ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  bo welch

RATED  -  pg

GENRE  -  comedy?

LENGTH  -  82 minutes

RELEASED  -  21 november 2003

DISTRIBUTOR  -  universal pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  cat in hat

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $109,000,000
the cat in the hat - a shot from the film

a live-action version of the famous dr. seuss story.

the pink-housed village was built especially for the movie in the moorpark, california area.


picture from the cat in the hat

picture from the cat in the hat

picture from the cat in the hat


zero out of four possible stars

The death of beloved author Dr. Seuss has left the field wide open for Hollywood production companies to sweep into the rich and colorful world of Things, Fish, and Cats to bring those stories to the screen. With 2000's The Grinch, Universal pictures had a box office hit that drew mixed criticism from both fans and critics. And while The Cat in the Hat might garner the appreciation of a few strange children, this film is nothing more than a blasphemous raping of Theodor Seuss Geisel's beloved work. The man would surely spin in his grave if he were aware of the sexual innuendo and fart jokes that populate this horrible film.

As a popular source of enjoyment for children, Dr. Seuss's books have been admired for generations and the children of today aren't the only people with fond memories of his many books. The suitability of such crass humor for young audiences notwithstanding, older members in the audience might balk at the direction this bloated and overly hyper-active film takes. Perhaps its only saving grace is that it ends after about seventy minutes of insanity. Far from the sweetly pleasing stanzas of Seuss's book, this film is like the local crack whore who was once someone beautiful but has been sullied by the insanity of hard drugs.

While it might seem extreme to compare what is essentially a children's film to the local crack whore, the harshness and ADD-like nature of it really don't allow for any more euphemistic metaphor. Put simply, this film just makes a mockery of the intelligence and innocent spirit of Seuss's world. Even the special effects which, while well-done, seem far too intense and over-the-top. The world is supposed to feel hyper-realistic and look like its covered in plastic, but the set-decoration, costuming, and neighborhood are all created in colors which can easily cause a viewer to feel nauseated.

This film will never be considered a classic in the genre of children's film as it's so obviously a CGI fest and a film whose creators seemingly had no agenda other than stuffing to the gills the production design. Garish is probably too soft a word, but it's a step in the right direction as far as descriptive terms are concerned. If this film had featured a group of residents confined to a mental institution, the insanity where the production design was concerned might have been warranted. The pseudo-Eisenhower era furniture added to the brightest colors available on the market today make for an interesting combination of design, but this film contains a perfect example of how the environment can overwhelm the actors.

While the character of The Cat In The Hat is an enthusiastic, warm creature in the book, Mike Meyers' portrayal is akin to the performance of a criminally insane person. The ten minutes of plot that fill out the book are stretched so paper thin in this movie's seventy or so minutes that it seemed required of Mike Meyers to fill in the giant gaps with his special brand of humor. Which, in another production, might have been appropriate.

But for a children's story, his sly winks and sexual innuendo is simply inappropriate. The filmmakers might have been attempting to make the film palatable for older audiences, but as many audience members will already have nice memories of this story, seeing a film directed completely at four year olds probably would have been preferable to this film's current incarnation.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - 2005 - ninth symphony films - photographs universal pictures 2003
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