Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Catwoman

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
4 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Halle Berry as Patience Phillips/Catwoman
Benjamin Bratt as Tom Lone
Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare
Lambert Wilson as George Hedare
Frances Conroy as Ophelia
Alex Borstein as Sally
Michael Massee as Armando
Byron Mann as Wesley
Kim Smith as Drina
Christopher Heyerdahl as Rocker
Peter Wingfield as Dr. Ivan Slavicky
Berend McKenzie as Lance

Special Features:
Exciting Alternate Ending and Additional Scenes

2 Documentaries: The Many Faces Of Catwoman profiles the evolution of this legendary character, then go on the prowl as cast and creators Lure you Behind the Scenes

DVD-Rom Weblink to Catwoman's World

Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 104 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"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 force to reckon with. She's action. With attitude."

Catwoman is rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

The Movie:
I missed Catwoman when it first hit theaters. But despite the horrible reviews for the film, I was hoping that it wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting. After all, Elektra was savaged by the critics and I still thought it was a decent flick. So it was with cautious optimism that I viewed Catwoman. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It was pretty bad.

The biggest problem with Catwoman is that it is campy. When Patience gains her powers, she starts literally acting like a cat. She hisses at dogs, scarfs down sushi, drinks cream, flips out over catnip, chases balls, and generally acts foolish. About the only thing she doesn't do is poop in a litter box. This bizarre behavior instantly negates any coolness or menace that they generate with the character. There are other eye-rolling moments in the film. For example, Tom Lone discovers Catwoman's identity by matching lip prints (with 99% certainty, I might add). I guess I missed that on CSI. Then in another scene a Ferris wheel jams and immediately starts shaking apart, thus imperiling our heroes. In the real world it would have just locked up and stranded you in the air. That's what usually happens to me. It goes on from there, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately for this movie, Batman Returns did a much better version of Catwoman than this ever could have. Her origin was scarier, the acting was better, and the chemistry between Selena Kyle and Bruce Wayne was better. Even with Michelle Pfeiffer stuffing a real bird in her mouth, it was a better portrayal of the character. Having Catwoman feature almost the exact same origin story doesn't help, either. They should have tried something a little new if they were going to overhaul everything else. It doesn't help matters that Catwoman spends the entire movie hunting her killer which was revealed to the audience at the very beginning. It takes away any suspense that it might have generated.

Even though this film didn't pan out, Halle Berry had what it takes to make a good Catwoman. She is able to switch from mousy to marvelous with ease. You believe that she can both have a dark side or a good side and dance the line between them. She also filled out what little of the costume there was nicely. (It's not the costume I would have chosen, but that's another matter.) In the end I wouldn't pin the failure of this movie on her. She also has pretty good chemistry with Benjamin Bratt as Tom Lone. Bratt has already established repeatedly that he can portray a charming cop and he does so here again. I wish I could say that Sharon Stone was great as Laurel Hedare, but I couldn't get past the fact that she was an evil aging supermodel. She hardly seems a worthy nemesis for Catwoman.

Catwoman is also a good looking movie. There are sweeping views of the city and a lot of the film is shot and cut like a music video. This makes clips of the movie look better than the final complete product. The movie also relies heavily on pop music that wasn't particularly to my tastes, but it fit the mood of the film. As for the special effects, they are a bit of a mixed bag. You frequently see Catwoman jumping around with superhuman strength and agility. She is obviously CG in those moments. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish her from the real Halle Berry. Other times she looks exceedingly fake. Overall it's mediocre.

The Extras:
For a genre film, this DVD is rather light on the extras. But considering how Catwoman received a cool reception, it's not surprising. Here are the highlights of what you will find:

Additional Scenes Several additional scenes are included here. One shows Patience shortly after gaining her powers getting lost in a junkyard. She's pursued by a pack of dogs and displays the first signs of her powers. Another scene shows her having a little female bonding with Sharon Stone's character. It makes her a little more human which makes what she does to Patience all the more coldhearted. Then there's a scene later with Stone and Catwoman where our heroine has her pinned to the ground. It's intended to be sensual but it's just silly. Finally there's an alternate ending showing Patience painting a mural on a wall, then meeting Benjamin Bratt and snuggling. It's cheesy and a weak alternate ending to the film.

The Many Faces Of Catwoman This is by far the highlight of the whole DVD. It is 30 minutes long and is hosted by Eartha Kitt. They describe the comic origins of Catwoman, her various incarnations, her TV characters, and her Batman Returns variation. It's a great documentary featuring interviews with all the actresses that have played Catwoman. It also has a few comic greats like Alex Ross and Jeph Loeb. Comic fans will get a big kick out of this but it unfortunately reminds you how great the other Catwomen were.

Behind the Scenes This is your standard "making of" documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and more. They focus on the story itself, the costume, the trained cats, and the fighting.

The Bottom Line:
I would really only recommend Catwoman to Halle Berry fans and comic fans that are curious about it. (Although curiosity did kill the cat.) As bad as it is, sometimes you just have to see it for yourself to believe it.

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