Coming to theatres for Christmas from director Tom Hooper and Warner Bros. is the Broadway hit story coming to screen with CATS.

Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is a cat who has been dumped by her owner into a dark alley where Jellicle cats are waiting to see what it wiggling in the bag. She meets magician Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) Who introduces her to a wide range of cats and informs her that she has come on a special night.

The oldest cat Deuteronomy (Dame Judy Dench) arrives to see cats perform for the honor of being chosen to rise up to Heaviside Layer and come back with a new life. In the running is Bustopher Jones (James Corden), Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), Jennyandots (Rebel Wilson), Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild) and Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen) but it is Macavity (Idris Elba) who will do anything to be chosen. He also has help in the form of Bombalurina (Taylor Swift).

Watching all the events in the shadows is Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson) a once beautiful feline now trying to find her place in the world that hisses where they use to cheer. Victoria sees the world differently because she was abandoned but it is the cats she has met that show her another way of life.

Hayward As Victoria is very sweet and has serious dance moves but spends most of her time on screen with wide-eyed long pull away shots and cat lounging watching every other cat perform. She is a very beautiful cat and, as a cat owner, I’d be the first to scoop her up but in the film is basically a cat for other cats to spin around.

Dench as Old Deuteronomy Is a wise ole cat who is keenly aware of everything going on in the alley of cats. Watching each of the candidates perform is entertaining enough as she stretches in her sparkly cat-bed of honor. McKellen is very cute as a cat and his moment on stage was something I’ve never seen him do before so now I can check that off his list.

Elba as Mccavity gets a chance to be a bad guy in a cat suit but we already knew he could be a bad guy aka THE FAST AND FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAW but now we know he can do it with fur and purr. Swift as Bombalurina Is an odd choice for a cat who likes spreading catnip like a fairy granting wishes. I have to say that her costume was odd because it seem to constantly change – please watch and tell me I’m seeing things.

Wilson as Jennyandots does what she usually does and that’s pratfall and humor her way through a role but this time in a cat suit. The same can be said of Corden as fat cat Bustopher who seems more interested in digging through garbage than anything else.

Davidson as Mr. Mistofolees is everything and charming all wrapped up in an awesome hat. I truly enjoyed watching his character grow on screen. Derulo as Rum Tum is a confident cat who doesn’t seem to mind letting everyone know what a cool-cat he is! Fairchild as Munkustrap has the fastest tapping paws while keeping time on the tracks.

Other cats include: Mette Towley as Cassandra, Larry Bourgeois as Plato, Daniela Norman as Demeter, Yasmin Harrison as Ensemble, Zizi Strallen as Tantomile, Melissa Madden-Gray as Griddlebone, Naoimh Morgan as Rumpleteazer, Laurent Bourgeois as Socrates, and Ray Winstone as Growltiger.

CATS did not thrill me and mainly because I just couldn’t get into it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of CATS but this version is a bit wonky at best. Let’s just say some people shouldn’t sing and others who I know can – seemed not to.

Now, the lesser known cast knocked it out of the park with their ensemble cat-ing, dancing and singing. I was more interested in their performances than the ‘stars’. The set is dull and flat and didn’t draw me in at all. In fact it was smaller things that kept my attention like the mice and the dancing roaches.

The film is an alright chance for those who can’t get to a stage production to see what the fuss is all about and that’s about it. Might I suggest that you definitely DO see a stage production because it is colorful, wonderful and emotional. There is something about going to a theatre production with others who are just as excited that makes the stage experience amazing.

I didn’t get that in this movie theatre with CATS. Instead, looking around the theatre I see people uncomfortable and not really happy with what was on the screen. There were people talking during the film (which always isn’t a good sign) because I think the expectation was much higher than the film could provide.

In the end – only one can be chosen!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.