Catwoman (2004)

Have I blacked out for a few years and cats have become an endangered species that cannot be used in movies? I only ask this because it seemed like all of the cats used in Catwoman appeared to be CGI -- often times they didn't even look close to realistic. Was it so difficult to use real cats in the filming? Is star Halle Berry allergic to cats? If so, why choose her when cats are often front and center? So many questions, all of them having little to do with the finished film. The reason that these stick in my mind after the film was complete is because there was very little else that was worth thinking about. There wasn't anything given to stimulate my brain, nor was there much excitement during the action scenes. It's an empty film, one that I was not glad that I watched. Sometimes bad movies are enjoyable because they're fun to watch. This isn't the case here; it's just really dull and uninteresting. The plot revolves around Patience Phillips (Berry), who finds out that the cosmetics company she works for is planning to sell a cream that deteriorates ones face if they stop using it. Talk about evil corporations! She learns this when she goes to turn in her advertising designs, and ends up being shot at and then drowned. She dies, but wakes up the next morning sleeping on a shelf. Yes, a cat has allowed her to cheat death and it gave her superpowers. Okay, as far as superhero origins, that's a little farfetched but not impossible. (This is a comic book adaptation after all.) So she dons a leather suit and claims that she wants revenge. But first, she goes to steal a necklace and ends up stopping thieves who were already going to steal things. The necklace, something that was given an entire scene so that we learn it's one of a kind, is never mentioned again after this point in the film. I guess that entire segment was just for us to learn what this new catwoman can do. "Catwoman" was not capitalized there because there have supposedly been many catwomen over the years. See, when Patience gets these powers, she returns the cat that gave them to her to a lady who owns a bunch of cats (Frances Conroy). She is told that her cat has given these powers to many people throughout history, and that Patience is not the first catwoman. Oh, and it's a "blessing and a curse" for some reason. She's right about that. Besides getting heightened senses and inhuman flexibility and reflexes, Patience also gets split personalities. Or something like that. It only happens a couple of times, when the plot calls for it. Otherwise, she's just like her normal self, with these powers. What a curse, indeed! In essence, Catwoman plays out like your standard revenge flick, except the lead is a scantily dressed Halle Berry who has superpowers. In practice, we get what can only loosely be called a "plot", and a couple of poorly crafted action scenes scattered in-between terribly written dialogue sequences. Oh, and Catwoman has a love interest that's a cop who may or may be able to figure out that the cat-figure who has killed and stolen is actually her. But when it's just him and her as Patience, there is no chemistry between the two, which is made painfully clear when they play basketball together, and she destroys him. (She has amazing superpowers for a reason, you know.) Let's forget for a moment that Catwoman is a character that is both supposed to be an anti-hero and one that is part of the Batman universe. Instead, let's treat this as a new character who has its own universe. But the character is still inconsistent to put it lightly, and the powers that the cat gave her aren't always even related to a cat. For instance, I don't think that cats steal motorcycles and go get their hair cut so that they'll look better in a mask. I also doubt that they completely change personalities whenever night comes around, and then forget what happened. Or maybe that doesn't happen to Patience, although she seems bewildered when she realizes she robbed a store. While Catwoman is an inconsistently written character, the dialogue that she, and other characters, have to speak is just laughable. The delivery doesn't help, and it makes me wonder why Halle Berry decided to sign on to this project. Maybe she thought the female empowerment message was a good one. It seemed like she realized half-way through that the film wasn't going to work, and decided to be as terrible as possible in a campy way. It still doesn't make this film enjoyable to watch though. But almost all of these things could be dealt with and tolerated if the action scenes were entertaining. But they aren't. In fact, they're almost worse than listening to characters converse with lines that are both over-dramatic and unlike how any human being would actually speak. Basically, all of the action scenes fit into two categories. They're either CGI-infested, with terrible CGI, or hand-to-hand combat scenes that still use CGI because Catwoman need to always be climbing something or else we might forget what her character name is. At least, that's my guess for having Halle Berry climb on furniture or run up walls when a simple punch to the face would work. I hope I've made it clear that this isn't a good movie. If I haven't, here's the best way I can get the message across: Catwoman is trash, and you'd be better off watching almost any other superhero movie ever made. Oh, and for those of you thinking that watching Halle Berry in a skin-tight outfit for an entire film will still be worth it, I've got some bad news for you. During a lot of the action scenes, her stunt double, (and obviously she'd use a stunt double), was a man by the name of Nito Larioza. Enjoy the film now, folks. Catwoman is an abomination of a superhero film that made me appreciate certain lesser ones a lot more. Thinking back on how well-made both Daredevil and Elektra were (by comparison) was more fun than watching this. The characters are inconsistent, the writing is terrible, the action scenes are muddled, boring and filled with poor CGI, and the cat powers Berry gets don't even really make sense. Please, please, stay away from this film.

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