Film reviews

The 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'.


Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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