Opinion: Film adaptation of “Cats” was much less than purr-fect

Julia Gebeck '22, Staff writer

It’s no surprise that Cats was going to be terrible one way or another. I had initially thought that the atrocious designs and CGI would be the downfall, but I was shocked to find that the story and pacing itself was just about as bad.
Cats is based off of a musical about a tribe of ‘Jellicle Cats’ who meet once a year at the Jellicle Ball to take part in a singing competition, where the leader of the cats will decide which cat gets to die and be reincarnated into a better Jellicle life.
The story itself is not bad, and in fact, captured the imaginations of millions who have seen the musical. From what I’ve heard, the musical is good despite the confusing plot. However, watching it in theaters, I found myself getting lost several times in the tangling, fast paced plot. The musical has a run time of two hours and 20 minutes, leaving enough room for the story to not get scrambled. The movie only is one hour and 50 minutes, which ultimately led to poor pacing and an extremely rushed plot.
I enjoyed one part of this movie, and that was the music. In most cases, it was great. I found myself interested in the film because of a few great songs, such as “Memory” and “Beautiful Ghosts.” In fact, the movie and the musical share mostly the same songs, keeping the movie faithful to the original. One thing the movie did not take from the original is the costumes and designs.
Oh, the designs. From the moment the trailer was dropped, it was evident that this movie was not going to be easy on the eyes. Seeing the movie itself was no different. I found my head in my hands several times after witnessing some strange behaviors and movements from the anomalous human-like characters. The ‘cats’ have human bodies that have been covered in CGI fur, and walk on two legs. In fact, they looked more human than cat in some cases. It falls into the uncanny valley of visuals, leading to an overall unpleasant viewing experience.
Cats the movie had potential to be great. However, by making the main focus of the movie look so unappealing, less people will come to see the movie. Opening weekend, Cats lost over $71 million. I wouldn’t be able to sit through this movie again if I had to. Cats bombed at the box office, proving that some musicals should stay on the stage.