Reviewed by: David Haviland

"The worst Hollywood film of the year."

Catwoman is a dog, the worst Hollywood film of the year so far. There is barely a single creative idea behind the project and every aspect of the execution is bad.

First off, the story. Essentially, there is none. Most superhero films, without a number in the title, spend half an hour explaining the origins of the hero, then get on with the story. Catwoman spends most of its 104 minutes on the origins, barely bothering to add a story at all.

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Catwoman begins the film as Patience Phillips, a put-upon designer at an evil cosmetics firm. One night she discovers that the company's products are toxic, so her bosses kill her. Luckily, she is revived by some cats, who give her special powers.

What special powers might a cat-woman have? Agility, balance, heightened senses? These are all mentioned in passing, but this is filmmaking by focus group, so the skills she actually uses are martial arts and bullet-dodging. How do cats know kung fu?

Of course, the film's central idea isn't really a cat-woman at all, it's Halle Berry in a catsuit and the crudeness of this premise is evident throughout. What, according to the focus group, should a Halle Berry catsuit movie look like?

Obviously it should be sexy, so Berry spends her time pouting and breathless, with bright red lipstick and half her chest on view. However this doesn't make her look sexy, it makes her look like a prostitute.

This movie should have action, so there are a number of fight scenes with Berry jumping up the walls and fly-kicking bad guys. No one seems to get hurt and nothing is ever at stake. One character gets shot in the chest, but walks it off as if it were a stitch.

Finally, this film needs to have a "feminist agenda" for modern women. What does a feminist agenda look like? In Catwoman, it's about ladies doing it for themselves, being as bad as they wanna be and other clich├ęs that don't mean anything.

The film's chief villain is a cosmetics firm, which is forcing defenceless women to try and look young and beautiful. Ex-beauty queen Halle Berry is an International Spokeperson for Revlon.

At the end of the film it's not clear what Catwoman has achieved, how she has felt at any point, or even whether she is a hero or a villain. Perhaps the idea was to leave scope for a sequel; I imagine that's immaterial now.

Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2004
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A weak-willed designer is murdered and reborn as Catwoman.
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David Stanners **1/2

Director: Pitof

Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, John Rogers, based on the comic book by Bob Kane

Starring: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, Michael Massee

Year: 2004

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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