Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Additional scenes, Behind the scenes
documentary, 'The Many Faces Of Catwoman' featurette, Theatrical
WITHOUT wanting to sound catty, it’s easy to see why the
claws are out for Catwoman, the latest super-hero to hit the Big
The film, which has comically been dubbed ‘the Showgirls
of super-heroes’ by one US critic, is a cringe-inducing
exercise in movie-making that appears to go out of its way to
humiliate the talents of a former Oscar-winning actress, not to
mention most of the other talented performers involved.
Halle Berry is the feline crime-fighter in question, a formerly
timid advert designer, named Patience Philips, who stumbles upon
a cosmetic giant’s attempts to cover-up the side-effects
of its latest super-product (anti-ageing cream) and is promptly
After being revived by a mysterious cat, however, Patience is
reborn with a few extra gifts - strength, agility and ultra-keen
senses, not to mention the ability to look good in a cat-suit
that has conveniently been ripped in all the right places.
Catwoman is no Miss Goody Two-shoes, however, given that her
seductive instincts constantly need to be satisfied, and she is
constantly tip-toeing the line between good and bad.
But she has a score to settle and high on her list of priorities
are the tyrannical owners of the cosmetics company, Hedare Beauty,
in the form of husband-and-wife duo, George and Laurel Hedare
(played by Lambert Wilson and Sharon Stone, respectively) - the
couple responsible for her demise.
The fantasy thriller that results is a total cat-astrophe; a
flat fur-ball of a movie that probably only deserves to be seen
for being as bad as it is.
As directed by Pitof, who cut his
teeth by providing the visual effects for movies such as City
of Lost Children and Alien: Resurrection,
Catwoman meanders its way towards an inevitable conclusion and
seems to have been conceived more with a computer game in mind,
than audience satisfaction.
Fetish-fans may dash to see Berry in tight-leather pants and
brandishing a whip, but once the novelty has passed, followers
of the actress will probably watch in dismay as she sets about
humiliating herself with a series of increasingly absurd cat movements,
while discovering a fondness for tuna and catnip.
Her chemistry with Benjamin Bratt’s over-earnest detective
is virtually non-existent, while her physical prowess is hindered
by Pitof’s over-reliance on CGI effects to create the action
sequences. When compared to previous Catwomen (most notably Michelle
Pfeiffer and Eartha Kitt), she fails dismally.
If the Spider-Man films represent
a master-class in how to produce a good super-hero movie (great
effects married with strong characterisation), then Catwoman is
the A to Z of how not to do it.
Even the supposed messages behind the movie, about society’s
obsession with beauty and the rise of power-hungry corporations,
seem contrived given the uneven tone of proceedings - audiences
simply cannot take anything seriously, even though the film hasn’t
been designed as a tongue-in-cheek parody.
Pitof attempts to include many metaphors (the cat-suit is designed
to represent female empowerment), but most fall by the wayside,
especially since most of the feminist issues presented by the
screenplay feel somewhat muted by the fact they have been delivered
by an all-male writing team (John Brancato, Michael Ferris and
But I suppose that, at least, explains why this feels more like
an overlong lingerie advert than any serious attempt at a super-hero
This, at the end of the day, belongs with the kitty litter and
looks set to test the Patience of even the most ardent Berry fan.