Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "Set boundaries for yourself and others." While the kids do, indeed, have fun with the Cat, he kind of blindsides them too, barging into their house to play games and only stopping when they get angry with him.
Applicability: "It's fun to have fun, but you need to know how!" can just as easily apply to things that adults find fun, like alcohol, sex, partying or being frivolous with money. If anything, it's more important that adults know how to have fun responsibly, lest they face consequences a little heavier than a messy house.
"Freud on Seuss," which ascribes Freudian motivations to everything that happens in the story.
In the first book, we see Mom's bed. It's a single bed. In the second book, we see Dad's bed. It's a double bed. Though this has more to do with societal standards circa the late 1950s, which considered any implication that a man and a woman slept in the same bed to be vulgar.
First Installment Wins: While it did receive a well received sequel in the form of The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, the original will forever remain the most iconic and the one all the various adaptations take from, with the second book remaining unadapted. There were plans for a sequel to the 2003 film that would have been an adaptation of the second book, but the failure of the 2003 film and Audrey Geisel's refusal to have any more live action adaptations of her husband's work, led to it being cancelled.
Tear Jerker: The Screen-to-Stage Adaptation of "The Cat In The Hat" shot in London has the scene where the boy tells The Cat to put Thing 1 and Thing 2 back into the red box. He lessons and then lets out the Things and one of them gets very excited and wants to have more fun. The Cat sternly shakes his head and Thing 1 and Thing 2 respond by crying as they sadly go inside the box and the cat then carries the box and meows sadly as he leaves.
Franchise Original Sin: The live-action movie is frequently decried for, among its many other faults, following the original book only in veryBroad Strokes. This adaptation actually doesn't follow it very closely either though, which is especially a contrast from the other animated Dr. Seuss specials. It just happened this didn't have any of the other glaring issues the movie had (crass adult humor, the fact it wasn't animated, Uncanny Valley visual effects, and virtually no focus) to bring it down along with it, and as much as it deviated from the source, it still kept true to the Seuss spirit. The latter point was helped no doubt by Ted Geisel himself being involved with its production.
Popularity Polynomial: Was well-received when it first came out, but fell somewhat into obscurity in the 80s and 90s, overshadowed by the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (and, to a lesser extent, The Lorax). In 2003 it got a DVD release to cash in on the live-action version, and was widely regarded as a far superior adaptation by comparison.
Values Dissonance: The made-up Eskimo words during "Cat, Hat" were most likely the best that the uninformed creators could do on a TV schedule and budget, and cultural sensitivities at the time most likely wouldn't have cared. From the 90s onward, it would be considered more than a little insensitive and in the age of Google Translate, it'd be considered downright lazy, especially since all of the European languages are included without flaw. The use of 'Eskimo' itself is problematic since it is considered a slur (the proper word to use is 'Inuit').
Alternative Character Interpretation: Was The Cat originally a cruel saboteur who was perfectly willing to ruin the lives of a family just for fun, only to have a change of heart in the end, or was he ultimately trying to help Sally and Conrad understand their limits to having fun, knowing that the destruction he was causing would help them to learn their lessons?
Author's Saving Throw: The tie-in merchandise and storybooks are drawn in the style of the original book, and get rid of the crude jokes, looking like something Dr. Seuss would approve of. It doubles as Misaimed Marketing.
The matador scene from the song near the beginning has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the song or the rest of the movie. Arguably the entire song could count as this, but that bit especially. Originally, the matador scene was the setup for a deleted verse which can be heard on the soundtrack CD and accessed on the "Deleted Scenes" feature on the DVD. Needless to say, this BLAM could have been averted if the verse was left in the final cut.
"Common Knowledge": A lot of people have given the Cat flack for being a Jerkass (and in all fairness, he is), but when he came into the house, the only jerkish things he did was simply put Mrs. Kwan in the closet, had the Fish thrown into a teapot and violate some of Joan's rules (answering the phone with the line "City Morgue") but was otherwise rather harmless. He was even willing to leave before the kids begged him to stay.
This version of the Cat in the Hat is this. In stark contrast to the somewhat reckless but kindhearted and well-meaning feline in the book, here he's a foul-mouthed, wisecracking Jerkass who admits at the end to planning the whole day and everything that went wrong in it.
Conrad and Sally are no better either. Conrad is a sociopathic troublemaker who doesnt listen to the Cat when he warns him about the dangers of opening the crate and Sally is a bossy control freak who bullies her friends. At least they had the common sense to tell the Cat off when he destroyed the house.
The reason Cat is threatening violence or planning to threat violence to Nevins is because he's a cat and Nevins is a dog. Cats naturally hate dogs. This is even more prominent in one of the deleted scenes, where he actually jumps into Sally's arms at the first sight of him.
While it seems to just be an ironic gag that the Cat is lactose intolerant since people like to give cats milk and/or creme, real life cats actually are lactose intolerant, and it is advised against to give them any.
Fridge Logic: Sort of a "blink and you'll miss it" moment, but when the Cat has the kids sign a contract, he pulls out a paper with the words "Spayed and Neutered", which raises the question of how the Groin Attack hurt so much if he was already neutered. Also, how can he be spayed if he's male (the correct term would be "castrated")? Cat implies in the fun song that he was neutered for misbehaving when he was younger or it really was another cat. Cat is also able to get an erection in both his tail and hat.
Conrad might be a destructive sociopath, but you cant help but feel bad for him, since his moms boyfriend verbally abuses him behind her back (which is Truth in Television) and towards the end of the film, he nearly loses his sister and actually decides to willingly accept responsibility for wrecking the house.
Sally is a total control-freak, but like with Conrad, one can see that they lack real stability (what with being babysat a lot and their mother supporting them with a job at a hostile work environment) and towards the end of the film, was willing to go to the dreaded military academy with her brother.
Magnificent Bastard: The Cat in the Hat himself is a mischievous prankster who intends to teach Sally and Conrad a lesson about how to have fun. Entering their house, he immediately causes as much damage as he possibly can with his "fun", concluding by wheeling in a locked box and telling Conrad not to open it. When Conrad breaks the lock anyway, the Cat brings the children on a dangerous adventure, even having them drive on a busy highway and ultimately traversing through the "The Mother of All Messes", the horrifying and broken version of their house. After they fix the lock, it's revealed that the Cat planned out everything on their journey, purposefully telling Conrad not to open the lock because he knew that would make Conrad want to do it. With the kids having learned their lesson, the Cat returns to fix up the damages he caused, departing from the children as a friend.
Misaimed Marketing: The marketing and tie-in merchandise aside from the trailers averted the dirty jokes showcased throughout the film.
Mis-blamed: Between his Wag the Director antics on previous films, and credited screenwriters Alec Berg, Dave Mandel and Jeff Schaffer (who did the uncredited rewrites for The Grinch) being responsible for the better-received Euro Trip just a few months later, Mike Myers was widely accused of rewriting the screenplay and at the very least having added all the smutty humor, if not outright destroying what had once been a good adaptation. In reality though, Myers' contribution extended to no more than the occasional ad-lib on the set. That said, Berg, Mandel and Schaffer's screenplay apparently was put through the rewrite process, allegedly by studio executives, just not by Myers.
Parody Displacement: Did you know that both characters portrayed by the Cat in the infomercial were based on real personalities? No? Most probably, none of the kids in the audience for The Cat in the Hat were aware of it either. Mike was parodying Amazing Discoveries, a series of infomercials that aired on late-night TV from 1989 to 1997, and specifically its host, Mike Levey, who always wore sweaters and most often had a British pitchman showing him some "astounding" product which had just come on the market for public consumption, and about which Levey usually asked inane questions. Here's one of those shows. (Sadly, Mike Levey passed away from cancer in August of 2003. The Cat in the Hat was released in November of that year, so Levey never got a chance to see himself being parodied up on the big screen.)
So Okay, It's Average: Some opinions on this movie. As an adaptation, it's not exactly something Dr. Seuss would be proud of (In fact, his Estate was pretty livid over it and prohibited any other live action films of his works). On its own however, it's at worst a little boring and has at least a few jokes which land.
Many of the scenes involving glaringly obvious and dated CGI (i.e. the Things running around the house and the "Mother of All Messes") can qualify as this.
An odd case with the Cat himself. While many consider the makeup to be Uncanny Valley, it at least looks somewhat faithful to the Cat's appearance in the book, similar to the Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. However, unlike the Grinch, in which the makeup was known to be extremely uncomfortable for Jim Carrey, who practiced stress-relief techniques to focus on his role, there are several moments throughout the movie where Mike Myers visibly struggles with the extreme discomfort of his costume, which really hurts the authenticity of his performance and makeup. Not helping matters is you can easily see where the costume ends and Myers' actual face begins.
Squick: Larry sneezing into his hands while covered in slime. Yeah...
Strawman Has a Point: It's not hard to agree with the Fish that the Cat should leave. The Cat even agreed with him at the start of the film before the kids begged him not to.
Tainted by the Preview: The unintentionally creepy Cat is seen in all the trailers and some of the dirty humor (including the extending hat) is shown.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: This is natural considering that it is a borderline adult parody of one of the most beloved kids books of all time. Audrey Giesel was so unhappy to the changes that she prevented future live-action movies of her husband's books to be made.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Compared to the original book, the Fish has little to no influence on the plot itself. He only attempts to stop the Cat's antics about halfway through his visit inside the house, and once Thing 1 and Thing 2 enter the picture, the Fish is reduced to a couple minor scenes that could just as easily be removed. His lack of screentime also leaves the Cat without a Cloudcuckoolander's Minder, making him much more unhinged than he was in the book.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Admittedly, the concept of the Cat's universe existing inside of a sort of Pandora's Box is a fascinating concept that doesn't get nearly the treatment it deserves.
The Things. In illustrations and animation, you can get away with designing characters without upper-lips since it would look like mustaches or wrinkles, but in live-action doing that only makes characters look downright creepy.
The Cat himself is no better; unlike say, The Cowardly Lion, the cat's muzzle was not designed to hide or even obscure his glaringly human lips and teeth, and you can see the outline of Mike's head through the makeup.
The Fish is pretty creepy-looking, too. It's a little unclear just WHAT they were trying to do with him, but it looks like a cross between the Fish from the book and an actual fish that you'd see in real life. It also seems they were trying to sneak in a Don Knotts caricature in there, because apparently, he's the "Stop Having Fun Guy" like Squidward. And somewhere along the line, someone decided to give him teeth!
Uncertain Audience: The reason why the film failed. It tried to appeal to Dr. Seuss fans but it appealed to fans of raunchy jokes and vice versa.
Vindicated by History: As outlined elsewhere on this page, the movie was widely hated upon its release. However, similar to what happened with Bee Movie, it later found popularity in the late 2010s as an internet meme. As a result, many people who've decided to Watch It for the Meme have said that the film's visual style and humor manage to hold well on their own merits, despite it not being a good adaptation of the book. The film has since garnered a fanbase online who have created countless memes and even fan art. Its turnaround from being considered awful to gaining a large, genuine following makes it one of the best examples of how initially panned children's media is often the subject of strong reappraisal.
Visual Effects of Awesome: The sheer wackiness and colorful portrayal of Anville is about the only thing this film got even close to right, trying its best to mimic Dr. Seuss' trademark style.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: This film definitely qualifies: Despite it being based on a book meant for kindergarteners, the movie dealt with a lot of extremely crass humor and rather dirty things that should not be exposed to kids. The fact it was written by the same writers of EuroTrip, an R-rated sex comedy didn't help. Dr. Seuss's widow was actually so disgusted by this that she decided not to be a part of any film adaptation of her late husband's works, other than declaring that any future adaptations would only be animated from now on.
WTH, Casting Agency?: The film got lots of flak for casting Mike Myers as the Cat (after Tim Allen left the film) due to his track record of humor being inappropriate for the typical age demographic of Dr. Seuss readers (although he was notable as another kids' icon, Shrek); both he and director Bo Welch were legally forced into the film due to Universal being angry over Myers cancelling a movie adaptation of Sprockets. Unfortunately, many of the fears from parents ended up being realized once the film came out.
No Problem with Licensed Games: The video game is a solid 2.5D platformer that, despite being mainly based on the film, is enjoyable enough on its own.
Player Punch: After defeating Lawrence Quinn in each of his machines, Thing 1 and Thing 2 operate them if the boss battle returns.
The Problem with Licensed Games: There was inexplicably a version of this game released for the original PlayStation in 2003. It is a severely limited and boring "find the hidden object" game with graphics that wouldn't be out of place on a 16-bit console.
Uncanny Valley: The game's character models are based directly off the film's live-action characters and designs, which can cause this effect.
So Okay, It's Average: Though it was met with warm reception when it first opened, opinions over the ride have changed over the years to it just being merely "okay". Most fans seem to agree that it is in desperate need of a good refurbishment/overhaul.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Fans were not pleased to see the spinning in the ride get drastically toned down. While understanding that it was done for safety reasons (as there had been a series of incidents on the ride over the years), they feel it takes a lot away from the experience and renders certain scenes pointless.