Article |  Tom Hooper's 'Cats' Remains One of the Worst Movies in Movie History

In 1981, the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber made her London stage debut with the acclaimed play ‘Cats’, which remained in theaters for no less than twenty-one years and, after migrating to New York’s Broadway, extended over almost two decades. It is no wonder that the production is one of the most loved by fans of musicals, either for its deconstructed aesthetics, or for the fact that the organicity of the narrative is based on a brief poem by TS Eliot, ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’which unfolded in small coming-of-age fragments and brought to life some of the most beloved and feline characters in history.

However, the simple idea of ​​taking this story to cinemas may have come with a little trepidation: after all, it works in its original form precisely because it makes use of fanciful theatrical elements, including sets raised in perspective and dance numbers that reflect the movements of its titular characters. However, taking into account that the director Tom Hooper achieved considerable success with his adaptation of ‘The miserable’ – which, even leaving aside the technical aspects, required from its actors some of the most memorable performances of recent years – we could give him a vote of confidence. Unfortunately, that same confidence vanished in the first few minutes of the feature film, in short, for everything he was willing to do.

Although the critic who speaks to you here is always in favor of a scenic naturalism (especially when dealing with film pieces), sometimes the constant use of visual effects can come in handy – and, who knows, save a tale from its total doom. . Therefore, several aspects of post-production could be brought to the eponymous feature to be released this coming Christmas day, including motion-capture (which consists of capturing human movements and expressions and their consequent transcription to digital models). But that’s not what happens: Hooper, in a collective delirium alongside his extensive creative team, decides to merge his stellar cast into an inexplicable and frightening artistic hodgepodge – in addition to putting them in costumes so fake that they come to be an offense to anyone who has seen the original play.

If the design is the main reason for the growing repudiation of the audience (whose feeling had been cultivated since the release of the official trailer), at least this horrendous specter could be overshadowed by a competent narrative. And, once again, the filmmaker proves that he didn’t have the slightest care to translate the plot to the big screen – and not even marry it with his already known cinematographic vision. In fact, the script, which is also in charge of Hooper and Lee Hallbuilds a main arc that revolves around Victoria (Francesca Hayward), a recently abandoned cat who crosses paths with the tribe known as the Jellicles. Eventually, she realizes that fate has led her to something much bigger – like attending the Jellicle Ball and, perhaps, being gifted with a new lease of life (an almost touching metaphor for sacrifice and subsequent ascent to heaven).

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The premise seems interesting and even promises to expand the distorted mythology that was presented to us a priori on stage. However, soon after we understand the arrival of a new face for the group of abandoned cats, the main plot fragments into a series of poorly choreographed sequences engulfed by an art direction so forced that it becomes difficult to connect with basically any thing shown over a hundred minutes of work. Between the ridiculous soil of Rebel Wilson like Jennyanydots and the swinging performance of the iconic Jennifer Hudson like Grizabella, the glamor cat who was banished from the tribe, there are few moments that are really saved, whether in the revitalization of a mystical and narcotic soundtrack, or in beats that inflate with originality only to wither without any trace of life.

Not even Hayward, with her extensive ballerina background, or Judi Dench and Ian McKellen (two of the entertainment industry’s most versatile thespians), has enough space to exude their artistic skills. Victoria’s interpreter, for example, remains exiled in a linear arc, changing her expression slightly as she embodies the original song. “Beautiful Ghosts”, and not even using the dance to your advantage; Dench, giving life to a new version of the Old Deuteronomy matriarch, is carried away by her total unwillingness to represent a coherent symbology for the plot; and McKellen ironically gives in to one of his worst performances by playing Gus, a theatrical cat who has participated in the most famous productions in England.

Idris Elba it also refuses to be used to good advantage, continuing its wave of bad choices for new projects. After having starred in the meager adaptation of ‘The Dark Tower’, Elba accepted to play the villain Macavity, with his skittish and passionate personality; however, she surrendered to a formulaic corporatura whose spark of complexity only exists due to the interesting presence of the femme fatale Bombalurina (Taylor Swift).

‘Cats’ it is one of the worst re-readings of the past decade, perhaps in the history of the audiovisual sphere. After all, absolutely no element achieves the practical completeness that it promised us since the announcement of the feature film – leaving us with a bitter taste in our mouths for the “happiest event of the year” (in this case, 2019), in fact, being a lie. of bad taste. Failing to honor the source material, Hooper actually erred in thinking that he could rush to deliver the final version of this story – and erred even in wanting to take it to the big screen.

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