A duffer’s guide from a viewer whose familiarity with the play is limited to switching channels the minute “Memories” came on the radio. Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech, Les Miserables) feral recitation yields a uniquely unpleasant moviegoing experience. The design is hideous to behold, with character perspective that’s disorientating to say the least. In one shot, a cat stands almost as tall as a milk truck, and in the next, the same critter is nearly dwarfed by a beer bottle. Movement proves equally problematic: no sooner does a tabby leap into the air than it freezes, faster than Gumby dropped in a vat of liquid nitrogen. So many questions… Here are just a few: how is it a musical when the lyrics are talk-sung and the numbers are choreographed by an instructor at 24 Hour Fitness? If this is indeed a city populated with slumbering humans, why are the puns splashed across the billboards and marquees all geared toward felines? Does Francesca Hayward have just the one facial expression? This film should come with a warning: laboratory tests indicate that mice exposed to Cats have a higher risk of contracting jellicular cancer. (2019) — Scott Marks
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