A/V Room









The Cat in the Hat - Preview & US reaction

Preview by: Jack Foley

MIKE Myers would truly seem to be the man with the Midas touch at the moment.

The man behind some of the most successful comic performances of recent times, from Wayne's World to Austin Powers, to Shrek, has now turned another of Dr Suess' characters into a cinema phenomenon.

Myers stars in the title role of Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, the highly-anticipated film adaptation of the beloved literary classic.

The mischievous feline visitor in the striped stove-pipe hat makes his big screen debut with this live action production, which will bring the delightfully off-kilter Dr. Seuss characters – as well as some new ones especially created for the film – to life on the big screen.

Conrad and Sally Walden (Spencer Breslin and Dakot Fanning) are home alone, with nothing to do.

That is, until The Cat in the Hat (Myers) introduces them to their imagination.

First, it's all fun and games, until things get out of hand; then, it's a race against time, before their parents get back.

The Cat in the Hat, by Dr Seuss, was first published in 1957, and remains one of the top ten best-selling hardcover children’s books of all time.

A Universal Pictures/ Dreamworks Pictures/ Imagine Entertainment presentation, film version is produced by Academy Award-winner, Brian Grazer, and directed by Bo Welch, an Oscar-nominated film production designer making his debut as a film director.

The film opened to dysmal reviews in America on November 21, but the Cat still purred its way to the top of the US Box Office, with a near-purrfect $40.1m (£23.5m) during its first three days.

The impressive opening prompted Univeral's president of distribution, Nikki Rocco, to poke fun at the critics, by asking: "Do you know anyone under 12 who reads reviews?"

In comparison, the last Dr Seuss book-to-film translation, The Grinch, starring Jim Carrey, took $55.1m (£32.3m) in its opening weekend in 2000.

US reaction

The word from America on The Cat in the Hat was particularly wretched, evoking comparisons with some of the slatings handed out to films this Summer.

The chorus of disapproval was led by Entertainment Weekly, which wrote that it is 'a holiday movie that makes the audience feel as if they're having the ultimate bad day at Disney World'.

The San Francisco Chronicle, meanwhile, opined that 'it is hard to say who is less recognizable in The Cat in the Hat, Mike Myers or the actual Cat in the Hat'.

While USA Today felt that 'The Cat in the Hat is long on visual dazzle but short on warmth, and the humor is excessively raunchy for a family film'.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, meanwhile, stated that 'this is not The Cat in the Hat. This is kitty litter'.

And the New York Times stated that it is 'a vulgar, uninspired lump of poisoned eye candy that Universal has the temerity to call Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat'.

The Washington Post referred to it as 'about as creatively inspired as a giant hairball'.

While Rolling Stone dismissed it as 'another over-blown Hollywood raid on Dr. Seuss'.

Globe and Mail continued the negative vibe, by writing that it is 'a semi-intriguing abomination, the movie The Cat in the Hat takes a piece of classic childhood Americana and turns it into something garish, dumb, ugly and senseless'.

And the Hollywood Reporter described it as 'a lacklustre and nearly charmless affair'.

Only the Washington Post really found anything to like, stating that it it 'so good it breaks your heart for not being better'.

While slightly less scathing was the Chicago Sun-Times, which wrote that 'Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat is a triumph above all of production design. That's partly because the production design is so good, partly because the movie is so disappointing'.

The final two opinions go to the Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe, however.

The former wrote that 'if directing bad movies were a sin to confess, Bo Welch would say oops for making this mess'.

While the latter concluded that it 'represents everything corrupt, bloated, and wrong with mainstream Hollywood movies'.

The film is scheduled for a UK release on April 2, 2004.


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