Cats

Critics Consensus

Despite its fur-midable cast, this Cats adaptation is a clawful mistake that will leave most viewers begging to be put out of their mew-sery.

20%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 314

53%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 6,963

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Movie Info

Universal Pictures and Working Title's Cats is a most-unexpected film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's beloved smash musical "Cats" and the poems from "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," by T.S. Eliot. Oscar (R)-winning director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, Les Misérables, The Danish Girl) brings astonishing new technology to transform his cast members. Acclaimed casting director Lucy Bevan is casting the film adaptation. The epic will be produced by Hooper and Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, as well as fellow Les Misérables producer Debra Hayward-who brought the idea to Working Title. CATS will be produced by Working Title Films in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group and executive produced by three-time Oscar (R) winner Steven Spielberg, Lloyd Webber and Angela Morrison. Hooper and Lee Hall (Billy Elliott, War Horse) have adapted the story for the screen. One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, "Cats" received its world premiere at the New London Theatre in 1981-where it played for 21 record-breaking years and almost 9,000 performances. The groundbreaking production based on T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" was the winner of the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Musical. In 1983 the Broadway production became the recipient of s

Cast

James Corden
as Bustopher Jones
Judi Dench
as Old Deuteronomy
Jason Derulo
as Rum Tum Tugger
Idris Elba
as Macavity
Jennifer Hudson
as Grizabella
Ian McKellen
as Gus the Theatre Cat
Taylor Swift
as Bombalurina
Rebel Wilson
as Jennyanydots
Ray Winstone
as Growltiger
Laurie Davidson
as Mr. Mistoffelees
Robbie Fairchild
as Munkustrap
Mette Towley
as Cassandra
Steven McRae
as Skimbleshanks
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News & Interviews for Cats

Critic Reviews for Cats

All Critics (314) | Top Critics (48) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (251)

  • The movie "Cats" is-forgive the critical jargon-pretty good.

    January 3, 2020 | Full Review…
  • However amazing the trickery may be... the characters fall awkwardly into the crack between animal and human, and the plot, which requires them to sing and dance in competition with one another, is scarcely more convincing.

    January 3, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Whether you think the imagery is beautiful or nightmarish, this is a film that demands to be looked at.

    December 30, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The movie is outlandish and sexual and confusing. But that doesn't make it a bad movie. In fact, I'm going to call it a good movie.

    December 28, 2019 | Full Review…

    David Oliver

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • It's just baffling and yet it must be seen... It's bad, but you've got to experience it.

    December 27, 2019 | Full Review…
  • While it's far from being perfect, or even purr-fect, it certainly doesn't warrant the abuse that has been heaped upon it. At the very least, it deserves a chance.

    December 26, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cats

  • Jul 24, 2020
    A truly unforgettable disaster. Tom Hooper manages to take an already bad idea (Turning "Cats" into a live action movie) and makes it even worse than you could possibly imagine.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 25, 2020
    Anyone who says that this is the worst movie of the decade is clearly displaying either an ignorance of the majority of major motion picture releases or is simply engaging in hyperbolic vitriol because CATS is some of the lowest hanging fruit in theaters right now. Yes, it's gross to look at. Yes, it's a sonic pummeling. But no, CATS is far from the worst movie of the decade, much less the year. Any bad movie lover will be disappointed to find that it's a gawdy, confusing, and relentlessly obnoxious Broadway music adaptation...so it's your standard, completely normal Broadway musical adaptation. Please forgive my casual disregard for the medium, but I think it's safe to say that all things Broadway are for a fading, niche group of enthusiasts at this point. I'm sure those people will all go see this adaptation without much complaint. I'd like to point out to anyone calling out Tom Hooper's CATS for the admittedly weird CG design of the characters that strolls down to the uncanny valley is hardly a far cry from what I normally see and feel every time I watch a superhero movie. Something is off. It looks unreal. I'm looking at nothing, but my eyes tell me that something is there. From the visual clutter of TRANSFORMERS to the de-aging of characters in a movie as fine as THE IRISHMAN, I have a hard time chastizing one and forgiving the other. It all looks like fake crap to me because I know it's not there. Compare this to hybrid visual composites like KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS or the "Dark Crystal" netflix miniseries where it's obviously practical motion captured crafted materials enhanced by computer graphics. I think most people can ease into the unreality of those more because it isn't trying to sell the authentic reality of it at all. Be actually fantastical, or get outta my face with that ish. With that said, furries will yif for joy with all of the weirdly fetishistic posing and writhing going on here. I never thought I'd see Judy Dench splayed and kicking in any context, much less as a cat person, but I actually found Rebel Wilson and James Corden less repulsive with all of the extra hair. Idris Elba is obviously having a lot of fun doing his best cockney Wesley Snipes impression, and the rest of the cast are committed enough that at the very least the movie isn't terribly boring. I couldn't wait for it to end, but the same could be said of a lot of films I sit through. I think ultimately that the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber speaks for itself, and there is no denying the craft and years of onstage refinement that did most of the heavy lifting before it all culminated in this box office disaster. I just don't think it deserves all of the hate it's gotten. It's not so bad it's good. It's not so bad it's horrible. It's just bad.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2020
    It's far more enjoyable watching a cat lick it's own anal orifice. None of whom even attempt such self-indulgent grooming here.
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2019
    I have two words for you: Cats. But that doesn't make sense, you say? Exactly. Back in college, it seemed like every performing arts major had that Harvey Edwards "Leg Warmers" photo hanging on their wall. You know the one with the well-worn stockings and the tattered, duct-taped ballet slippers in plié? It signified a commitment to T.H.E. T.H.E.A.T.R.E. - a world of over-enunciations, mid-Atlantic accents, treading the boards, finishing lines to the very end of one's finger tips, and playing to the back row! I'm convinced Cats was made for them, not only to enjoy but to be a part of in order to hone their "craft". I mean this in a loving, celebratory way. Cats may enter the history books as a gasp-inducing, surreal, plot-free nightmare of gargantuan proportions, but this one's for all the theater geeks who lived to strut across the stage and put on a show. It's that Theater 101 Class which decided to very publicly let the rest of the world in to see its students "be a cat" for a couple of hours. Tom Hooper, who turned Les Miserables, a show I genuinely love, into a fish-eyed, overwrought live singing, dutch-angled disaster, expands his repertoire a little bit here, but not enough to convince me he should continue directing musicals. He keeps things moving along but the script he co-wrote with Lee Hall doesn't do him any favors. I found myself entertained by individual moments, but nothing really adds up to a contained whole By now, I think everyone knows that Cats doesn't really have much of a story. A bunch of felines introduce themselves in song until an elder cat selects one of them for the honor of dying, going to kitty Heaven, and being reborn to experience the next one of their nine lives. Think of it as American Idol for the meow crowd, replete with its own Simon Cowell-esque villain. Idris Elba plays Macavity, who tries to destroy the competition by turning them into some type of mist and rebirthing them on a barge in the Thames! Yeah, that tracks. It all plays out like some long lost variety special from the 1970s. Google Shields And Yarnell if you have to, and then imagine them hissing and prancing around a soundstage as the words "Cats" and "Jellicles" bore their way into your brain. Francesca Hayward plays Victoria, an abandoned cat who acts as our entree into the Picadilly Circus world of our cast. Rebel Wilson pops in to pulverize a character named Jennyanydots, followed by James Corden doing the same with Bustopher Jones. Some lesser known actors show the big celebs how to do it right such as Laurie Davidson as the magician Mr. Mistoffelees and Robbie Fairchild as Munkustrap, who looks like a young Stephen Colbert in a cat suit. Jennifer Hudson oozes snot and phlegm as the tragic Grizabella, who oversings "Memory" but still managed to make me cry. Jason Derulo appears long enough to put down some outdated funk into our ears. Dame Judith Dench and Sir Ian McKellen appear as elder statescats and commit fully to their Glenda The Good Witch and Mr. Cellophane roles respectively. Taylor Swift appears long enough to convince us that her fake English accent on her hit "Blank Space" was no fluke. Still, I enjoyed her shimmying and sprinkling glitter down on the crowd from atop a descending moon…and that, my friends, is not a sentence I expected to write when I woke up this morning. Many have quibbled about being able to see Old Deuteronomy's (Dame Dench) wedding ring, but who cares? Unfinished CGI? Crew members in the background? Inconsistent proportions? Furry bodies with human hands and feet? Cats wearing furs made from other cats? Bring it! You're all literally crying over spilled milk. When nothing makes sense, why should anything? In a script where nothing builds from one moment to the next, the emotional ricochet of it all doesn't do character development or a plot any favors, but it does produce some standout moments. I enjoyed the Artful Dodger "Consider Yourself" type number by Skimbleshanks, the cat who lives on a train, especially when the cast dances on the tracks across London in an extra wide shot. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who created the stage musical and clearly has never met a melody he didn't repeat over and over, cribs from his Jesus Christ Superstar "Hosanna" song with Mr. Mistoffelees' big number, but damned if I wasn't singing along to it anyhow. Not everything works, of course. Most of it doesn't. The creepy CGI will haunt my dreams, replacing images of Linda Blair vomiting pea soup with uncanny valley humanoids shaking their furry asses in my face. I found what choreography I could see as being uninspired, although it's hard to tell when it gets chopped to bits. The color palette can best be described as Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland threw up on Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and out of the ooze came a mutant version of Moulin Rouge and Chicago. I even take issue with Old Deuteronomy's choice at the end. There's one cat who literally saves her life, yet somehow she doesn't consider that worthy enough. Besides, who really wants to win a contest where the prize is dying, hanging onto a Phantom Of The Opera chandelier attached to a hot air balloon and ascending to some place called the Heavyside Layer? No thanks, I'll take my chances in hell, Dame Dench! In conclusion, everyone should see Cats. I shouldn't be the only one. When as the last time you left a movie theater with your jaw on the floor? When was the last time you have no idea what you saw, but consider the three vodka tonics and discussion you had with friends afterwards to be a life highlight? When was the last time you saw a musical with only one truly memorable song? Ok, I know the answer to these questions is The Greatest Showman, but now you have Cats! Long live terrible movie musicals! Long live rubbernecking at accidents! Long live the theater nerds who just wanna show off their can-do spirit and give it the old college try! Long live Harvey Edwards! Long live Cats! Now and forever and probably just for the next two weeks at a theater near you.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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