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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Catwoman (2004)

Directed by Pitof
Starring Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt
Written by John Brancato, Michael Ferris and John Rogers
Produced by Denise Di Novi, Edward McDonnell
Music by Klaus Badelt

Sometimes a movie comes along on a wave of such negativity that it's impossible to determine whether it's simply hyperbole or in fact actually warranted. Universally panned by critics, ignored by moviegoers, Catwoman has built such a reputation of shit that you can't watch it without some sort of preconceived opinion. This is what I felt when I started to watch it. I had heard all the horror stories. This is the film that swept the Razzies, the film for which Halle Berry herself turned up to accept her Razzie award as Worst Actress. I had read positively scathing reviews that were so vitriolic you'd think the film had been responsible for the Holocaust. So I went into this with incredibly low expectations. If the movie had turned out to be bad but unintentionally hilarious (much like The Wicker Man remake) then I would have come away with the feeling that this was simply a poor film that got unfairly lambasted. But my low - nay, virtually non-existent - expectations weren't met in the slightest. This is one film that truly does live up to its awful reputation.

Halle Berry is a graphic designer called Patience Phillips (!) who works at this twatty company called Beau-Line (!!) and gets killed, then is revived by a magical cat (!!@&#!). This prompts her to get into the crime-fighting business...wearing the worst superhero costume ever conceived by man. She fights Sharon Stone, who has ended up being the CEO of Beau-Line. Like it matters. Catwoman is so bad it's like being punched in the face by a boxer with shards of glass embedded in his knuckles, then dipping your head in chili sauce. The film does NOTHING right. Let's look at the most obvious problems...

Even a surreptitious handjob from Halle Berry couldn't
keep Benjamin Bratt's attention on the scene.

1. It's directed by some French guy whose name is Pitof. Now, going by anything McG has directed in the past, you should be wary of any directors with singular names. They are a definite warning sign of crapness. This guy thinks that overedited action scenes that make Michael Bay's style look aenimic is a good thing. Cuts in fight scenes happen practically every second in a failed bid to make it look fast and exciting (and hide the fact that none of the actors can do their own stunts or fight scenes). It is almost unbearable. Pitof also likes long swooping shots over and around the city. Unfortunately they look like cheap CGI that fucked other cheap CGI and had a retarded CGI child. I assume the producers hired Pitof because of some TV commercials he directed, I bet that's his background. You can just tell. Anyway, he's crap and hopefully his career is dead in the water.

2. The CGI. Truly this was some diabolically bad shit. I've seen better computer effects in the intro movies from a ten-year old PC computer game. They've gone the route of Spider-Man in having a CGI character nip around the place, but it looks horrid. Not for one moment was I convinced this was Halle Berry running up walls and along buildings. In the scene where Berry is revived by a gaggle (or whatever the collective description is) of cats, they use a CGI cat to walk along, over her prone body and breathe life into her. Now, surely they could have filmed a real cat doing this (okay, maybe not where it breathes life into her, but why the hell couldn't they get a real cat for the scenes where it's WALKING along?) I mean, it's not like cats are on the endangered species list, for God's sake.

3. The acting. Halle may have the looks, but the way she plays this role (and as Catwoman in particular) suggests she was either high on drugs through the shoot or not high enough. Michelle Pfeiffer's turn as Catwoman in Batman Returns worked; she played the role with the right mix of camp and sexiness. But any time Berry purrs or makes some other cat-like noise, you just want to bludgeon yourself to death with a jar of your own sick. And the supporting cast suck too. Not that they could have saved this.

4. Catwoman. Face it, the character's a bit lame. But she can work when the ingredients are right, and when she's not the star of her own film. I reckon the character only works in limited amounts. Somehow the filmmakers managed to make the ridiculously good-looking Halle Berry look crap in this. Her outfit is like some lame S&M outfit that not even the most nihilistic moron would dare wear out in the open.

5. The script. There's a conspiracy involving cosmetic makeup which causes long-term damage to consumers. There's a plot twist involving Sharon Stone's character which is so ridiculous you'll wish you had killed yourself beforehand. You have a guy who's supposed to be a cop who has all this evidence thrust in his face suggesting Berry's character is Catwoman: mysterious disappearances, handwriting evidence, stolen jewelry made into cat claws found IN HER APARTMENT, and he's still not sure. I swear, if all cops were as clueless as this guy you could go out and murder anyone you liked with no fear of being caught unless you carved your name and address into the victim’s forehead.

6. Everything else. The only positive thing I can say about this film was that it was mercifully short (even then it felt overlong).

Halle realises this is the point where her career jumped the shark.

Is this the worst film ever made? No. But it's certainly the poorest piece of scum-sucking filth I've seen in a long time. The only way you can possibly cope with this film's awfulness is to get drunk with a bunch of mates and rip into it. Otherwise you're setting yourself up for some serious pain. It's not one of those "so-bad-it's-good" movies. It's one of those "dear God, life's too short for me to be watching this, what the hell is wrong with me, do I hate myself THIS much?" films.

Best bit
the trailers included with the DVD, or the moment you throw the disc across the room in a blaze of profanity

Iconic moment
are you KIDDING?

Worst bit
the whole film except for the end credits

Best line
sigh, if I must...I suppose there's that bit where Halle's crapping on about her death at the start..."If there had been an obituary, it would have described the unremarkable life of an unremarkable woman, survived by no one."

Best performance

certainly not the producers or the director for making this heap of shit - let's say YOU, the viewer, for putting up with this

What would have made this better
lots and lots, actually: a change of director, hire someone who can actually film an action scene; completely revamp the script to either make it MORE tongue-in-cheek and camp, or go the other way and make it grim and violent; redesign Catwoman's outfit; never, NEVER let Halle Berry purr; don't use cheap CGI, go with more practical effects; match Catwoman up with another superhero; snatch up every copy of this film and bury it in the earth so future generations won't have to suffer

What would have made this worse
um...if the producers stabbed you repeatedly in the chest and laughed while they forced you to watch their film over and over?

Companion film
the unbelievably superior Batman Returns

If you liked this...
you need drugs, lots of drugs, and you shouldn't be allowed to vote or drive a car

+ it's short

- poor acting
- even poorer direction
- an incredibly poor script
- confusing, badly directed action scenes
- howlingly lame lines and delivery
- no sense of pace, tension or thrills
- the Catwoman outfit is horrible
- unbelievably lame CGI
- not even camp or knowing enough to make fun of itself

Rating on the Ben Stiller/Mr Furious level of shithouse superheroes:

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