‘Cats’: Hindsight is 20/20

Photo+by+Universal+Pictures+2019

Photo by Universal Pictures 2019

Joshua Smith, Assistant Editor

On December 20 2019, not only myself but the cumulative world awoke from a deep hibernation-type slumber to witness something entirely unique – the movie ‘Cats.’  This movie took the world by storm, not only because of it’s less than conventional adaptation of the popular Broadway show, but because of how quickly it flopped in the box office leading to the creators losing seventy million in revenue. The cause of this massive failure, because of its uncertainty from fans across the nation, has led me to two hypotheses: The first is that the general public does not have the ability to comprehend such a masterpiece, and the second is that this movie actually just deserved to flop in the first place. Both have crossed my mind and have credible reasons as to how they could be true, but after actually having to endure this horrendous mistake that they claim deserves to be seen and enjoyed, I have ultimately come to the conclusion that the latter is true. The movie ‘Cats’ is worse than you can imagine, and I recommend it to absolutely no one unless you are absolutely in for something that you can awkwardly laugh at because of how bad it is. 

I understand that this view may be entirely unfounded to some, but given that the film starts in the rising action introducing plot points such as being a “jellicle” cat and that of ascending to the “Heaviside layer” to gain a new life , I am left with questions that I am to answer myself as they are not explained by the various elements of the plot that confuse and contradict each other. Given this, and the fact that it starts in the rising action, the complete avoidance of explanation as to pretty basic features of storytelling only strengthens these original doubts, for nearly halfway through the film there is still a wisp of hope that maybe at some point they will be resolved through the introduction of what I could only assume is the main character. Given traditional media tropes, their ignorance of the world may prompt a certain element of worldbuilding, because Victoria the White Cat (yes, that is her actual character name) seems as if they are poised to be the chosen one, but in the end I am left with questions of why they were even introduced to the already confused plot to begin with. Sadly, it was all a bust and this cat that maybe had five minutes of screentime throughout the film ended up being the protagonist after all. After all of the other cats deal with what is obviously the antagonist cat, they seep out of the shadows and ascend into the heavens on a hot air balloon as the credits roll. I am not joking, this is exactly how the entire movie plays out, it just ends. There is no epilogue or climax, for the main block that the antagonist presents is snuffed out almost immediately by a cat that apparently has magic powers. Then the antagonist just kind of stops existing. There really is no climax, and it leaves me with more questions than answers. 

Did I mention that there are probably three at most spoken lines of dialogue throughout the entire film? All that is criticized above, the entire ‘plot,’ is followed through in song, sometimes accompanied by the occasional joke where a rather large cat gets hit/falls on their groin, prompting what is known typically as the most complex comedic plot element of all time. This, along with all of the songs involving lyrics about marching roaches and eating literal garbage produce an all-around incredible product that never fails to enhance the experience of sitting through ‘Cats.’ 

In the end, I would recommend everyone that is considering seeing this movie to refrain from doing so. It is not only an unpleasant experience overall, but there is a certain added insult to injury when sitting in a theatre alone watching ‘Cats’ is the best thing you could do with your time, or at least for me this was incredibly apparent. The jokes and musical numbers don’t hit at all and it is at the very least not appropriate for children, even if the rating would say so.