When I first saw the trailer, I must admit I was a bit creeped out by the appearance of the humans portraying cats on screen. Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” and from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical, the film opens with a young feline, Victoria (Francesca Hayward) who is abandoned in a dirty London back alley.
She’s immediately surrounded by a number of cats in all shapes and sizes. She arrives on the night that the Jellicle Ball is celebrated and they can’t wait to tell her all about it. Its when Jellicle cats are judged in a sort of talent show by Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench).
The cats gather in an old theater and take to the stage where they sing, dance or do magic. The cat that wins will go to Haviside Layer where they will receive a new life.
Director Tom Hooper (Les Miserables ) uses some big-name talents to tell the story, Idris Elba plays bad cat Macavity, Jennifer Hudson is Grizabella and gets to belt out the hit ” Memory,” Taylor Swift makes a short appearance as Bombalarina and of course, Judi Dench, who doesn’t seem to have enough fur on her cat body, that she also needs to wear an oversized fur coat.
Hayward, a Royal Ballet performer, is a good dancer, but the endless full-face close-ups were overdone.
James Corden plays Bustopher Jones for laughs but Rebel Wilson’s try for comedy with a song and dance routine including mice and cockroaches is weird.
To say I’m disappointed, is putting it mildly.