My Perspective on Cats: The 2019 Movie

21 Dec

Yay!  I got tickets to see Cats on a Caturday!

#1:  Before you go in, do a little homework so you understand what is happening (though this iteration does a much better job of making things clear and spelling it out then the prior version).  I listened to a podcast I found on Spotify:  Storyhole 43 Cats (The Musical).  Also, a video on YouTube was informational and humorous:  Let’s Talk About Cats.  It’s the one by Caitlin Koi. You’ll be happy you did.

#2:  Get into the spirit of the thing!  This movie is intentionally campy.  It’s supposed to be fun and silly, so watch it in that mindset.  I personally, did my best cat eyemakeup, put on some eyeliner whiskers, wore old Halloween tiger ears, and got into the spirit of the thing.  I also had a whiskey milkshake at the theater, which didn’t hurt.

So my opinions about the new movie:

I liked what they did with the scaling of the set.  It’s especially noticeable during the ornery siblings (Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer) song when they’re messing up the house.

Obviously, my very favorite cat was Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina.  She was cheeky and cute and naughty and great-per the usual.  Her part is too short and very late in the movie, but don’t worry, there’s more to enjoy.

They added (lengthened?) “Skimbleshanks: The Railway Cat” a song for the railroad cat, Skimbleshanks, and it was in my top songs for the movie.  Also,Steven McRae,  who played Skimbleshanks was by far the best dancer in the entire cast, having both difficult ballet pirouettes AND a lengthy tap number.

Speaking of ballet, Victoria the curious, new cat does some pretty spectacular dancing throughout the movie (I would have liked to see more in the 2nd half) and was fun to watch.  The part was played by Francesca Hayward, an English ballerina and a principal dancer in the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden in London.  Hayward is a triple threat!  She does a wonderful job embodying her role through dance and song and just–enthusiasm and a say yes attitude conveyed during the whole thing.  I liked how the character isn’t reluctant or standoffish to join any cat during their introduction, even to the point of helping steal and ruining furniture.  It’s nice to see someone so non-judgemental on the screen.  I did not find her white face racist, but I do think the innocent portrayed in white and sinister villain in black is sorta racist, but those are also known symbolic colors (even taking race or humans out of the mix) since forever…

The villain, Idris Elba as Macavity, has one of the most beautiful costumes, but I would have loved to hate him.  He did a good job as the threat to the Gelical ball, but I wasn’t screaming at the screen or anything.  He could have gone meaner…

I got used to the costumes.  Yes, the proportions are weird.  They have fingers and noses of the human variety.  I could have forgiven that more if the makeup had made any effort at all.  Like, Jennifer Hudson had white smeared under her eyes and brown on her lower face.  That’s it.  It’s one of the laziest makeup jobs I’ve seen.  Like, my Halloween costume for work had more facepainting effort.  They really could have (and should have) stepped it up if the fur didn’t cover most of the face.  Like, do some fancy makeup/face-painting for fucks sake.  Though, I will say any man with stubble or a beard looked better than the rest because the fur technology blended a little better and wasn’t so stark of a contrast.

And to back track just a beat (pun), Jennifer Hudson’s Grizabella spent the whole movie with snot under her nose-yuck!  Her character isn’t very fleshed out and the poor gal barely even stood up throughout the film.  I guess she did the best she could with the material she was given, but I have to compare her performance to Taylor Swift’s.  The Bombalurina character was probably equally small of a role with  minor character development, but Swift really made something of her small moment–where Jennifer’s was kind of a dud.  Even the singing was somewhat meh  except for my 2 notes (intentional):  How can she sing so well from a crouched position?  I was wondering that during the movie.  And she does show she CAN belt it on the re-chorus of Memory.  But that was fleeting.

Also fleeting was the comic relief at the beginning of the film.  Both fat cats added humor that wasn’t really focused on in the original VHS.  And I liked it.  Rebel Wilson was funny and Jennyanydots’ mice and roaches and clumsiness were welcome in my view.  Having watched the original film adaption, I appreciated Jennyanydots being fleshed out (ha) more.  And when Wilson does that footwork after Rum Tum Tugger’s song, well, color me impressed.  And James Cordon was funny also.

My 3rd favorite dancing was Rum Tum Tuggers 2 background cats, with all the footwork.  I think it’s Plato and Socrates but if they said their names at all, I missed it.  So I took my best guess from the Cats Wiki page.  Anyway, I need to get a YouTube and learn how to do those moves.

Let’s see I liked the dancing, I liked the songs (obviously Beautiful Ghosts that Taylor wrote) and recognized/re-remembered that several of those songs were in some childhood music boxes I had.

Overall, I really liked the movie, got jazzed up watching it, and want it to be the new Rocky Horror Picture Show-to indulge campiness and have special, fun screenings where people dress up.

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