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Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.
All Critics (195)
| Top Critics (47)
| Fresh (17)
| Rotten (178)
| DVD (13)
The screenplay's a hodgepodge of witchcraft, ancient Egyptian lore, pulp feminism, and a dash of S&M.
Catwoman's director, a visual-effects specialist named Pitof, is not contained by the rules of filmmaking. Scenes that make sense? Nonsense. Characters with inner lives? Utterly passe.
Another hundred million dollars down the drain.
Relentlessly gaudy and in love with its PG-13 approximation of kink, Catwoman is essentially an excuse to pose Berry in ever-skimpier outfits. It's all too pre-fab to register as sexy, though, and even the fight scenes look like fashion shoots.
A soulless amalgamation of quick edits, computer images and swooping, nausea-inducing dolly shots.
You're left with flashes of mis-spent promise: the feline mysticism; the cosmetics-industry intrigue; the idea of electrocuting Lambert Wilson's unctious corporate cad.
If you want to see a real Catwoman, check out Michelle Pfeiffer's turn in Batman Returns, but whatever you do, leave this kitty cat in the alley where it belongs.
Its over-edited style smacks of panic, the CGI cat woman is plainly not real, and the broadside it fires at the beauty industry is only limp at best.
Bereft of excitement and with action scenes similar to those we've seen a dozen times before, this is a very poor effort indeed.
Catwoman is worse than bad -- it's boring. So boring it's not even laughable.
Halle Berry is a lovely woman with charisma to burn and definite acting ability -- but even the best actors sometimes need to be told when they're making fools of themselves.
This awful mess is one of the funniest things I ever watched!
Halle Berry has not exactly followed up her 2001 Best Actress Oscar with wise choices. There was a starring role in a James Bond movie, Die Another Day, but she sucked so heartily that you wished she could have been dipped in gold. Then there was Gothika, a spooker that didn't scare anyone, except studio executives who saw the final gross. Now there's Catwoman, a big-budget superhero film that's got such a ripe odor to it to smell from miles away. It's not good when a studio pulls a trailer because fans laugh at it, and it's certainly not a good sign when the studio hires reshoots a month before the film is released. Catwoman's looking for a big chunk of the superhero money out there, but will it land on all fours?
Patience Phillips (Berry) is a frazzled, down-on-her luck graphic designer at Hedare, a giant cosmetics corporation led by husband and wife team George and Laurel Hedare (Lambert Wilson and Sharon Stone). Patience is described as being "fun-deficient," and lets people walk all over her. She tries saving a cat from a ledge one morning, and Officer Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) jumps out of his car to intervene, thinking she's a jumper. He rescues her, though she doesn't need it, and then asks to go out some time for coffee, the universal first date without it having to be a date.
Patience is returning her designs late one night and overhears that Hedare's newest product has the unfortunate side effect of making people's faces melt if they discontinue use. The Hedare goons chase her down a water drain and flush her into a river. She's revived somehow by the same cat she tried saving from the ledge. Patience reawakens with superhuman powers, heightened sense, and expert agility. There are some kinks, though. She sleeps in odd places, gobbles tuna by the handful, and loves to swing a whip. Who knows what she does to go to the bathroom. The new Patience is a bit confusing to Tom, but he goes along for the ride. He's also on the hunt for the Catwoman, a mysterious leather-clad woman responsible for some jewelry theft.
Patience unravels Hedare's cosmetics conspiracy and aims to stop George and Laurel from mass production, all the while staying one step ahead of her boyfriend's investigation. But Laurel is also experiencing some growing pains of her own. Unsatisfied with being pushed out her company's advertising spotlight for being "too old," she begins using heavy amounts of their newest beauty product and makes her skin as tough as living marble. With this new power, she schemes to retake power from her husband, as well as eliminate a pesky Catwoman
Let's not mince words and get directly to the elephant in the room: Berry's hideous, trashy costume. This is, by far, the worst costume ever in a superhero movie, and possibly the worst costume in cinematic history. It's so overwhelmingly ridiculous that perhaps the filmmakers felt Catwoman's ultimate weapon against evil was having it die from laughter. It's a bizarre combination of a mask with large mouse ears, leather bra, criss-crossing belts, gloves with diamond-tipped nails, and leather pants that look like they were mauled by a bear. Oh, and then there's also the open-toed shoes. What? A superhero who wears open-toed shoes? All evil doers would have to do is step on her feet. The only purpose the outfit serves is to make Berry look sexy, but you didn't need a stupid, tacky outfit for that.
The story of Catwoman takes a giant leap into weird mythology. Apparently, possibly immortal cats decide someone will become a Catwoman, a woman we're told is not bound by our foolish rules. There's no explanation why the cats choose who they do, what the purpose of this is, or what is even expected in return. We do get a montage of Catwomen through the ages dating back to ancient Egypt. Apparently, Catwomen follow the same lines of mythology like Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Unto each generation, a Catwoman is born." It's also kind of funny that a film called Catwoman, about mythic Catwomen, has a crazy old cat lady (poor Ruth Fisher).
The villainous scheme in Catwoman is awful. I can't imagine the FDA not having some grumblings when their test bunnies start having their faces melt off. More importantly, what company would [b]EVER[/b] release a product that melts your face in our litigious society? Just think of the mounting class action lawsuits that could very likely bankrupt that company. So, right there the villain's plot is moronic for two big reasons. Don't even get me started on Stone's superhuman strength aided by the beauty cream we learn melts faces.
The acting is what you would expect. Berry is a beautiful woman, no doubt, but her performance is split between flighty wallflower and naughty dominatrix, neither of which is convincing. Bratt is the worst police officer ever (he can't identify Catwoman even though only a tiny part of her face is obscured) and tries valiantly to hold his own amongst the ridiculousness. Wilson was such a stock corporate villain that they could have erected a cardboard cut-out of him and gotten the same performance. I never thought I'd say this, especially after The Muse, but Sharon Stone is the best thing about this movie. She's an ice queen, but an entertaining one until she goes overboard on her beauty cream.
Catwoman is the first superhero film for Warner Brothers since their disastrous franchise-killing Batman and Robin in 1997. It's hardly a coincidence that Catwoman is the also the worst superhero film since Batman and Robin. The film is trying really hard to be Spider-Man. Before her feline transformation, Berry is a frumpy dweeb, and afterwards she gets heightened senses, a new jolt of self-confidence, and the love of her man. Catwoman even has the guts to rip-off Daredevil, an amusing but flawed movie itself trying to be Spider-Man. There's a scene where Patience and Tom play a competitive game of basketball surrounded by chanting children. This is a direct rip-off of the scene in Daredevil where Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner play fight on a playground. I don't know about you, but when you're ripping off Daredevil of all movies, you have problems.
This film has five credited writers, which works with my Rule of Five for films: if there are five or more people responsible for the script, then there was no script. Who among the five wants to take credit for all the dreadful cat puns in the dialogue, like Catwoman saying, "What a purrr-fect idea." There's also this wonderful repartee where Laurel says, "For you, Patience, it's game over." Then Catwoman responds, "It's overtime!" It also hurts the story when Patience has to have a horny friend (MAD TV's Alex Borsetin) make wisecracks while wearing business attire that consists of whatever her boobs have the possibility of falling out of. There may be a feminist message about our culture's emphasis on beauty and its fear of aging, but whatever feminist message about accepting beauty there may be is tempered by having our heroine in S&M day wear.
Catwoman is director Pitof's (perhaps short for Pitof-[i]ful[/i]?) first real break as a director. He began his career as a visual effects artist on films like Alien: Resurrection, City of Lost Children, and The Messenger, but can anyone recount a visual effects artist that went on to become a decent director? (If you bothered to answer with Joe Johnston, then I don't think you understood the question).
]Movie Director Pitof has a love for cheesy CGI shots, but what's more harmful is his penchant for confusing quick-cut edits. After watching Catwoman, I had to pop some Advil when I got home because the film's editing had actually caused me a headache. It became so annoying that I started counting "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, etc." to gauge the average length of a shot. Let's just say that we didn't make it past "one Mississippi" about 95% of the time. Now, there's nothing inherently wrong with quick-edits; The Bourne Supremacy used them effectively to keep a lively, unpredictable experience. Catwoman's editing is just jarring, especially during action sequences where you'd be hard-pressed to figure out what's exactly going on.
The effects work is also rather pathetic. Pitof adores zooming exterior shots that become tiresome after the eighth or ninth time. Worse are all the scenes where Catwoman jumps and leaps through the city like she's Spider-Man's long-lost sister. The film is bending over backwards to try and ape Spider-Man, and these joyless, silly sequences of CGI Halle Berry crawling and jumping around the city don't help the comparison. I do suppose that making a CGI Halle Berry flex and bend in her leather outfit was probably the most rewarding work for an animator since digitally making a breast grope itself in Hollow Man.
Who exactly is this movie intended for? If the filmmakers were going for fans of the Catwoman character, then why did they break away from the comic's history and create something distant and different? If the filmmakers were strictly making an action movie, then why all the visual fluff, idiotic romance, and headache-inducing editing? I suspect that the producers felt that the names Catwoman and Halle Berry would be enough to put butts in the seats. So, then, I deduce that the selling point of Catwoman is, "Wanna see Halle Berry in a sexy leather outfit?" Now, most males will say, "Sure thing," but why would they pay seven to ten dollars to see sexy non-nudity when they could rent Swordfish and Monster's Ball and witness the full extent of Halle's berries? Makes no sense to me. The short answer to who this film is intended for is, of course, no one.
Catwoman is derivative, incomprehensible, dumb, and just plain boring. The only people who will get a kick out of Catwoman are either hormonal teenagers aroused by Berry's outfit, or those who enjoy jeering a terrible movie. I can't even recommend seeing Catwoman because of its ineptness. It's bad, oh boy is it bad, but it's not insanely idiotic like Bulletproof Monk or Dungeons and Dragons to the point where the lunacy is a must-see. It's just boring bad, enough that it almost put me to sleep.
]Perhaps the funniest thing of all, Berry has publicly stated in interviews weeks after Catwoman's release that she'd love to don her leather outfit and do a sequel. Maybe she needs to talk to the producers who lost a bazillion dollars and inadvertently created a midnight movie howler. Then again, Berry isn't exactly making the best film choices post-Oscar. Catwoman will certainly get delegated to the litter box, but how many lives does Berry have left in Hollywood? Looking at her current slate of roles, including a remake of Foxy Brown, my guess is . . . not much.
Nate's Grade: D
A spin off about Catwoman that would follow on from the heavily gothic Burton Batman sequel, or so we all thought. Everything seemed good to go, Pfeiffer was set to return and Burton was gonna direct, but like always in Hollywood things changed and a whole new group of people were brought in.
The plot? the plot is actually about makeup! indestructible makeup, yep that's right. In this film the villain is creating a makeup that inadvertently makes your skin as solid as rock, hence you are unable to feel pain or suffer injury. Drawback being if you stop using it it will scar your face up badly. So its up to errr...someone called Patience Phillips to save the day.
Oh the problems, so many! First up if you're expecting to see Gotham City forget it, this isn't Gotham. I'm not sure where it is actually but I don't believe its Gotham, its never mentioned as far as I'm aware. As we already know the character isn't Selina Kyle either, why? I dunno, so they take the opportunity to make Catwoman black with Halle Berry. Now I don't want delve too far into this issue but for me Catwoman is white, simple as that, yes I know Eartha Kitt has played her but still, essentially the character is white so why change that lore so dramatically?
Moving on, the outfit, oh Jesus! what were they thinking. There really is nothing to say here other than its dreadful, purely dreadful, she doesn't look like Catwoman...a master thief/anti hero, she looks more like Catwoman...the sleazy hooker. The look merely consists of ripped (around the her ass strategically) black leather pants and a black leather bra...oh and the most stupid looking mask I've seen for some time, looks like its gonna fall off at any moment. It doesn't help that she has some hideous makeup work on her too, really nasty looking.
The film is chock full of terrible CGI, really bad looking stuff as Catwoman scurries up and down walls and acrobatically flips all over the show as if she were an insect, Spider-Woman. This leads me back to the plot idea here. The character is killed and changed into a 'cat woman' by some mystical feline that just happened to be there at the time. Why? not sure, the cat is owned by some good witch-like character, a spiritualist kinda person, apparently the cat chose Berry's character, the cat is a messenger of some Goddess or something. Still doesn't answer anything really.
From here on our heroine develops cat-like super powers that enable her to crawl up and down walls, leap from massive heights, be well versed in martial arts and have cat-like hearing and sight....just like regular cats really. So we now know this film isn't about the DC comic book character, its actually about a completely different character that has nothing to do with the Batman universe, she's simply a cat woman, not Catwoman, but a cat woman. A woman who died, got resurrected by a mythical cat and was given cat-like super powers. Just happens to call herself Catwoman.
I still don't really get why you would get all those abilities from being resurrected by a cat? do cats know martial arts? OK I'm being silly but seriously, why would you become a martial arts master?! becoming more agile and athletic sure but martial arts?? And do cats regularly climb up and down walls, across the ceiling and jump out of lofty buildings?? wut!??
Of course there are so many problems with this disaster I can't even recall them all. Berry is kinda OK for the role but she is made to look and act like some kind of slutty diva/hooker. I mean really, the way she walks and carries on, its not sexy it embarrassing! I've never seen someone try so hard to be slinky and sexy...ever! Its really awkward to watch as she purrs and meows trying to raise the average male viewers temperature, its so cheesy, did she actually try to be Eartha Kitt?
Mind you Sharon Stone looks awful too, how much makeup?? geez! her haircut looks terrible and the fight sequence between her and Berry is laughable. She's an everyday executive for a makeup company yet when it comes to the crunch she can fight against a martial arts supremo? wow she kept some secrets then.
An utter shambles frankly, nothing to do with what you expect...in any aspect, virtually an independent film and character. Its a shame because I'm sure this could of been pretty neat with the right people involved, its just hard to believe what we see up on the screen got approved! I think the only thing I can be positive about is the final shot in the film where she walks off across the rooftops against a full moon. That is the only nice true comic book visual of the entire film, the end.
Catwoman doesn't deserve all the interrogation and outmost hate that it gets. Yes it's a film that you can look down your nose and laugh at, and there are reasonable flaws that can be use as reasons to dislike it. I dont know why I enjoyed this movie myself. I just did. As a critic, its my duty to say "i'm always right". This is the ONLY movie where I might have to criticise my own opinion. I dont know what made me enjoy it, or how it achieved it, but it entertained me.
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