Review – The Cat in the Hat (2003)

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the-cat-in-the-hat-56270b09c989fIs it really any surprise after the success of How the Grinch Stole Christmas that they would want to find that success again in another one of Dr. Seuss’s greatest children’s stories? Not in the slightest, and the obvious way to do that is to try to do the same thing in a way, but sometimes lightning doesn’t strike twice. Sometimes, the only way to tell a story is to leave it alone…or offer more creativity before going there. The Cat in the Hat isn’t a surprise, but how bad it is…might be.

The Cat in the Hat stars Mike Meyers in the hatted cat role, as he visits two children left unattended by their mother and her boyfriend. They live a rather boring life, so the cat decides to make it more of a fun adventure – but in doing so, creates more havoc and destruction than what the kids wanted in their life.

It’s not hard to see where they borrowed inspiration. The colorful town, the rhymes, the ridiculous gadgets and gizmos, and the main character in a full-fledged furry outfit and makeup-heavy face is a well-known comedian. This was all borrowed inspiration from The Grinch yet doesn’t work so well in this movie as I somewhat remember it doing – and the main reason comes down to concept. I’m all for creative liberties, as long as the movie actually makes it clear what liberties were taken. The book was really good at showing how miserable the kids were, and how much they really, truly needed this Cat in the Hat to enjoy life to view it in a different light. This movie…not so much. The spirit and idea of the book is missing in the film, and nothing replaces it. Instead, what we have is a Cat in the Hat that shows up unannounced to a family that’s really not super miserable…and he just does his thing anyway. For no real reason. They refrain from presenting any point to why this character is in their home.

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It’s like this…the filmmakers wanted to make more money off of the fans of the Grinch movie that they gave us a movie without any real plot or substance. Sure, there’s a Cat in a Hat that’s doing a bunch of random, weird crap which is the epitome of physical humor – but again, no real reason as to why he’s doing anything. I felt as if the Cat in the Hat was high on Crack…and maybe so was I. That’s too bad. There’s a reason the book exists and why it’s so popular, it teaches kids a meaningful lesson – and it would be easy for a movie to do the same…it was just too lazy to even try.

I’m not entirely sure Mike Meyers was the right choice for this either. He is a comedian, yes, but a comedian that’s rather known to joke about inappropriate things that kids shouldn’t hear – and he was doing the same thing here…maybe to make parents laugh while watching with their kids, but it wasn’t subtle and kids aren’t dumb – they should have picked a different actor for him.

I sort of remember liking The Cat in the Hat, but the only parts of this film that I actually remember was maybe the first half hour – because that was the closest to matching the book – at least the actual things that happen in both. The rest of the movie was a tedious mess. Regardless of the fact that this movie is only 80 minutes long, I wanted to claw my brain out of my skull. This is a movie that should be long forgotten.

RATING: 4.5/10

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