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Catwoman

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Catwoman
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"A piece of shit godawful movie"
Halle Berry at the Razzies
Genre: Superhero
Action
Directed By: Pitof
Written By: John Brancato
Michael Ferris
John Rogers
Starring: Halle Berry
Benjamin Bratt
Lambert Wilson
Frances Conroy
Alex Borstein
Sharon Stone
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: July 23, 2004
Runtime: 104 minutes
Country: United States


Catwoman is a 2004 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, who is traditionally an anti-heroine and love interest of the vigilante hero Batman. The plot features a new character, Patience Phillips, taking on the Catwoman name, and viewing the traditional Catwoman as a historical figure.

The idea of a Catwoman spin-off came around the time of Summer 1993 when 1992's Batman Returns was released in theaters, as Michelle Pfeiffer's portrayal of the character proved popular with the audiences. However, Michelle was also busy being a mother at the same time plus being busy with other projects, so she couldn't reprise her role.

The movie remained in development hell for another 9 years until news came out that Halle Berry would be playing the titular character and the movie was finally made. When it did finally come out in 2004, however, it was overwhelmingly panned by critics and audiences alike for having almost nothing to do with the character it's based on (to the point in a case similar to Godzilla 1998 where the movie was referred as CINO (Catwoman In-Name Only) and cashing into a trend way too late.

Plot

Artist and graphics designer Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) is a meek people-pleaser whose main support is her best friend Sally (Alex Borstein). She works for a cosmetics company called Hedare Beauty, which is ready to ship a new skin cream, called Beau-line, that is able to reverse the effects of ageing. However, when Patience visits the factory where it is being manufactured, she overhears a discussion between the scientist, Dr. Ivan Slavicky (Peter Wingfield), and Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone), the wife of company-owner George Hedare (Lambert Wilson), about the dangerous side effects from continued use of the product. Laurel's guards discover Patience and are ordered to dispose of her. Patience tries to escape using a conduit pipe, but the minions have it sealed and flush her out of it, drowning her. Washed up on shore after drowning, Patience is mysteriously brought back to life by an Egyptian Mau cat, which had appeared at her apartment earlier; from that moment on, she develops cat-like abilities.

From Mau's owner, eccentric researcher Ophelia Powers (Frances Conroy), Patience learns that Egyptian Mau cats serve as messengers of the goddess Bast. Patience realizes that she is now a "Catwoman", reborn with abilities that are both a blessing and a curse. Disguised as Catwoman to hide her identity, Patience, under cover of darkness, searches for answers as to who killed her and why. Eventually, her search (which includes finding Slavicky's body, and later being arrested for his murder) leads her to Laurel. She asks Laurel to keep an eye on George, to which Laurel agrees. However, when Patience confronts George (who is at an opera with another woman), he reveals he knows nothing about the side effects. The police arrive and Catwoman escapes. Later on, Laurel murders her husband and admits to killing Dr. Slavicky because he wanted to cancel the product's release. She contacts Catwoman and frames her for the murder. Catwoman is taken into custody by the police, but not before Laurel reveals the side-effects of the product: Discontinuing its use makes the skin disintegrate while continuing its use makes the skin as hard as marble. She also plans to release the Beau-line the following day.

Patience slips out of her jail cell, and confronts Laurel in her office, revealing that Laurel is the one responsible for her death. During the fight, she scratches Laurel's face, and Laurel nearly plummets to her death when she falls out of a window, grabbing onto a pipe for her life. Laurel sees her face in a reflection and, horrified by her skin's rapid disintegration, commits suicide by letting go of the pipe. Though Patience is cleared of any charges made against her regarding the deaths of Dr. Slavicky and the Hedares, she chooses to continue living outside the law, enjoying her newfound freedom as the mysterious Catwoman.

Why It Should Be Thrown Into The Litterbox

  1. Abysmal grasp of the original source material:
    • The biggest issue with this film is that it has almost no connection with the Batman anti-heroine character of the same name. If anything, it feels more like a gender-swapped (and animal-swapped) version of The Crow.
    • The character was renamed Patience Phillips instead of Selina Kyle, unlike her comic book counterpart, making this movie rather structured like a spin-off. This may have been a good thing, since Halle Berry was cast and to prevent accusations of racebending.
  2. Lack of continuity that also consists of a forgettable setting that isn't even in Gotham City.
  3. Mediocre plot that feels like it was structured like an episode of a TV series.
  4. Wasted most of the acting talents of the presences of Lambert Wilson (who portrayed the Merovingian in the first 2 Matrix sequels), Frances Conroy (who would later play the mother of Arthur Fleck/Joker from the 2019 film of the same name), and the late Michael Massee.
  5. Idiotic, yet forgettable side characters like police detective Tom Lone.
  6. Halle Berry did a terrible job portraying Catwoman and it felt like she was just playing a different character that has nothing to do with Selina Kyle, Catwoman's civilian identity.
  7. Poor writing that tries to rehash Catwoman's origin story and focuses about a corrupt make-up company that is too similar to the "Feat of Clay" episode from Batman: The Animated Series.
    • Catwoman's origin story in this film is very weird, as she died and was brought back to life by an alley cat.
    • Overall, the writers were clearly trying to imitate what happened to Selina in Batman Returns, but the way they did it, makes it sound downright unrealistic. Also, the original Catwoman was just a regular vigilante who just happened to have incredible gymnastic skills, so giving her supernatural cat-like powers is completely unnecessary.
  8. Terrible editing (with certain scenes literally cutting to themselves).
  9. Atrocious CGI with Catwoman.
  10. Needless sexual scenes.
  11. Not great pacing.
  12. Pitof (also known as Jean-Christophe Comar), the film's director does a weak job (when it comes to his talents as a visual effects artist) directing the film. As a result from critical and commercial failure of the movie, it permanently killed off his directorial career with the 2008 Syfy TV movie Fire and Ice: The Dragon Chronicles being his last film up to date.
  13. Bad costume designs that look nothing like the comic costumes and looks like it came from Marvel's Judas Traveller's costume designs.
    • Speaking of her costume, the title character wore plastic-looking black pants being made from black tape. In the comic books of the same name, she didn't wear a bra with chains in the bottom of it.
  14. Laughably terrible dialogue. Laurel says “Game Over" and Patience responds by saying "It's over time” in one scene. What does that even mean?
  15. At times, the film lacks subtlety when it comes to rubbing into the viewer's face that Patience Phillips as Catwoman has cat-like powers, behaviors and mannerisms such as the numerous scenes of her constant catlike hissing, getting off to catnip, and eating unhealthy amounts of tuna, as well as she making lot of annoying and unnecessary cat puns, when it was already implied within the film.
  16. Between the critical and box-office failures of this movie and the following year's equally awful Elektra (on top of an existing appalling track record including Barb Wire and the Supergirl movie) the major studios refused to produce any more superheroine-focused films until the 2017 Wonder Woman film.
  17. The Basketball scene is very pointless and cringy, as it is feeling like a late 90's commercial or a hip hop music video.
  18. No Batman or Catwoman-related villains, the closest we get is an evil make-up company owner, Laurel Hedare and his husband, George.
    • They are indeed lackluster villains whose evil plans doesn't even sound all that evil as they're an "evil" make-up company whose plan seems to have a positive effect instead of a negative one (if the make-up is constantly applied, the skin will become indestructible). Since that kind of stuff would be outlawed by the FBI, as Honest Trailers pointed out, meaning Catwoman could literally sit her own movie out and she would still win, hence making her role completely pointless.
      • Laurel wants to keep her face smooth when she gets old.
      • George is a greedy man who considers his workers as incompetent.
  19. The scene where Patience is jumping across different buildings is not a stunt double. It is very unrealistic, and you can clearly tell it is entirely in CGI.
  20. Even Anne Hathaway (who got the title character's next appearance in The Dark Knight Rises better) even hated the title character's previous appearance in this movie as well.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Some detractors (including The Nostalgia Critic) argue that Halle Berry gave a decent performance with the horrendous material she was given.
    • In fact, Halle Berry admitted that she was put in a terrible movie while accepting the Golden Raspberry award, so you can say at least she’s a good sport about it and proved that she can take criticism.
    • As laughable as her Catwoman costume is, it's equally appealing. (Be honest, you wouldn’t mind Halle Berry showing up at your bachelor party wearing it, would you?)
  2. There is one minor Easter Egg consisting of a photo of Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman shown in one scene.
  3. The music by Klaus Badelt is decent.
  4. The poster looks cool.
  5. The film can be considered “So Bad, It’s Good” after far worse superhero films like Elektra and Fant4stic came out.

Reception

Catwoman received negative reviews from critics and audiences alike, many critics consider it to be one of the worst films of all time, with criticism directed at Berry’s performance and perceived lack of connection with Batman. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 9% based on 197 reviews, with an average rating of 3.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Halle Berry is the lone bright spot, but even she can't save this laughable action thriller.". On Metacritic the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale. Roger Ebert awarded the film a one star out of four and described it as “Tired and dated.”

Box Office

The film opened up at #3 on its opening weekend with a domestic gross of $16,728,411. It would later gross $40,202,379 domestically. In foreign countries, it made $41,900,000. Overall, the film made $82,102,379 against its $100 million budget, making it a box-office disappointment.

Awards and nominations

The film won four Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture and Worst Actress and was nominated for seven including Worst Supporting Actress. When Halle Berry accepted her Award, she stated, "First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of shit, god-awful movie... It was just what my career needed."

Trivia

  • Ashley Judd and Nicole Kidman were both considered to play Patience, whose original surname was going to be "Price".
  • The Catwoman suit was designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer Angus Strathie, and states that she and the production team "wanted a reality-based wardroke to show the progression" to Patience to the "sensual awakening of a sexy warrior goddess."
  • There was going to be be a direct-to-video animated film directed by Boyd Kirkland that tied in with the film's release, but was discarded when the script was written, due to the box office failure of that film.
  • Halle Berry didn’t like the film’s production but she liked playing Catwoman and admitted that Eartha Kitt served as an inspiration for her performance.
  • Halle Berry revealed in a 2021 interview that she wants to direct a remake of the film.

Videos

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