The Cat in the Hat (film)
The Cat in the Hat (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat) is a 2003 American fantasy comedy film directed by Bo Welch in his directorial debut and based on Dr. Seuss's book of the same name. Starring Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Alec Baldwin and Kelly Preston, it is the second feature-length Dr. Seuss adaptation after the 2000 film How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
|The Cat in the Hat|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bo Welch|
|Produced by||Brian Grazer|
|Based on||The Cat in the Hat|
by Dr. Seuss
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Don Zimmerman|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (North America)|
DreamWorks Pictures (International)
|Box office||$133.9 million|
The idea was originally conceived in 2001 with Tim Allen initially cast as the Cat, but he dropped his role due to work on The Santa Clause 2 and the role was later given to Myers. Filming took place in California for three months. While the basic plot parallels that of the book, the film filled out its 82 minutes by adding new subplots and characters significantly different from the original story similar to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Released theatrically on November 21, 2003 in the United States, the film underperformed at the box office, grossed $133 million worldwide against a budget of $109 million, and was panned by critics, largely for its adult themes, toilet humor and innuendos while the musical score, visual aspects and production values were mostly praised. Following the film's release, Seuss's widow Audrey Geisel decided not to permit further live-action adaptations of her husband's works.
Conrad and Sally Walden live in the city of Anville with their single mother Joan. Joan works for neat-freak Hank Humberfloob as a real estate agent and is hosting an office party at her house. One day, she is called back to the office, leaving the children with Mrs. Kwan, the babysitter (after the previous one quit) and forbidding them to enter the living room, which is being kept pristine for the upcoming party. Joan is also dating their next-door neighbor Larry Quinn, much to Conrad's disgruntlement because Larry wants nothing more than to send him away to military school for being a "hot-headed troublemaker".
Once Joan leaves on a rainy day, Sally and Conrad meet an anthropomorphic humanoid talking cat with a red-and-white striped top hat and a large red bow tie named the Cat in the Hat, who persuades them to learn to have fun, but the family's fish does not want the Cat around while Joan is away. During his presence, the Cat leaves a trail of destruction across the house and in the process releases two troublemaking things named Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a crate that he explains is actually a portal to his world. The Cat tells Conrad never to open the crate and allows the Things to have fun but they instead make a mess out of the house. Despite the Cat's warning, Conrad picks the lock on the crate, causing the lock to attach to the collar of the family dog Nevins. The three then drive the Cat's super-powered car to town in search of Nevins. During this, Conrad realizes that the Things always do the opposite to what they are told and uses this to their advantage to have them stall Joan.
Meanwhile, Larry is revealed to be an unemployed slob with dentures and in financial debt, though claiming that he is a successful businessman in the hopes of marrying Joan for her money. Larry sees Nevins running across the street and tracks down Joan to tell her, but Things 1 and 2 have stalled her on the road by posing as police officers. Larry, having somehow deduced what Conrad and Sally were plotting, goes back to the house, telling Joan to meet him there.
By the time the kids and the Cat return to the house with the lock, an enraged Larry suddenly cuts them off and orders them inside the house. Conrad tries to warn him, but he simply cannot be bothered to believe him. He then immediately sneezes uncontrollably due to his allergic reaction to the Cat, who takes advantage of this and scares him away, only for the house to fall apart in a paper-like fashion, with Larry falling into a gooey abyss. A huge mess spills from the unlocked crate and engulfs the house, resulting in a surreal dimension-like landscape where the house once stood, aptly named "The Mother of All Messes". They navigate their way through the oversized house and find the crate while cleaning up. The house is returned to its normal proportions, but then immediately falls apart to which the children angrily order the Cat to exit the house after learning the Cat planned the mess the whole time. The Cat feebly attempts to reason with them but they firm their resolve and order him to leave anyway.
Conrad prepares to face the consequences when Joan comes home, but Sally says she will share the blame. The Cat, having overheard this, happily returns to clean up the mess with a great cleaning invention and fixes up the house. Conrad and Sally then thank the Cat for everything before he says goodbye to the children and departs just as Joan arrives. Larry, having survived the gooey abyss of the Mother of All Messes, returns, thinking he has busted the kids. However, when Joan sees the clean house and a messy Larry, she does not believe and dumps him. After the successful party, Joan spends quality time with her children while the Cat along with Things 1 and 2 walk off into the sunset.
- Mike Myers as The Cat in the Hat, a tall, anthropomorphic, wise-cracking cat with a Brooklyn accent and a goofy laugh who wears a special hat which reveals many humorously unrealistic gadgets.
- Spencer Breslin as Conrad Walden, a juvenile delinquent, and Joan's destructive and misbehaved, borderline troublemaker of a son, and the older brother of Sally.
- Dakota Fanning as Sally Walden, Joan's dull, somewhat bossy, well-behaved, and rule-obeying daughter, and the younger sister of Conrad.
- Kelly Preston as Joan Walden, Conrad and Sally's single-mother, and a workaholic real-estate agent.
- Alec Baldwin as Lawrence "Larry" Quinn, the Waldens' pompous, lazy, unemployed next-door neighbor. He is revealed to be allergic to cats, steals food from the Waldens and gets away with it, and is determined to both marry Joan for her wealth and send Conrad to military school to straighten up his behavior.
- Amy Hill as Mrs. Kwan, an elderly Taiwanese woman, who was hired to watch the kids, though she sleeps through her job. Her weight and sleep serves as a running gag. She sits down on the couch to watch brawling in Taiwanese parliament.
- Sean Hayes as Hank Humberfloob, Joan's zero-tolerance boss, who may seem friendly at first glance, but is quick to fire employees for even the smallest infractions, often in an over-announciated, extremely loud tone of voice. Hayes is also the voice of the somewhat cynical, pessimistic family fish.
- Danielle Chuchran and Taylor Rice as Thing 1, and Brittany Oaks and Talia-Lynn Prairie as Thing 2; two gibbering trouble-making creatures that the Cat brings in with him. Dan Castellaneta provided the voices for both Things.
- Steven Anthony Lawrence as Dumb Schweitzer, an intellectually and socially inferior pre-teen boy with a bronx accent. He whacks the Cat right in the crotch with a wooden baseball bat.
- Paris Hilton as a female club-goer
- Bugsy as Nevins, the Waldens' pet dog. Frank Welker provided his voice. Welker had previously provided the voice of Max the dog, from How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
- Candace Dean Brown as a secretary who works for the Humberfloob Real Estate.
- Daran Norris as the Astounding Products Announcer
- Clint Howard as Kate the Caterer
- Paige Hurd as Denise, who does not speak to Sally anymore, not long after she talked back to her. She never invited Sally to her birthday party either since Sally earlier stated that she told Denise not to speak to her anymore.
- Stephen Hibbert as Jim McFlinnigan, a newly-hired member of the Humberfloob Real Estate who is quickly fired for shaking his Humberfloob's hand without washing his own first.
- Roger Morrisey as Mr. Vompatatat
- Victor Brandt as the Narrator, who tells the story; he is revealed to be the Cat using a voice-changer at the end.
DreamWorks Pictures acquired rights to the original book in 1997. However, production did not originally start until after the 2000 Christmas/comedy film How the Grinch Stole Christmas, based on another Dr. Seuss book of the same name, became a commercial success. Brian Grazer, who was the producer of The Grinch, stated, "Because we grew up with these books, and because they have such universal themes and the illustrations ignite such fantasy in your mind as a child—the aggregation of all those feelings—it leaves an indelible, positive memory. And so when I realized I had a chance to convert first The Grinch and then, The Cat in the Hat, into movies, I was willing to do anything to bring them to the screen." Grazer contacted Bo Welch over the phone with the offer to direct the film, and he accepted. When production began, songs written by Randy Newman were dropped because they were deemed inferior. Newman's cousin, David Newman, composed the score for the film. Although Welch and a publicist for Myers denied it, several people said Myers had considerable input into the film's direction, telling some of the cast (co-stars Baldwin and Preston) how to perform their scenes.
Tim Allen was originally planned to play the role of the Cat. The script would be originally based on a story conceived by Allen, who admitted that as a child he was afraid of Seuss's "mischievous feline" babysitter. Allen stated, "My dream is to give it the edge that scared me." However, producers did not commission a screenplay until late February 2001, when Alec Berg, Jeff Schaffer, and Dave Mandel (who were also writers on Seinfeld) were hired to write the script (replacing the original draft of the film that was written a few years before penned by Eric Roth), so the film would not be ready to shoot before the deadline. Allen was also committed to shooting Disney's The Santa Clause 2, which was also delayed because Allen wanted a script rewrite. Due to a scheduling conflict with that film, he dropped out his role. In March 2002, the role of the Cat was given to Mike Myers, even though he had an argument with Grazer about starring in a cancelled film based on his Saturday Night Live sketch Dieter. Myers stated in an interview that he was a long-time fan of the original Dr. Seuss book, and that it was the first book he ever read.
Makeup and visual effectsEdit
Makeup for the character was designed by Steve Johnson. The Cat costume was made of angora and human hair and was fitted with a cooling system. To keep Myers cool during the outdoor shoots, a portable air conditioner was available that connected a hose to the suit between shots. The tail and ears were battery operated. Danielle Chuchran and Brittany Oaks, who portrayed Thing 1 and Thing 2, respectively, wore a prosthetic facemask and wig designed by Johnson as well. The Fish was considered somewhat of a unique character for Rhythm & Hues (responsible for some of the effects and animation in such films as Cats & Dogs, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and Scooby-Doo), in that the character had no shoulders, hips or legs, so all of the physical performance had to emit from the eyes, head and fin motion. Sean Hayes, who provided the voice for the Fish, found the role significantly different from his usual on-camera jobs; he did not know how the final animation would look, and all of his work took place alone in a sound booth.
Prior to filming, giant props for the film were stolen from the set. Local police found the props vandalized with graffiti in a mall car park in Pomona, California. Despite this, no arrests had been made and filming was to start the next week. Principal photography took place mostly in California from October 2002 until January 2003. The neighborhood and the town centre was filmed in a rural valley near Simi Valley, where 24 houses (each 26 feet square and 52 feet tall) were constructed. The downtown area outdoor shots were filmed along a Pomona street where a number of antique and gift shops are located. The community decided not to redecorate after filming ended, so the surreal paint scheme and some of the signage could still be seen today as it appears in the film. Because of so much smog in the area, the sky had to be digitally replaced with the cartoon-like sky and colors of the background had to be digitally fixed.
|The Cat in the Hat|
|Film score / Soundtrack album by|
|Released||November 18, 2003|
The soundtrack was released on November 18, 2003. Originally, Marc Shaiman was going to compose the score for the film, but David Newman was already chosen for the film score, leaving Shaiman in charge of writing the film's songs with Scott Wittman. The soundtrack features a song by Smash Mouth ("Getting Better"), making it the third Mike Myers-starring film in a row to feature at least one song by Smash Mouth after Shrek (2001) and Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). The soundtrack also includes a couple of songs performed by Mike Myers (the role of the Cat). Newman's score won a BMI Film Music Award.
All music composed by David Newman, except as noted.
|1.||"Main Title; The Kids"||8:07|
|2.||"Getting Better" (Performed by Smash Mouth)||Lennon–McCartney||2:24|
|4.||"Two Things - Couch Jumping - Lea..."||5:16|
|5.||"Military Academy Seduction"||3:02|
|6.||"Mrs. Kwan - Mom Leaves"||2:12|
|7.||"Surfer Cat - the Phunometer"||2:23|
|8.||"Fun, Fun, Fun" (Performed by Mike Myers)||Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman||2:38|
|10.||"Oven Explodes - "Clean Up This Mess!""||1:36|
|11.||"Things Wreck the House"||2:52|
|12.||"Larry the Slob"||3:10|
|16.||"Clean Up" (Performed by Mike Myers)||Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman||0:23|
The Cat in the Hat was released on VHS and DVD on March 16, 2004. It features 16 deleted scenes, 20 outtake scenes, almost a dozen featurettes, and a "Dance with the Cat" tutorial to teach children how to do a Cat in the Hat dance. On February 7, 2012, the film was released on Blu-ray.
The Cat in the Hat opened theatrically on November 21, 2003 and earned $38,329,160 in its opening weekend, ranking first in the North American box office. The film ended its theatrical run on March 18, 2004, having grossed $101,149,285 domestically and $32,811,256 overseas for a worldwide total of $133,960,541.
Review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 9% approval rating, based on 158 reviews with an average rating of 3.2/10. 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 out of 100 based on 37 reviews, indicating "overwhelming dislike". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film one star, stating, "Cat, another overblown Hollywood raid on Dr. Seuss, has a draw on Mike Myers, who inexplicably plays the Cat by mimicking Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4 stars. Although he praised the production design, he considered the film to be "all effects and stunts and CGI and prosthetics, with no room for lightness and joy". Ebert and co-host Richard Roeper gave the film "Two Thumbs Down". Roeper said of Myers' performance that "Maybe a part of him was realizing as the movie was being made that a live-action version of The Cat in the Hat just wasn't a great idea." Ebert had the same problem with the film that he had with How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in that "If there is one thing I've learned from these two movies is that we don't want to see Jim Carrey as a Grinch, and we don't want to see Mike Myers as a cat. These are talented comedians, let's see them do their stuff, don't bury them under a ton of technology."
Leonard Maltin in his Movie Guide gave it one-and-a-half stars out of four saying that the "Brightly colored adaptation of the beloved rhyming book for young children is a betrayal of everything Dr. Seuss ever stood for, injecting potty humor and adult (wink-wink) jokes into a mixture of heavy-handed slapstick and silliness." Maltin also said that the film's official title which included Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat was "an official insult".
Conversely, Variety praised it as being "attractively designed, energetically performed and, above all, blessedly concise, this adaptation of one of the most popular American kids' books walks the safe side of surrealism with its fur-flying shenanigans. The younger the viewers, the better reactions are bound to be, while grownups will sit in varying states of bemusement".
Baldwin addressed complaints the film received because of its dissimilarity to the source material. He expressed a belief that a film is "an idea about something" and that because Dr. Seuss' work is so unique, making a feature-length film out of one of his stories would entail taking liberties and making broad interpretations.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|BMI Film Awards||Best Music||David Newman||Won|
|DFWFCA Awards||Worst Film||Won|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Movie Actor||Mike Myers||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Actor of the Decade||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Alec Baldwin||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Kelly Preston||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Bo Welch||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, based on the book by Dr. Seuss||Nominated|
|Worst Screen Couple||Mike Myers and either Thing One or Thing Two||Nominated|
|Worst Excuse for an Actual Movie (All Concept/No Content)||Won|
|Worst "Comedy" of Our First 25 Years||Nominated|
|Stinkers Bad Movie Awards||Worst Picture||Won|
|Worst Director||Bo Welch||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay for a Film Grossing More Than $100 Million Worldwide||Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, based on the book by Dr. Seuss||Won|
|Worst Actor||Mike Myers||Nominated|
|Worst Fake Accent - Male||Nominated|
|Worst Supporting Actor||Alec Baldwin||Nominated|
|Most Painfully Unfunny Comedy||Nominated|
|Worst Song||"Fun, Fun, Fun"; music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman||Nominated|
|Most Annoying Non-Human Character||Cat in the Hat||Won|
|Thing One and Thing Two (voices by Dan Castellaneta)||Nominated|
|The Spencer Breslin Award (Worst Performance by a Child Actor)||Spencer Breslin||Won|
The film also received three nominations at the Hollywood Makeup & Hairstylists Guild Awards.
On the day of the film's release, Mike Myers stated in an interview that he expected a sequel where the kids meet the Cat again, since there was a sequel to the book. A sequel based on The Cat in the Hat Comes Back was in development just over a month before the film's release.
On March 15, 2012, a computer-animated The Cat in the Hat remake was announced by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment following the success of The Lorax. On January 24, 2018, Warner Animation Group announced that they have picked up the rights for the animated Cat in the Hat reboot movie, along with many of Seuss's works.
The film has a 2.5D platformer video game published by Vivendi Universal Games and developed by Magenta Software and Digital Eclipse. The game was released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Game Boy Advance on November 5, 2003, and PC on November 9, 2003, shortly before the film's theatrical release.
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