Prior to the screening, three fellow critics
engaged in a conversation expressing the negativity
they'd heard and/or read regarding this film.
Additionally, I did find the theater surprisingly
less attended than I'd anticipated. Hence, coupled
with a somewhat stiff looking poster, my overall
expectations for "Cat in the Hat" sunk a notch or
two. But, all for naught, or perhaps because of that,
I enjoyed the film just fine anyway.
From the homage animated title sequence to the
storybook set, the picture draws the viewer into its
caricature world soon to be invaded by the Cat in the
Hat (Myers). But what makes the production work so
well is that it doesn't rely on the whit and spark of
Myers. At every turn collaborating talented folks
bring tidbits of fun and humor. Sean Hayes voices the
fish marvelously (his offerings are at least as good
as Myers'). Alec Baldwin unabashedly nails his role
as mother's two-faced boyfriend. He's such a good
sport. The kids and all onscreen talent conspire
along with the set designers, director, scripters,
animators, and editors to create a fun filled
experience for kids and some open-minded adults.
As for Myers, I have a huge amount of respect for
his work, but here he is only slightly above average.
The Cat's main voice seems to be an impression of the
Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz -- can't explain
exactly why -- but that bothers me. However, his
make-up and live-action design work exceptionally
well, despite my expectations given the poster.
Additionally, his overall mood nails the spirit of
the book -- a stranger, enticingly interesting,
alluringly odd, a grown-up bent on fun -- but with
always that element of danger, menace. Sean Haye's
"voice of reason" fish counters the Cat perfectly. I
absolutely love when he (the fish) takes a breath
before diving back into the water. In fact, nearly
every flash to screen time of the fish, holds a funny
zinger -- "Oh, My Cod!"
That said, the biggest fault of the film lies in
the third thing -- the box. The first two things,
thing one and thing two, are both well realized, both
fun and both scary. But the third thing, the box; its
purple CGI ooze falls short, takes us out of the
story as does its full culmination -- which doesn't
seem to be more than an excuse to plug an amusement
park ride. Yes, funny for a second, that the Cat
fezzes up to that crime, nonetheless, this extended
plug takes a large toll on the integrity of the
Interestingly enough, filmmakers wanted the fish
to be a combination of Felix Unger (Odd Couple) and
Barney Fife (Andy Griffith Show). Which I find very
amusing, since Don Knotts (Fife), once had done a
full feature movie in which he becomes a fish (The
Incredible Mr. Limpett).