wrote the screenplay for the film Billy Elliot as well as the book for the stage version, both wonderful), who co-wrote this screenplay with director Tom Hooper, has structured some sort of plot out of a book-less musical.

However, Jennifer Hudson, who portrays Grizabell, and looks like she spent some time in a litter box at Chernobyl, sounds pretty dreadful singing “Memory” (Hudson’s chest register is still non-existent, and the “…touch me…” is purely anti-climactic), and the eternal nuisance that is Rebel Wilson continues to annoy, even if briefly in a short trailer. Also, must. James. Corden. Be. Fucking. EVERYWHERE?!?!

That said, the choreography is by the brilliant Andy Blankenbuehler (three-time Tony winner for “In The Heights,” “Hamilton,” and “Bandstand”), and Dame Judy Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Sir Ian McKellan as Gus, The Theatre Cat, and Idris Elba as Macavity, will probably be worth the price of admission alone (or at least the eventual VOD rental), even if the names Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift are enough to cast some serious doubts. (Not to mention Hooper, who ruined the film version of Les Miserables with inept direction.)

But what the fuck do I know? This will probably make a fortune.

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