Cat In The Hat, Dir; Bo Welch, Cert; PG
You may be more familiar with the character of 'The Cat In The Hat' from
the childhood stories written under the banner of 'Dr Seuss'.
Well this is the same
cat (who else), this time brought for the first time to the big screen
by director Bo Welch and a superb foresight of casting not just Mike Myers
in the lead role, but also the incidental characters he develops along
the way. Having read the outline of the original 1971 TV adaptation of
this theme, the story would appear to shape up along roughly the same
lines, "Two children left home alone for a short while one afternoon
are visited by a very interesting yet troublesome 'tall striped hat' wearing
cat", but this maybe where the similarity if not ends, certainly
begins. As with this original television adaptation, running at just 30
minutes, the big screen version runs for 82, painting fantastical sets
with a palette of 50's inspired pastel shades.
A children's story, this comes complete with at least one of the annoying
brats, Conrad Walden, portrayed by child actor Spencer Breslin, perhaps
recognised for his roles in 'Santa Clause 2' and 'Meet The Parents', doing
his ut-most at raising chaos. His sister, 'the control freak' played by
Dakota Fanning, is the far more centered of the two, although even this
is stretched once they meet 'The Cat'. So let the story begin, "...with
their babysitter slumped in her chair and the kids to tired to complain,
they looked out of the window, just at that moment it started to rain...",
well what else are you going to do, your boundaries closed off to any
fun outside 'four walls', cue 'The Cat In The Hat', played by a totally
indifferent Myers and an onscreen presence, a' la 'Austin Powers'.
This laugh-a-minute tale takes place in just a few short hours, something
you are reminded of at the end of the film, however with all the magical
twists and turns the film takes, you'd be forgiven for assuming that the
time had been far greater. A plot is set out at the start of the movie,
forgotten for a great chunk in the middle and then once again clawed back
when the film draws to a close. An original adaptation of a theme written
into comic book history, the cat and his magical hat makes 80 minutes
of enjoyable family viewing for both kids, big kids and even bigger kids,
this is 'fun, fun, fun' all the way. A relentless ride that journey's
through the cringe worthy and passes through the twisted reality of a
'Seuss' world. Alec Baldwin puts in a fine performance as the slimy 'Quinn'
and Sean Hayes, from Will and Grace fame, a similarly outrageous performance
as both Mr. Humberfloob and the voice of the Fish. Forget those tired
write-up's that doubt the film's ability, drawing on the obvious 'Grinch'
movie as a yard stick, here in the UK this is Seuss. 9/10
For further reading on both the background and world of Dr Suess
and his creations, visit 'Seussville'.