Flashback Review: The Cat In The Hat (Universal’s Flops Vol. 1 #1)

How do we adapt a film based on a children’s book? We look back at a specific book to study the lore/mythos by collaborating with a team of several writers and producers to see what needs to be added to extend the story in order to properly construct a Three Act Structure required for a full length featured film. Children’s books like “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory,” “The Wizard Of Oz,” “Mary Poppins” and “The Polar Express” went on to become film adaptations of the same name. The public audience and critics considered these adaptations instant classics. One movie in particular I’ve chosen for today’s “Flashback Review,” is none other than “The Cat In The Hat.”

After the commercial success of the live action version of Jim Carey’s “The Grinch.” Producer Brian Graiser known for his production company “Imagine Entertainment,” decided to adapt another beloved Dr. Seuss story featuring a humanoid talking cat who visits two kids seeking for fun & games. Which is pretty much the whole plot of the book.

Released in 2003, (same year Finding Nemo came out) The Cat In The Hat flopped at the box office and earned an incredible amount of negative feedback from the audience and critics. It also nearly damaged Mike Myers’ career until “The Love Guru” fatally imploded his reputation. Let’s see what the damage is all about from this epic disaster.

WARNING: This review contains huge SPOILERS. If you haven’t seen it, read at your own risk!

Terrific & Kitty Litter Aspects

Terrific: The opening credits at first, felt appropriate to start the movie.

The set pieces like the local town, the neighborhood, and The House mixed with The Cat’s magical crate looks spot on like one of those amusement parks where you see the environment coming to life.

The format is more cleaner than the dirty rusted filter used in The Grinch.

Two pause worthy moments including The Cat’s birth certificate showing his birthday which is Mike Myers’ actual birthday. There’s a reference to the dog from “Men In Black” with a doghouse name Frank and a Pug is in it for a few seconds. Pugs are my favorite type of dog breed.

Smash Mouth did a cover version of The Beatles song “Getting Better.” It is not the first time Smash Mouth was involved in a Mike Myers film.  Remember “I’m A Believer” at the end of Shrek? Also another Shout Out to Dakota Fanning in “I Am Sam,” because her character’s father is a huge fan of the band. By the way, The Beatles are one of my favorite bands.

I only laughed at two jokes such as The Cat repeating the word “anything” & Alec Baldwin’s character, Larry Quinn shouting the line “Get out of my way you hippie freak!”

Clint Howard (Ron Howard’s real life brother & good luck charm) makes a cameo appearance.

Kitty Litter: The Cat never rhymes throughout the film. The producers completely forgot the rhyming because it’s one of Dr. Seuss’ iconic trademarks. It’s just like Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” with his mouth sowed up! Gosh I hated that movie!

Mrs. Kwan, the baby sitter hired by the kids mom, does nothing but sleep until the very end.

The Cat often teleports offscreen without any explanation. Did he get lessons from Goku (main protagonist off of Dragon Ball Z) by using the “Instant Transmission” technique?

Mike Myers who is known for creating unique voices for his characters, didn’t quite create an original voice for the title character, but instead, he shifts between voices like Austin Powers, Dr. Evil, Wayne Campbell, and Shrek or the Scottish fat guy from Austin Powers. For example, when The Cat laughs he’s channeling Austin Powers. Mike, you’re funny as any of these characters you’ve played before, do me a favor and pick a voice!

I can’t believe I’m saying this over one of my favorite actresses. Dakota Fanning & Spencer Breslin lacked emotion. Dakota, who’s the youngest actress to earn a Screen Actors Guild (SAG for short) for “Best Supporting Actress,” performed robotically like Hayden Christensen’s performance as Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Dang it Dakota! Show some dignity!

The jokes weren’t funny at all. How did the film managed to get away with this kind of “Frat Boy Humor?” It’s as if this movie was written by a bunch of college students! Gonna have to Triple Down a few points for ruining a childhood memory!

The Cat farts in front of the kids. I like fart jokes, but Dr, Seuss would’ve never used any of those type of jokes in his books. The Grinch gets a pass, because he’s literally dirty and unsanitary. The Cat is supposed to be a clean and fun loving animal, not Shrek!

Thing 1 & Thing 2’s appearances look hideous. They belong in a monster movie!

When The Cat is hit by a couple of children like a piñata, there’s a random sequence of him dressed as a little girl riding on a swing with a unicorn in background as Lionel Richie’s song, “Easy Like Sunday Morning” is played. Who the heck directed this scene David Lynch?

The chase sequence shows The Cat chasing Quinn. How come the extras never bat an eye on The Cat? In real life they would’ve gone bat-poop crazy on him. This broke my suspension of disbelief.

I swear to God I’m totally not making this up. For the love of cinema, Paris Hilton (as in The Simple Life) has a cameo appearance. If Dr. Seuss were alive to see this picture, he would’ve suffered a massive heart attack like Dick Cheney! That’s it, I’m Doubling Down Paris’s cameo for making me feel like a complete moron!

The Cat’s vehicle is dubbed as a “Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter.” Really? Trey Parker & Matt Stone did a better job using “The S-Word” from South Park’s “It Hits The Fan!”

During a roller coaster like sequence, The Cat literally broke the fourth wall by holding a Universal Studios brochure. That scene indicates the movie studio is taken over by a self promoting meatbag! Where’s “Freakazoid” when you need him to mock commercialism?

The C.G.I. looks horrendously bad! Peter Jackson’s Visual Effects company, Weta Digital can make better special effects than this!

The whole movie is just an hour and a half SNL sketch. I expect Alec Baldwin or Mike Myers looking at the camera saying “Live from New York, its Saturday night!”

The Final Verdict: F, FOR FAKER!

This movie doesn’t deserve to exist! I would describe it as Satan’s kidney stone. If the devil was watching this movie, he would’ve had one heck of a painful experience pushing it out! Everyone from around the world, grab your shovels and bury this evil monstrosity next to the Atari E.T. video game!

What the heck man! It nearly destroyed Mike Myers’ career (until The Love Guru) along with Dakota Fanning’s before she signed up for “The Twilight” series! Thank goodness Alec Baldwin survived it. (plus Thomas The Tank Engine) He now has a bunch of Emmy’s from his work on “30 Rock.”

Note from 2020: Dakota is currently starring in the hit series “The Alienist.” Which means she managed to bounce back. But how long? Depends on her decision to pick a specific film or show.

One more thing. Benedict Cumberbatch has signed on to star in the animated version of The Grinch, let’s hope that Hollywood doesn’t make another screw up. All we can do is cross our fingers and we must remain vigilant as movie goers.

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