Synopsis: Patience Philips is dead – and more alive then ever. Murdered after she learns the secret behind a cosmetic firm’s anti-aging cream, she’s revived and empowered by mystical felines. Now she’s on the slinky prowl for adventure and revenge. She’s Catwoman.
Academy Award® winner Halle Berry plays the sleek, whip-cracking feline fatale, Benjamin Bratt is a cop torn between romance and duty, and Sharon Stone is an ice-blooded supermodel with something to hide in a kicky and stylish Catwoman. With catlike grace, a knack for landing on her feet, a passion for sushi and a loathing for dogs, Berry is a perfect to reckon with. She’s action. With attitude.
eyelights: Benjamin Bratt. Halle Berry’s good looks.
eyesores: Halle Berry’s performance. the risible storytelling. the crummy CGI. the lackluster action sequences.
“Get your paws off of me!”
For years following the release of 1992’s ‘Batman Returns‘, rumours circulated that a Catwoman spin-off film starring Michelle Pfeiffer was in the works. Forget the fact that she found the catsuit so uncomfortable that she nixed the idea: people were so enamoured with her take on the character that they wanted more; they wanted to believe she’d be back.
Of course they did. I did too.
Instead, after being development Hell forever, no doubt due to the wreckage that became the Batman franchise, Ashley Judd became attached to the film. And then Halle Berry. The production of ‘Catwoman’ got stalled to such an extent that, by the time that ‘Batman Begins‘ was being worked on, Warner Bros. considered inserting Catwoman into that picture instead.
Perhaps that would have been smart. Or perhaps that would have tainted an otherwise excellent reboot of the franchise. Either way, ‘Catwoman’ was made and came out in 2004, and was on all counts an unmitigated disaster: it failed at the box office, not even recouping its budget, was panned by critics and the public and wound up earning a good handful of Razzie awards.
Now, maybe it’s a question of unfulfilled expectations or maybe it just plain sucks, but ‘Catwoman’ is one heck of a disappointing film. I first saw it years ago and just couldn’t believe how bad it was; I wouldn’t ever buy it. Yet, amusingly, this time I started off being bored but not finding it that bad. I immediately thought my expectations were now so low that it was palatable.
‘Catwoman’ is such a crappy film that its star, Halle Berry, accepted her Golden Raspberry Award in person (the first Academy Award winner to ever do so!) and proceeded to trash it with an 8-minute acceptance speech, beginning with “I want to thank Warner Bros. for casting me in this piece-of-shit, god-awful movie” and castigating many of the people involved.
All in good fun, of course.
So… what’s wrong with ‘Catwoman’?
Well, what’s not?
For starters, the story is lame. It feels like a ’60s comic book story – you know, from back when Batman and Superman fought rampaging clowns or some such nonsense. Here, Patience Phillips (not Selina Kyle), is an artist working for a cosmetics company that is about to put to market an addictive beauty product that will deface its users if they stop using it.
After overhearing the boss discussing the conspiracy, Patience is murdered and returns as Catwoman to confront him. Throw in an unlikely love interest, some BS mysticism involving cats, and a bland villain whose only notable attribute is a face hard as marble, and you’ve got yourself a $#!tty superhero movie script that targeted… um… preteen girls? Is that it?
Man, I don’t know if director Pitof is to blame, or if it’s the editor, or if it’s the studio execs that had the film butchered, but ‘Catwoman’ sometimes makes no sense whatsoever.
- Early on, Patience sees a cat outside her apartment window. Feeling that it was at risk on the ledge like that, she actually goes out to get it, precariously climbing the wall with no support or safety.
Firstly, she needs both arms to climb, so getting the cat is impossible. Secondly, a cat is unpredictable, so being precariously balanced like that and hoping to carry a cat is utterly moronic.
To make matters worse, somehow a cop (who would naturally turn out to be her love interest) just happens to be driving by and sees her. Somehow. And, thinking she’s a jumper, decides to go save her.
- Having been given an extension to produce some art for the Beau-Line launch, Patience works late hours and barely makes her deadline. Obviously, there’s no one around to deliver her work before the midnight deadline, so she does it herself.
But she has to go to a completely different building, for some reason (which may be where the product is being manufactured. I don’t know – it’s unclear). And somehow she walks into this high security facility without a key, scan card, …etc.
When she overhears the conspiracy to launch this highly-divisive product, she is immediately found out and runs away – into the bowels of the building, which, for some reason, consist of huge pipelines. And is quite literally flushed out by the villain.
Because pipes expulsing thousands of gallons of water out of a cliffside makes sense contextually!
Anyway, she falls hundreds of meters to her death, but is unbroken, pristine, intact. And then a bunch of cats congregate around her and give her the gift of life – and (otherwise there’d be no movie) cat-like powers that she will discover and learn.
After being revived, Patience has no recollection of what lead to her death. Conveeeeeenient! So she tells Midnight, the cat who brought her back from the dead, that she’s going to track down her killer.
Midnight could easily just lead her to her murderer since it had foreseen her demise. But it doesn’t. WTF.
- At one point, Catwoman goes to the theatre to confront Patience’s former boss and chief villain, and somehow the cops are there. We don’t know why they are, how they got there, and how they knew she was there too. But there they are!
To make matters worse, even though she’s run away into the theatre’s scaffolding, her beau, Detective Tom Lone, suddenly confronts her. Oh, because he was there, too? And… what… he had his internal GPS leading him right to her?!
And those are just three examples in a consistently nonsensical film! This is one big WTF.
Don’t even get me started. I think the only good line is “meow” – and it was ripped off from ‘Batman Returns’, which delivered it 100 times better. Everything else is clunky, unrealistic, corny or just plain dumb. It’s unreal.
Holy crap… I’ve seen worse (the only reason Berry won the Razzie is because she’s a Hollywood star – they always ignore the indie no-budget movies), but rarely have so many excellent actors demeaned themselves wholesale like this.
She looks dumb. The suit looks like crap, and it doesn’t make sense at all: no one could fight in that outfit (her boobs would pop out and she’d break heels every other second), it doesn’t conceal her identity well at all (at least hide her face more, or put a fake wig, or something), and it’s impractical (those nails should prevent her from doing anything at all).
Plus which the suit falls apart too easily: at one point her beau, Lone, sleeps over and he steps on a nail that dropped off her costume. Conveeeeenient!
Catwoman moves like a cartoon character. I guess they were trying to make her sexy and catlike, but Berry sways her hips way too much, as though her spine were broken. It’s utterly risible. As for her fighting style, it’s supposedly based on capoera, but you can’t tell with all the editing. I just didn’t buy that she could suddenly fight. So… um… the cat taught her to fight too?
Now here’s where the editor is totally to blame: each action/fight sequence is pathetic, lacking any momentum. Characters move quickly and the editing is rapid fire, and yet it all feels so dull, sluggish. There’s not one good action scene in the whole movie!
The action is enhanced by CGI, in that Catwoman does acrobatics that no human can do, so they recreated Halle Berry as a CGI figure – who proceeds to hop and crawl walls in the most unrealistic fashion. Forget the fact that this doppelgänger doesn’t look real to start with – it moves so artificially that you know it’s neither human nor superhuman.
The CGI is even lacking in the long shots of cityscapes, which all look like poorly-rendered computer art. Maquettes and matte paintings would have done a much better job than this, so why waste so much time and money on such crap?
I don’t know who the target audience was, but I guess because the star is black they decided to infuse the picture with an urban-flavoured soundtrack. And rock guitars. Fucking hell. They couldn’t possibly be more clichéd if they’d tried.
Man, who farted? And that’s just for starters.
All told, ‘Catwoman’ is a big budget stupid piece of garbage that insults the viewer’s intelligence. It starts off uninspired and actually becomes worse and worse as it wears on. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone and would even recommend seeing either of Joel Schumacher’s ridiculously inept ‘Batman’ movies many times over before seeing this one. And they stink.
But this one gives you the urge to grab a pooper scooper and clean out the litter.
Date of viewing: May 8+9, 2016