Cats (U), (109 minutes), Cineworld Cinemas
Maybe the massively low expectations helped.
But there’s absolutely no way Cats is the appalling car crash that so many critics are calling it as they vie with each other to consign it unfestively to the litter tray.
Yes, it’s weird. Very, very weird in fact.
But it was hardly going to be anything else.
More important is the fact that it is also quite good. Not brilliant, certainly. But certainly not awful.
There is something very odd and probably also perverse about James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift and Rebel Wilson cavorting in furry suits.
But if you just accept it and go with the feline flow, there is also something just a little bit magical about it.
Rebel Wilson is Rebel Wilson whatever she does, and hers is probably the weakest section. But otherwise Hudson, McKellen, Swift et al variously give it their all and are actually quite fun.
Plus, there is something distinctly poignant about Dame Judi as the cat elder presiding over the bizarre ceremony at the heart of it all. Various moggies are contending for the chance to ascend to the Heaviside Layer, the heaven-like place where Old Deuteronomy’s choice of cat is reborn.
But maybe the best thing about the film is that it is so much better than the almost-storyless, dull and dark musical theatre version. Director Tom Hooper at least adds colour and a bit of zing – and at least he’s conscious of the fact that we need some kind of tale to carry it through.
In truth, neither Cats the musical nor Cats the film really captures anything of the fascination of cats, the fact that even when they are fast asleep, they are still just so wondrously watchable.
Cats creates a brand of cat which has got nothing to do with the mogs that we all know and love.
But even so, with its effects, its star turns, its colour and its imagination, Cats the film is a vast improvement on Cats the musical.
It’s not great… but it’s really, really not that bad.