Cats (1998)

I’m about to lose all credibility

MAYBE

Release date: October 5, 1998
Director: David Mallet
Language: English

Who should watch this movie: The Broadway obsessed. 90s kids. Folks who’ve read the T.S. Elliot poems.

When should you watch this movie: When you enroll in a free trial for a dance class. When you’ve just seen the Tom Hooper version and are hoping that the source material will provide some context to the horror. It won’t.

The sell: Please hear me out. Cats, the broadway musical, is kind of good actually. The songs are fun and memorable. The choreography is interesting and makes innovative use of minimal set pieces. Horny cat-people aside, it’s an entirely enjoyable production, full of dynamic numbers and some truly moving moments. The key here is not only suspending disbelief, but also letting go of any logical restraints because, no, there is no rhyme or reason to this production. In the words of Andrew Lloyd Weber himself, “It’s about cats.” Whether a person enjoys this show has everything to do with childhood wonder and their ability to access it. Kids aren’t worried about the horny cat people. They’ll process that aspect of the show years later, in their 20s. Kids just think that the Rum Tum Tugger is a cool guy! And that Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat is the best character in any Broadway show ever because who doesn’t love trains? Sure, it’s not for everyone. Cats was and remains a polarizing phenomenon, but at least there is one thing on which all parties can agree: It did not need to be adapted into a feature length film in the year of our lord 2019. I rest easy knowing that Tom Hooper will answer for his crimes in this life or the next.

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