Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003)

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Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Cat in the hat.jpg
This cat falls flat.
Genre: Comedy
Fantasy
Directed By: Bo Welch
Written By: Alec Berg
David Mandel
Jeff Schaffer
Starring: Mike Myers
Alec Baldwin
Kelly Preston
Dakota Fanning
Spencer Breslin
Amy Hill
Sean Hayes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures

DreamWorks Pictures

Release Date: November 21, 2003
Runtime: 82 minutes
Country: United States
Sequel: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (cancelled)

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat is a 2003 American fantasy comedy film directed by Bo Welch, produced by Brian Grazer, and loosely based on the Dr. Seuss' classic children’s book of the same name. The movie stars Mike Myers in the titular role of the Cat in the Hat, Dakota Fanning as Sally and Spencer Breslin as Sally's brother, Conrad (who is unnamed in the book). The Cat in the Hat is the second (and final) feature-length Dr. Seuss adaptation after the 2000 Christmas movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Plot

Two bored children, control freak Sally and troublemaker Conrad, have their lives turned upside down when a talking humanoid cat wearing a red and white-striped top hat and a red bow tie comes to visit them.

Why It Sucks

  1. The film is completely unfaithful to the source material and contains numerous jokes and innuendos that are inappropriate for the original target audience and ruin a lot of charm and charisma from the original book. In fact, the film was almost rated PG-13.
    • In addition, similar to the live-action adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Cat here in the film is very much the opposite of his book counterpart. In the original book and the animated short, he was kind, refined, funny, well-meaning and (while he was a bit of a nuisance) never a legitimate threat. In the film however, he is mean, crude, unfunny, malicious and a genuinely sadistic threat.
      • At one point, he pushes Larry off a cliff in the climax and literally stands before smiling when Sally and Conrad find the crate and the former almost gets sucked up. To add insult to injury, the Cat knew everything was going to happen as he planned all of it all along, including remorselessly putting Sally, Conrad and Larry in near-death experiences.
    • The film adds a bunch of characters and plot lines that never appeared in the original book, such as Larry Quinn, a lazy, unemployed next-door neighbor who plans to marry Joan for money and to send Conrad to military school and the house being messed up to the point of becoming an alternate dimension. The movie also adds extra morals that are incredibly forced and unnecessary instead of following the book's moral.
    • Examples of the inappropriate humor and innuendos featured include:
      • The film features a racist Chinese stereotype in the form of Mrs. Kwan, a fat, sleeping lady who just so watches a Taiwanese parliament fight instead of babysitting Sally and Conrad.
      • The Cat lusts over a picture of Sally and Conrad's mother at one point, which is very disturbing.
      • The Cat nearly yelling "Son of a b*tch!" in one scene where he accidentally chopped part of his tail off.
      • The infamous "Dirty hoe!" line.
      • The Cat showing his car in which he calls it the "Super Hydraulic Instantaneous Transporter" (S.H.I.T) before he changed its name to "Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger a.k.a. the S.L.O.W." to prevent Conrad from saying the acronym of the previous name.
      • There is also a totally out-of-place cameo of Paris Hilton (whom the Cat is attracted to) dancing in a club.
  2. Awful characters and unconvincing character development.
  3. Flawed and unintentionally creepy character designs and makeup, most notably with the Cat and Thing 1 and 2.
    • Same goes for the costume design for Conrad, Sally, Joan and the other human characters.
  4. Shameless product placement in one scene, where the Cat shows Universal Studios pamphlets during the climax. The film even has to pause for the Cat to point out the pamphlets.
  5. Lackluster special effects and visuals, even by early 2000's standards.
  6. Most of the conflicts were incredibly forced and unconvincing, particularly the conflict between Conrad and Joan. They have little to no buildup to be so harsh in each other's words.
  7. There is a scene in the movie where Sally discovers that none of her ex-friends invited her to their birthday party; the movie holds on to this scene for a few seconds, which makes the viewers think that Sally will reconcile with her friends, but the movie then instead decides to abandon Sally's arc for no reason.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. As unfaithful of an adaptation it is, the movie still has some moments faithful to the book, such as Things 1 and 2 messing up the whole house and the Cat cleaning it up with a cleaning machine. Besides this, the sets and props also carry the Dr. Seuss look and feel.
  2. David Newman's score is is fitting and amazing most of the time, so are the songs courtesy of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
  3. While the humor tends to be weak, there are still a few funny moments.
  4. The moment when the Cat gets beaten up upon disguising himself as a pinata can be a bit heartbreaking, but is mostly satisfying considering his terrible actions in the movie.
  5. Some of the characters can be at least somewhat tolerable.
  6. The S.L.O.W. vehicle is a pretty awesome vehicle.
  7. At least the film's tone/atmosphere is lighter compared to How the Grinch Stole Christmas's slightly dark and eerie one.

Reception

The Cat in the Hat was panned by critics and fans alike, largely for its adult-oriented humor, innuendos (which they found it unnecessary and insulting to the source material despite having some faithful elements), screenplay, characters, and Myers’s performance, while the visual aspects, David Newman's musical score and the production values were mostly praised. The film currently holds a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes with the website's consensus reads: "Filled with double entendres and potty humor, this Cat falls flat." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 19/100 based on 37 reviews, indicating "overwhelming dislike". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "B-".

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a 'D' rating.

Box office

The film opened at #1 at the box office with a domestic gross of $38,329,160. The total domestic gross was $101,149,285. In overseas markets, the film made $32,811,256. Overall, it made $133,960,541 against its $109 million budget and was labeled a box office disappointment.

Awards and nominations

The film was nominated for nine Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture, but lost to Gigli. However, it did manage to win the Award in a new category called Worst Excuse For An Actual Picture (All Concept/No Content).

Trivia

  • Tim Allen was originally going to play the Cat, but he was busy with The Santa Clause 2.
    • The studio also considered Will Ferrell to play the Cat, but he was filming ElfGMW at the time the film was being made.
  • Mike Myers didn't even want to be in the movie, but was legally forced into doing so after backing out of a proposed film adaptation of his Saturday Night LiveBTSW character Dieter titled Dieter's Day (which Brian Grazer and Bo Welch would've also produced and directed respectively), which would've been about Dieter trying to rescue his pet monkey Klaus from co-stars David Hasselhoff and Jack Black.
  • The SimpsonsBTSW Halloween episode "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" made a jab at the film by having the monster, The Fat in the Hat, say before dying: "I'm frightened of nothing, not even Hell's fires. Just don't let me ever be played by Mike Myers."
  • In 2012, an animated reboot of the film was announced by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment following the success of The Lorax. However, no further information regarding this project was announced until in January 2018, where Warner Animation Group announced that they have picked up the rights for the animated reboot along with many of Seuss' works.
  • A lot of the adult humor in this film was originally meant for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, but director Ron Howard cut it out as he hated it and felt it was insulting to the source material.
  • Eric Roth (best known for writing the 1994 hit Forrest GumpGMW) was originally set to write the script when the film was first announced in 1997.
  • Originally, Marc Shaiman was set to be the main composer for the score for the film, but due to David Newman already being chosen to score the film, Shaiman instead wrote the film's songs with Scott Wittman.
  • Shortly after the film's release, a sequel to the film based on the book's sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, was in development. However, Dr. Seuss' widow, Audrey Geisel was so disappointed with the film that she banned all future live-action adaptations of her late husband's work and the sequel was eventually cancelled.
  • Prior to filming, giant props made for the film were stolen from the set; the local police found the props vandalized with graffiti in a shopping mall car park in Pomona, California. Despite this, no arrests had been made, to which filming was set to start the next week.
  • Although director Bo Welch and a publicist for Mike Myers denied it, several people said Myers himself had considerable input into the film's direction by telling some of the cast (co-stars Alec Baldwin and Kelly Preston) how to perform their scenes.
    • In an interview for the AV Club's "Random Reviews" feature, Amy Hill said that Myers was also terrible to work with during filming, because he refused to talk to anyone on the production aside from director Bo Welch, to which he completely isolated himself from the cast and crew during filming breaks. Hill also noted that the film ended up having long and pointless additional retakes of scenes because Myers overruled Welch on whether they were good or not.
  • Universal spent $1.2 million dollars on building the Super Luxurious Omnidirectional Whatchamajigger for the film, to which the car is fully functional by having a top speed of 47 mph powered by an electric motor. Nowadays, it resides in the Volo Auto Museum, alongside a statue resembling the costume Mike Myers wore during filming.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's immediate quote for the movie was: "This isn't Dr. Seuss! It's not even close! It's evil corporate pandering with freaky imagery that's promoting everything that's wrong with humanity! This was next to Son of the Mask, wasn't it?"
  • As of 2020, this is so far the only film that Bo Welch had directed. Following the negative reception of the film, as well being nominated for Worst Director, he did not direct another film and went back to his previous career as a production designer, though has directed a few episodes of TV shows since.

See Also

Videos

External links

Comments


avatar

SonicClub

16 months ago
Score 0
Bad kids' movie ever made! but I have a DVD.
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Magicanimal176

15 months ago
Score 1
What a stupid movie, but at least the fish character was tolerable enough.
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Dominicmgm

15 months ago
Score 2
I'm working on a fanedit of the film which aims to fix parts of the movie. It won't be a good film, but still more tolerable. I have currently removed the Universal Studios plug, the entire nightclub scene and all elements relating to it, the awkward scene where the Cat shows his butt and wrestles with an elephant under the bed (only the scene where he's welding under the couch is kept) and I'm deciding whether to keep the "Fun, Fun, Fun" song with the deleted scene of the second part added in or remove it entirely. I will not release it to the public due to piracy concerns, but I will exhibit it to friends and family.
avatar

Trevor807

2 months ago
Score 0
Whatever you do, don't keep the part where the Cat is crossdressing.
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Mickey Mouse

9 months ago
Score -2

Believe it or not, I actually prefer this film over the 2000 Grinch film as this one doesn't scare me and it actually makes me laugh at some points, while the Grinch one makes me feel uncomfortable and freaks me out.

Though I do have to agree the Cat was flanderized worse than the Grinch
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Mbad3

2 months ago
Score -1
I rather agree. Frankly, I feel the disservice this movie did to the source material was deserved.
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NostalgiaCriticFTWMichaelBayFTL

8 months ago
Score 1
This cat falls flat.
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LA2002

6 months ago
Score 1
The thumbnail of the video of Nostalgia Critic's review of this film is actually very reminiscent to Sub Zero's trademark "Spine Rip" Fatality from the Mortal Kombat games.
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IdkAUsername

4 months ago
Score 0
S O N O F A B I T C H
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Spongebuff1991

4 months ago
Score 0
Roman Never Gets Blocked (a user on Cancelled Movies Wikia) has constantly whined for the sequel to happen. I told him a number of times that a live-action sequel will not happen whether he likes it or not.
avatar

Stephenfisher2001

4 months ago
Score 2

Aw sh*t. Here we go again.

I still hate the live-action movies of Dr. Seuss.
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Spongebuff1991

3 months ago
Score 2
The live-action Grinch was enough for me. I rented the Grinch on DVD and didn't care for it. The Cat in the Hat looks worse and I refuse to see it.
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Spongebuff1991

2 months ago
Score 2
One of the most amusing reviews came from The Wall Street Journal, which stated "You may be sad or even mad, but Cat in the Hat is very bad."
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Botbuster

2 months ago
Score 0
Somebody once told me that Shrek's voice would voice a IRL Cat in the Hat.
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Stephenfisher2001

2 months ago
Score 4
This is not the Cat in the Hat that we all knew and loved!
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Spongebuff1991

one month ago
Score 2
No indeed!
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HellLord

one month ago
Score 1
Yeah
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Spongebuff1991

one month ago
Score 2
I am thankful that I avoided seeing this film! I am also thankful that Audrey Giesel pulled the plug on the sequel and all future live-action adaptations of her husband's book.
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TheBuzzOnMaggieYes CaillouNo

23 days ago
Score 0
I saw this back when I was 9!
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Rendy4ever

20 days ago
Score 0
as bad as the movie was, we gotta admit this Movie Spawned Quotable memes. ;)
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HellLord

19 days ago
Score 2

Cat in The Hat is The Best Anime

[*waits for downvotes*]

(Inspired by Eiji)
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Tony Li

15 days ago
Score 1
Creepiest. Cat. Ever...
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Batman129

14 days ago
Score 0
This is a guilty pleasure of mine tbh.
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LancedSoul

12 days ago
Score 0
This cat falls flat. (not infobox quote.)

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