This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
The pitch for Catwoman at least is easy to imagine. Comic book properties are hot right now. Halle Berry is also hot right now, especially when clad in skimpy, tightly stretched leather outfits. Combine the two and you get this film, although the more observant amongst you will notice that at no point yet have we mentioned a story. That’s because I sincerely doubt it was considered at all until five minutes before the oddly named director Pitof called for action, a statement that would prove oddly ironic.
Patience (Berry) is a meek, mild mannered graphic designer for a cosmetics firm chaired by the obnoxious hothead George Hedare (Lambert Wilson, Merovingian of Matrix Reloaded / Revolution fame). Delivering a design to meet a midnight deadline, she overhears some disturbing details concerning the safety of Hedare Inc’s latest wonder cream, Beauline. To ensure their secret remains safe their goons have Patience flushed down a sluice drain like so much effluent, but as so often happens her washed up corpse is resurrected by a ropy CG mystical cat granting her superhuman speed, reflexes and affinity for bondage gear.
The newly christened Catwoman has to come to terms with her new powers, her changing personality and desire for vengeance against her killers against the inevitable backdrop of a budding romance with Detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt). The audience has to come to terms with having been swindled out of a fiver for entry to this sparsely plotted, sub-Playstation level CG, vapid, thrill free nightmare.
At least Catwoman doesn’t bite off more than she can comfortably chew. Let’s do some comparisons, shall we? X-Men‘s first outing – foil Magneto’s plot to at best mutate, most likely kill every significant world leader. Spiderman – stops the Green Goblins reign of terror. Hellboy – stops evil clockwork Nazis and Rasputin from opening a portal that would allow some Gods of Chaos to destroy the world. Somewhere at the other end of the superhero scale we have Catwoman – stops the launch of a beauty cream. Fair enough, an Evil beauty cream, but it still doesn’t have quite the same Herculean scale as we’ve grown accustomed to.
What we’ve got here is little more than a skimpy excuse to see Mz Berry in fetching outfits cracking a whip, but even that turns into a colossal gyp as it seems like her digital stunt double spends far longer behind the mask than the flesh and blood version. Given the wall climbing antics the feline one gets into at any available opportunity I suppose we can forgive the quantity of the CG stuntwork, but the quality is an entirely disparate kettle of halibut. Managing to capture neither the essence of graceful feline motion nor even typical human patterns, as a result Catwoman doesn’t look convincing in any form of action at all. As with I, Robot , the crassly obvious nature of the effects work hinders absorption into the story because it’s clearly not the real deal darting around on screen, just a soulless digital simulacrum that’s hardly worth the effort of sympathising with.
Berry proves equally irritating in her clumsy ditsy Patience persona and a painfully unslinky Catwoman. Seriously, hearing her forced purring as she talks about the ‘purrrfect crime’ is just about diametrically opposite from sexy. Still, as her ropy CG counterpart is as heavily featured as she is she can only shoulder a portion of the blame, although were I Berry (and one day, God willing…) I’d be finding a suitably tall building to throw my agent from.