Oh dear, this film is a challenge to review!
Let's start with the stage musical - Cats the stage musical has a very mixed fan base. There are those who hate it, love it and those in-between. I fall into the in-between one. The music is great, the staging is simple, it's just a weird story and humans in cat make-up is a bit odd, but still passable. So in summary, it's a strange stage musical to begin with.
So we watched the film - from start to finish, and I didn't find any need to walk out. The CGI - human/cat morph is weird- but sadly, that is what I expected from a Cats musical. They have just replaced the make up they would usually use on stage with CGI! But given its $ 100 Million budget, the CGI is taken to the next (unnecessary) level. It seems like they couldn't decide on how to handle the design of the cats. They couldn't decide on keeping or removing genitalia, they couldn't decide on if the cats should walk or crawl - so they do both. So yes, the Cats are a bit strange.
So the next problem is the cast! You can't get Rebel Wilson and James Corden to sing songs that were historically meant for a Broadway trained artist. It just does not work! Rebel should not have been in the film. She fills her role with fat jokes, and it's just not funny. Sir Ian McKellan takes his role too seriously, it's a joke. Jennifer Hudson and Dame Judi Dench try their best to give an award-worthy performance, but the CGI acts like too much botox and gets in the way. Derulo tries to add a bit of swagger to his role as the Rum Tum Tugger, and it feels a bit out of place. Idris Elba's appearance was just forced and strange, and it was Taylor Swift's 5 minute appearance that was the best bit of the film (now isn't that saying something...seriously!)
The final issue is some of the music. Some music was altered to give more spotlight to the actors, and that was big mistake. Hence, some of the quirky appeal of the musical was truly lost in that transposition.
However, the slamming it is receiving from critics is not validated. I am not calling this a good musical in any way, but it is not that bad. However, this is one stage classic, Hollywood should have not have touched. The morons that thought this would work need to be fired, the casting agents that suggested some of the actors to be part of this, need to be fired! T̶h̶e̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶a̶i̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶t̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶ Tom Hooper, the director that caused this chaos needs to not make another musical (or movie). While I have never been stoned in my life, I am guessing this is a film that maybe enjoyed more under the influence of pot. I want people to watch it cause it cause it's weird and odd, and at the same time you may enjoy the music. I do not recommend this film, though I want to! Perhaps watch it at home after a couple of drinks and you may find it entertaining.