Scary Cats trailer

Review: I Saw Cats and I Still Don’t Understand Cats

I guess 3/5 hairballs, but who can say?
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**Spoilers for Cats I guess? But how do you spoil Cats?**

There are very few movies in this world where I leave and have more questions than when I went in, but that’s pretty much Cats. Based on the work of T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, Cats is one of those musicals where you either think Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber is a genius for, it or you’re aware of the pure insanity of the show and would rather not think about it too much.

I was team “I’m good” when it came to Cats. I never wanted to see the show, and I never really wanted to look into it, but then, the first trailer for this movie dropped, and I had so many questions that I finally let someone explain the plot to me. It didn’t help me understand Cats, but at least I knew a little of what was going on.

But then this movie took my basic idea, stomped on it, and then said, “What if we confuse everyone and make this very sexual?” That brings us to where we are now. So, let’s start to get into this musical, which I’m not even sure has a plot, but I’m going to try.

The movie follows Victoria (Francesca Hayward), an abandoned cat who wants to be a Jellicle cat. We don’t know for the entire movie what a Jellicle cat is, but then, when we learn, it’s just a dear little cat, which … she already was? I’m not sure. Again, I’m trying to understand with you.

Victoria meets Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild), who most definitely f**ks. Munkustrap and the Magical Mister Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) both seem to want to mate with Victoria. That’s what cats do, right? I don’t think they want to just have sex for fun, but also, maybe these cats do. They do wear shoes and have human hands, so the world is their oyster.

ANYWAY, the entire point is that everyone is going to a Jellicle ball where Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) will pick the cat most worthy of a new life, and all the cats have to perform for her. What I gather is that she, essentially, just murders a cat every year, and these cats willingly want to go to the death ball and be chosen.

Throughout the journey to the ball, Victoria meets many cats, and everyone is afraid of Macavity (Idris Elba) because he’s a master of depravity, but he’s also kidnapping the cats competing against him so he can be the chosen cat (this is APPARENTLY an entirely new confusing concept added to the film).

Basically, it’s just every cat singing a little song about what their little gimmick is, and then they just join the cat gang, and they all head to the ball—except that Jennyanydots (Rebel Wilson) and Bustopher Jones (James Corden) get taken by Macavity right after their numbers. Not my boy Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), though. He gets to stay and vocalize on random songs.

Outside of the weird storyline with kidnapping, Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) also drugs a bunch of cats with catnip so they don’t realize she’s working with Macavity, who then kidnaps Old Deuteronomy to his weird shipyard with all his other prey. There’s also a fun sad theater cat named Gus The Theatre Cat (Sir Ian McKellen), who I love. That’s all I have to say about Gus The Theatre Cat.

Throughout this entire time, Victoria is drawn to Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson). A cat who was once the glamour cat, Grizabella is an outcast to the Jellicle cats, and Victoria keeps trying to bring her to the ball. When she finally does go inside, she sings “Memory” at Old Deuteronomy (who escapes because the Magical Mister Mistoffelees uses his magic to transport her back to the theater their ball is in), and then Old Deuteronomy decides that Grizabella is a great cat. I think, again, I don’t know what Cats is.

I wish I could explain this movie, but I can’t. All I can say is that Mr. Mistoffelees definitely is the best, and maybe this entire movie is overtly sexual for absolutely no reason. So, you know, fun for the entire family.

(image: Universal)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.