Cats and Critics

“Unless a reviewer has the courage to give you unqualified praise, I say ignore the bastard.”
John Steinbeck


Cats and Critics

How could I not see Cats? The critics mostly hate it and the audience mostly loves it. Kinda, sorta. When things get this mixed up, you have to go see it and judge for yourself. This I did yesterday with my sister and we had a great time.

Yeah, it will be a box office bomb because of the critics. Maybe people will warm up to it over time, I don’t know. It has a ton of stars. I had to go read a bunch of the reviews, it was fun feasting on their frustrations. Yes, they probably went to college for two years to become professional critics but mostly we got reviews instead of critiques.

So, what is the problem?

First of all, recognize rule one: who is your audience. In the theater yesterday it was almost all women and girls. If the critic thinks that this show is a catch-all, then they are apparently wrong.

Second of all, the complaint about the cats being too sexy. Since I didn’t have any problem with that at all, I think it is the viewer’s problem, not the movie maker. Candidly, if I did have a problem like that, I’d never admit it. Too creepy. But, happily, I saw nothing that was too sexy.

Third of all, no plot. There is a sort of over all story. But, I’d have hoped that the critic knew what they were attending and that is different poems put to songs. The songs are featured in this surreal context and that is the fun of the movie. Maybe the critic was trying to understand the wrong thing?


Cats is fun because it is so darned strange, very odd like a cat I think. Poems written in the 1930s that were never intended to be put to music yields singers almost speaking their lyrics. Mr. Webber had to honor the rhythm of the poem. It is kind of clumsy and kind of fun, something hard to do for sure. There are plenty of whimsical made-up words that don’t make sense on the surface but make it fun.

The camera angles and the and motions of the camera reminded me of the Tex Avery cartoons of the 1940s. Tex played with perspective and, to my eye, I saw a lot of that playfulness in Cats.

Whether the viewer has to get past the hurdles to accept what they are seeing or simply embrace it as one strange trip of a ride seems to be the crux. Critics were mystified at Rebel Wilson’s ability to unzip her fur to reveal a costume underneath, I saw it and thought it was a great idea. But Taylor Swift wearing high heels did make me do a step back. That may have been the only step back for me in the entire film.

Critics cringed at the players trying to upstage each other but I have owned multiple cats and at feeding time, they do just that. Let them ham it up, I say!

One critic was upset (and bothered in a fundamental way) that the mice and the cockroaches had human faces like the cats and they could sing and dance. Well of course they do and can!

When it comes to a grand movie like Cats, you don’t go to see if the movie can convince you to like it; you will never ever get there. Clearly we see this in the negative reviews.

Instead you go to see what the director, designers, songwriters and more are offering you to look at; then you will have a good time with the odd surprises. If the director is having fun with the content, I don’t see why you can’t too. You can laugh at the strange CGI like when James Corden is eating food from the trash with a relish. You can anticipate Jennifer Hudson rising up and belting Memory like it needs to be delivered.

Good stuff. Critics, be damned.

 

2 thoughts on “Cats and Critics

  1. The critics be damned indeed! I loved this movie. I had seen two great stage productions many years ago in Chicago and St. Louis. Both were magical, bought the soundtrack and knew every song. I went for the music, and to see what these actors and dancers could add. I was so not disappointed. It’s not a children’s show, although young dancers and magical minded kids will enjoy much of it. I will be going again, so I can see what I missed the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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