A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie focuses on growing up and accepting the realities of the world. It teaches that it is important to explore and find yourself, but that ultimately happiness comes from within. A character's weight is continually referenced, often in derogatory terms.
Positive Role Models
Kitten Cape is brave and determined, yet lacks the experience to see danger ahead. His father Blanket is lazy and closed off from the world, but steps up to become a hero in order to save his son. Stray cats are shown to be resourceful and community-centered, though lonely and traumatized beneath the surface.
Violence & Scariness
An unexpected amount of violence and peril includes characters being chased, attacked, punched, kicked, hit with objects, trapped in cages, electrocuted, and given CPR. There are instances of characters falling from a balcony and presumed dead, lost and shivering in the snow, stuck underwater, suffocating and passing out, flying across the city from a dangerous height, and crushed in a machine resulting in them being crippled, going mad, or even dying. Plastic bags are filled with dead animals and a character gets stuck on a conveyor belt moving toward an incinerator. There is mention of the death of a parent and of bribes being paid for protection.
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Insults include "idiot." Consistent references to a character's weight, such as "fat" and "fatty."
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Products & Purchases
Some bottles in the bar look similar to real-life brands, including Jack Daniels.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol in a bar on numerous occasions, including beers and spirits. Another consumes wine at home.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cats is an animated adventure about a young kitten who runs away from home in search of a mythical land, and contains a surprising amount of violence and peril. The mythical land, called "Peachtopia," can be read as an allegory of heaven. There is mention of the death of a mother, and there are numerous occasions when characters find themselves in danger. The level of violence is unusually high for this kind of movie, with characters kicked and punched, while death is often alluded to. Alcohol is also prevalent, with many scenes taking place in a bar. While there is no strong language, frequent references are made to a character being overweight, with him referred to as "fatty" and constantly getting stuck. Overall, the story is about growing up, accepting the world, and finding happiness within yourself. The movie is also known as Cats and Peachtopia in some territories. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Cats lacks the craftsmanship of its Pixar and DreamWorks counterparts, but it's not without merits. The animation is bright and colorful, the cityscapes and rural landscapes are rendered beautifully -- if without much panache in the detail -- and the characters are emotive with the required cuteness. The plot follows the familiar story of a curious child -- or kitten in this case -- in search of something that ends up existing inside themselves. It also, in good-old Disney style, throws in the death of a parent to really get those tears rolling.
Considering that the movie skews toward a young audience -- with few references or additional levels to appeal to older viewers -- it feels unnecessarily dark in its frequent violence and references to death. It does, however, maintain a level of excitement and hits all the emotional notes to keep viewers fully engaged in what is a fairly generic story told well, but one that lacks the final flourish to make it unique.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.