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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/08/2004

One out of Five stars
Running time: 105 mins

Badly directed, horribly scripted, dismal mess of a film that is every bit as bad as you’ve heard. Poor, poor Halle Berry.

Fans of the original Catwoman from any of her various Batman-related incarnations (comics, cartoons, TV show or Tim Burton’s Batman Returns) should be advised that the only thing the new movie has in common with the original is the name, a woman and a vaguely cat-like suit. While a re-imagining of the character wasn’t necessarily a bad idea, director Pitof (yes, just Pitof – crazy name, crazy guy) and his five credited screenwriters – always a bad sign - should have realised that for a re-imagining you need imagination.

Cat Resurrects Whistleblower

Halle Berry (who really, really needs to fire her agent) plays Patience Phillips, a shy woman who works as an ad designer for a huge cosmetics corporation run by Lambert Wilson (the French bloke out of Matrix Reloaded) and Sharon Stone.

When Patience accidentally discovers that the “miracle” new cream has devastating side-effects, she is promptly bumped off by security guards and flushed out of a sewage pipe. Luckily, however, an Egyptian cat named Midnight breathes life into her and the next thing you know, she’s hissing at dogs, bingeing on tuna, balancing on her furniture, sleeping on shelves and dressing like a leather fetishist’s worst nightmare in order to either fight or commit crime, it’s hard to tell which.

Thrown into the mixture is a romance sub-plot with a cop named Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt). However, there’s almost zero chemistry between them and we’re even denied a sex scene, though we see that Lone has scratch marks on his back after the night in question.

Few Emerge With Dignity Intact

In contrast to the digital wizardry of Spider-Man, the visual effects in Catwoman are atrocious. In places they look like rejected scenes from the Catwoman video game tie-in; it would look more realistic if you took a Catwoman doll, tied it to a piece of string and tossed it out of a window. Also, having her move like a cat on all fours was a really dumb idea, as it just looks ridiculous.

Unfortunately, the stupid bits don’t end there - there’s a ‘sexy’ basketball game between Patience and Lone that’s both badly shot and embarrassing to watch. However, the worst parts involve Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as a character called Ophelia Powers (geddit?), teaching Patience about her new cat-skills by pushing her off a balcony and rubbing catnip in her face.

To be fair, Halle never looks less than fabulous throughout, though the costume only does her the one obvious favour. In fact, the only person to emerge with anything approaching dignity is Sharon Stone, who at least looks as if her tongue is firmly in her cheek throughout: the climactic catfight at the end in which Stone’s “superpower” is revealed is the best bit of the film.

In short, if it’s superheroes you want, go and see Spider-Man 2 again, because Catwoman is heading straight for the kitty litter tray.

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Content updated: 21/02/2020 15:05

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