The existence of The Cat In The Hat is the one of the most crushing facts of life I can think of. Surely this has to be the most tasteless, disrespectful excuse for an “adaptation” to ever be made. Making Dr. Seuss roll in his grave is one thing, but to dig up his corpse and rape it?
The Cat In The Hat stars Mike Myers in a costume that theme parks with even the slimmest budgets would declare “in need of some work.” He plays the eponymous Cat In The Hat, encapsulating the spirit of Seuss’ books flawlessly with such exquisite little touches as occasional penis innuendos, “dirty ho” puns and product placement that raises a massive middle finger to the very concept of subtlety itself.
Cat-Myers spends most of the film bothering two young kids played by Dakota Fanning and Spencer Breslin, not one of them doing a performance worth shite. They live in a puke-inducingly colorful world that doesn’t bring to mind the literature of Dr. Seuss so much as it makes me wish I was instead watching a film by Wes Anderson, or anyone who knows how to use strong colors in a non-garish way. One of their big concerns seems to be that their single mother Joan (Kelly Preston) is dating a local jerk played by Alec Baldwin. Snore.
Myers’ unendurably annoying character spouts modern jokes endlessly, in what I think was the director’s attempt to promptly ruin the timelessness of the original book by having the Cat’s dialogue be more “21st century”. Spot on. This is almost as respectful towards the works of Seuss as having the Cat, one of many Seuss characters famous for their rhymes and poems, explain that he’s “not so good with the rhyming”. Yes, that is an actual line of dialogue from this movie. Are you starting to see why I don’t think it’s, well, very good?
I forgot to mention the talking CGI fish voiced by Sean Hayes. The movie barely cares about it, though, so why should I? Especially when there’s so much worse stuff to focus on. Production notes on Wikipedia state that the cartoony skyline and starkly colorful look of the film had to be digitally inserted due to so much smog being in the air of the crew’s shooting area. It’s a shame since dark, smog-filled skies probably would’ve complemented the tone of the film a lot better. Especially if the in-universe explanation was that Myers’ character is just a deranged pedophile in a Halloween costume.
I hope parents are wise enough to keep their children as far away from this trainwreck as possible. I know kids will usually watch just about any junk you put before them, but no child deserves to grow up associating the name of Dr. Seuss with something this weird, disturbing and hideous. Not to mention unfunny. The tales of Seuss are supposed to be whimsical, endearing and fun to listen to and/or read and/or watch. Taking that and turning it into a dumbed down wannabe of The Mask is an inexplicable route to go, but someone sure went it.
The timeless nature of this tale is ruined by childish jokes that make the classic mistake of believing that they’re being “adult” and the charm of it is sucked right out simply by how utterly ugly the film is. The sets, the costumes, the makeup artistry, the wide-angle shots – it seems that there is not one frame in this film that’s pleasant to look at. It’s just a colorful mess of loathsome comedy, awkward special effects and characters that we’re somehow not supposed to hate.
The Cat In The Hat is disgracefully bad. I know someone somewhere probably saw this movie and liked it. There are two possibilities: that person either hasn’t got the faintest clue who Dr. Seuss is, or they absolutely hate his guts. Unless it’s children they hate.
With this, I’m hoping I’ll get back to reviewing more recent films soon. Enough of these “classics” for a bit, eh?