It’s actually worse than I feared.
Bland studio-hack helmer Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) takes the most obvious, least-creative approach to his adaptation of Cats, the daring Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that (love it or hate it; full disclosure, I love it) took huge risks in adapting poems by T. S. Eliot to become a Broadway sensation (it was sort of The Lion King event of its day).
Indeed, this film adaptation needed somebody like Lion King stage visionary Julie Taymor to bring it to the screen. Instead we’re left with Hooper, who simply slaps furry VFX onto his all-star cast. The end result is a bad, sometimes creepy photoshop disaster.
Granted, everything else about this movie’s look is spectacular, no doubt a result of the talented award-winning artists that Hooper surrounded himself with. Unfortunately, Hoopper lacks a distinct and necessarily-daring vision to bring it all together in an ambitious way.
The trailer ends by making this promise: “This holiday season, you will believe.” I hope so, because right now I sure don’t. Something will have to dramatically change between now and then for that kind of miracle to happen.
Starring Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, and introducing Francesca Hayward, Cats opens December 20, 2019.
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