Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of Cats has received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics.
The movie adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical was subject to ridicule when the trailer first dropped in July, with social media users poking fun at the digital fur technology used to make the actors – including Idris Elba, Jason Derulo, Judi Dench, and Taylor Swift – look more like felines.
Despite Hooper making changes to the film based on the feedback, he didn’t do enough to win over critics, according to reviews published on Thursday morning.
“Nine may not be enough lives for some of the stars to live down their involvement in this poorly conceived and executed adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical,” read Peter Debruge’s review in Variety. “This uneven eyesore turns out to be every bit the Jellicle catastrophe the haters anticipated, a half-digested hairball of a movie in which Hooper spends too much energy worrying about whether the technology is ready to accommodate his vision and not enough focusing on what millions love about the musical in the first place.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney called the actors’ appearance “off-putting”, criticised the film’s “aesthetic ugliness”, and said Jennifer Hudson “massacred” her character Grizabella’s key song, Memory.
Tim Robey from Britain’s Daily Telegraph gave it zero stars and described it as “an all-time disaster – a rare and star-spangled calamity which will leave jaws littered across floors and agents unemployed,” adding, “With its nightmare production design and nauseating lurches in scale and perspective, it might be the ugliest big-screen musical sequence ever mounted.”
Peter Bradshaw from Britain’s The Guardian gave it one star and called it “a purr-fectly dreadful hairball of woe” and Johnny Oleksinski at the New York Post wrote that Hooper had “completely abandoned the fundamentals of what made Cats a terrific show: sublime music, captivating dance and an intoxicating atmosphere.”
Cats opens in cinemas on Friday.
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