Live action ‘Cat in the Hat’ is why we can’t have nice things
I’m not sure if anyone else is aware of this but the live action version of Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat” is the reason why we haven’t seen any realistic adaptations of Seuss’s work since 2003.
Universal Pictures, high off their win with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in 2000 flew too close to the sun and definitely plummeted to the ground with its second live action adaptation.
I will admit that this movie holds a bit of nostalgia for me since I did watch it multiple times as a kid. I blame my immaturity and lack of comprehension for why I would have watched it more than once.
If you aren’t familiar with the basis of this movie: Siblings Conrad (Spencer Breslin) and Sally (Dakota Fanning) are stuck at home one day bored out of their minds when the Cat in the Hat (Mike Myers) appears.
The large anthropomorphic (big word huh?) cat leaves destruction in his wake as he attempts to teach the kids how to have fun. All while their mom Joan (the late Kelly Preston) is preparing to try and impress her boss with a house party.
Rewatching it reminded me why exactly Seuss’s widow would refuse to let anymore of the childhood classics become realistic again.
From the all together far too crude jokes (which are cool in certain settings… just not this one) and the gross moments it just wasn’t good.
To be honest this movie makes the Cat in the Hat seem like Mary Poppins’s unhinged house cat on steroids. Not the fun loving cat that sometimes (I need to emphasize sometimes) causes a mess or two.
When doing my research for this review I did learn that making the Cat in the Hat creepy was kind of part of the original script.
Tim Allen (you read that right) created the story the script was based off where he wanted to build on the fear he had of the feline as a child. He’d even told Entertainment Weekly in 2000, “My dream is to give it the edge that scared me.”
Allen was even supposed to star in the film but due to scheduling conflicts with “The Santa Clause 2” he ended up dropping out. Let’s all send a thank you to God that we didn’t have to see Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor dressed in a giant cat suit. (If someone doesn’t get my reference I’ll be disappointed.)
Overall “The Cat in the Hat” really only holds a place in my heart because of the nostalgia behind it and not its quality.
A lot of people also share in my sentiment of how bad it was. The film only grossed $134 million compared to its $109 million budget. That pales in comparison to its predecessor — The Grinch — which grossed $345 million and was the sixth highest grossing film in 2000 as well as the second highest grossing holiday film behind “Home Alone.”
Instead “The Cat in the Hat” ruined any chance of a live action Dr. Seuss film (not a total loss really) and probably scarred some children and adults along the way.
If anyone wants to take the leap and watch it, you can view it on Netflix with a subscription and rent it from YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu and Amazon Prime.
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Laura Jameson is a staff reporter for The Express.