A Cat-astrophic Instagram Advert
Are you a cat or a dog person? It’s one of those age old questions that divides a room and sparks plenty of debate over which is the better pet to have. If, like me, you fall into the former, Cats The Mewvie looks like the perfect documentary film. To be fair, it starts out promisingly enough as it deep dives into the phenomena of cat memes and online viral videos before nosediving spectacularly into a 90 minute advertisement for Instagram, with a lack of substance, history or anything particularly interesting across its run-time.
The film itself begins with a message about out feline companions and begins to examine the early origins during the internet’s infancy with the early text-form cats and Infinite Cat Project. From here, we’re introduced to Instagram and the initial ideas are completely discarded in favour of a lesson in how to exploit and promote an ever-hungry audience ready to watch cat videos. On Instagram of course.
As someone who grew up around the explosion of the internet, it’s particularly frustrating watching Cats The Mewvie and seeing the shocking amount of content missing from what could have been a really fascinating and engaging film. Grumpy cat, cyan cat, keyboard cat and all those other cats on YouTube are missing in favour of owners parading their uncomfortable looking pets on-screen in the hope of boosting their cat Insta accounts that have anywhere from 10,000 up to a million followers. (The Exception being Lil Bub of course).
For a film with the synopsis of “a pawesome documentary exploring how our feline friends came online icons, from the earliest text memes to the rise of celebrity cat influencers”, this does feel more than a little misleading.
To be fair, there’s a good 10 minute segment either side of the incessant Insta fluff in the middle that does make this documentary worth persevering with. Some of the early content with the utopian nature of the internet is a nice inclusion although one quick Wiki search will give you far more interesting and educational content than this documentary. Each of the still images of cats have the Instagram logo plastered to the top right of the screen, each different cat has their unique Insta name underneath their actual name and the spokesperson from Instagram is given a lot more air-time to discuss how they marketed “Cats_Of_Insta” around this feline phenomenon.
Although the cat owners are quick to inform us their cats love what they do, some of the cats here look seriously agitated. From loud meows and hissing through to deep rumbling growls and obese, over-fed “fat cats”, Cats The Mewvie is essentially the feline version of child beauty pageants. Sponsored by Instagram of course. It’s such a shame too because there’s certainly scope here for a fascinating deep dive into the subject but aside from touching the surface level ideas, the film abandons all hope when it turns into an Insta advert; a documentary to throw on in the background while doing something else and not paying much attention.
If you’re genuinely interested in this subject matter and want to find out more about where it all started, I strongly recommend checking out this wikipedia article instead. #cats_the_mewvie is essentially a 90 minute Instagram advertisement. It does have some cute cats and seeing some of these felines prancing around is certainly cute and heartwarming but what’s to stop me from loading up YouTube and watching those myself?