A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
Cats is based on the award-winning Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and is entertaining for sure. It features an all-star cast which includes Idris Elba (as the villain cat, Macavity), as well as Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, and Rebel Wilson. Francesca Hayward turns in a shining performance as Victoria, the young feline that sings, dances, and a fair amount of the movie is seen through her eyes.
The plot centers around who will be the Jellicle cat. Jellicle cats are a type of feline first mentioned in T. S. Eliot’s 1933 poem “Five-Finger Exercises”. It was developed later in Eliot’s 1939 poetry book Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats . They were further developed in Cats, the stage musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which used source material from Eliot’s book. The Jellicle cat is a plum role that many of the cats desire. A few of the songs mention the Jellicle cat as well.
The villain, Macavity, is called a “monster of depravity”, a phrase called out whenever a deceitful deed takes place. He would love the role of the Jellicle cat, but it is up to Old Deuteronomy (Dench) to decide who is worthy.
Make no mistake about it–with the prowling cats and joyful songs, the fantastic dancing, and the good versus evil storyline, there is plenty to enjoy. It certainly couldn’t be called a “catastrophe”. The humor is everywhere, with a “Milk Bar” sign posted, a “Meow Club” and lines like, “Look at what the cat dragged in.” It is a bit bizarre at times to see the cats sleeking around and hissing. But the actors make good use of their facial expressions, easily seen despite the make-up, and the music is grand. A scene with the magical cat, “Magical Mr.Mephistopheles”, works well.
We find these cats are much like their real-life counterparts and yet much like humans too–clinging to hope and noble goals as well as the wicked ones that plot to promote themselves at the expense of others.
The film, full of energy, is a lot of fun with its terrific singing and dancing–and with some sensual and sophisticated scenes included. Due to the sensuality, this PG-rated film is awarded our Dove-approved Seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take:
This film rendition of the theater’s classical Cats offers matching choreography, lyrics, and adventure that adults and older children can enjoy.