Tuesday, 6 January 2015
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
"Can't I have some rules?""
"No chewing tobacco!"
Lots of people don't like this film. This is mainly because they have fond childhood memories of the original work by Dr Seuss and don't like the more adult and naughty tone of this film. I can sort of see their point, and won't necessarily put this film at the top of the pile of films to show my little girl. However, I've never read any Dr Seuss and came to this with no preconceptions, just wanting to see a bit of comedy starring Mike Myers. And you know what? On those terms, this film is pretty good, and the naughty bits are among the best.
Mike Myers is great, naturally, and perfect for this version of the Cat, but the real revelation is the young Dakota Fanning as the strait-laced Sally in a perfectly judged deadpan comic performance for one so young. The direction and look of the film is perfectly stylised and coloured, with absolutely no concession to realism.
There may be no subtext other than the rather obvious one about properly balancing fun and responsibility, but there's nothing didactic in how the message is conveyed, and much naughty and mildly sweary fun is had in the meantime, with songs and all. Why, we even get a bizarre cover of the Beatles' "Getting Better", albeit without Paul McCartney's dodgy lyric about domestic abuse.
Don't be put off by the critics; this is an enjoyable comedy. Just don't necessarily assume it's for very young children!