Cats ★★½

We ask our grandparents where they were when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, we ask our parents where they were when the Berlin Wall fell, and our own children are likely to ask us where we were when saw the first trailer for Tom Hooper’s Cats. On Thursday, July 18th, the debut teaser for the director’s big budget adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical did the unthinkable and managed to unite people online. This was a trailer so exquisitely bad, that for a moment it felt like the universal derision afforded to it by all corners of the internet could be an unexpected first step towards world peace.

But divided we remain. For the past five months, no matter how hopeless things may have been in the real world, from political traumas (Boris Johnson winning the UK election on a landslide) to personal ones (a relationship ended after three and a half years, I was diagnosed with depression), the one thing getting me through is the knowledge I would eventually see Tom Hooper’s Cats, and all would be right with the world. “Everything may seem bleak right now”, I’d tell myself, “but on December 20th, the world will see something so transcendentally terrible, we’ll be able to start healing and progressing as a society, our shared bafflement at Tom Hooper’s Cats tying us together”.

Well, Boris Johnson is still Prime Minister, I’m still single and I’m still battling depression every day. But I have seen Cats - and for a couple of hours, all my problems faded away, as I got exactly the kind of terrible movie I’d been yearning for since seeing the trailer earlier in the summer. The critics and audiences calling Cats the worst movie of the year are doing it something of a disservice; it’s unquestionably a bad film, but it’s the kind of bad film that unintentionally becomes a crowd pleasing comedy due to how many bizarre missteps it makes throughout.

I ended up enjoying my time with it, albeit for reasons Tom Hooper surely didn’t intend. With each joyful “what the fuck?” I seemed to involuntarily ask out loud every single minute of the runtime, I could feel myself wishing all bad movies were like this - and how, if you held a gun to my head, I’d choose to watch Cats over any competently made (but middle of the road) blockbuster franchise effort any day of the week.

Full review on Film Inquiry

Alistair Ryder liked this review