Screenplay: John Brancato, Michael Ferris & John Rogers.
Story: Theresa Rebeck, John Brancato & Michael Ferris.
Release Date: 2004.
Runtime: 104 min.
Genre(s): Action, Crime & Fantasy.
Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, and many more!
Opening Weekend USA: $16,728,411.
Gross USA: $40,202,379.
My Overall Rating:★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ (1/10).
Sometimes I wonder how millions of dollars can be invested into developing something that is universally considered bad. It’s only once I acknowledge that the presence of the bad is not only inevitable but also allows me to appreciate the good even more than I usual will that I find a certain peace within myself. Isn’t that wonderful? Everything has its place in the world. But sometimes they don’t. And in 2004, it was the case when actress Halle Berry took on the role of Catwoman in director Pitof’s Batman-less movie. I’ve seen this movie at least once every 5 years and I’m telling myself that this one will be the last as I finally put into words some of the negative thoughts that crossed my mind as I rewatched this disaster.
What is Catwoman about? Patience Phillips—at least they don’t call her Selena Kyle—is an artist who has yet to unlock the career paths that she strongly desires and currently works for a cosmetics company (Hedare Beauty) that is approaching its timeline to unveil to the world a brand-new beauty product known as the Beau-line cream. It’s on an unfortunate and coincidental night where deadlines were to be met that Patience Phillips enters the research and development laboratory to deliver her project that she accidentally discovers a terrifying truth about the beauty product. This revelation leads henchmen to hunt her down until a tragedy turns into a blessing and transforms her into the infamous Catwoman.
You could tell that this movie was getting ready to be the biggest flop of all time before it even got on a drawing board. It clearly didn’t intend to mark the beginning of a brand-new DC universe or to pretend to set things up for an exciting sequel connecting the classic Batman antihero with her counterparts within Gotham City. It seemed to only have one goal in mind, that is to be the first female-led superhero movie to make the most money in the business—until Wonder Woman (2017) came out. You could maybe even justify its existence as one of the many live-action adaptations that attempts its own take on a well-beloved character. Why not? I’ll tell you why not. Because this was a mutated, decomposing, outrageous, and cringe-inducing feature-length film that did nothing but spit on a character’s reputation with no respect for its creators, its fans, and for popular culture.
The movie kicks off by wordlessly exposing in the opening credit sequence a potential origin story set within Egyptian mythology for Catwoman. You could already tell that something wasn’t right. Were they just going to infuse magic into a character that never flirted with such powers? Once the movie gets going and Catwoman finally appears on the screen as the costumed antihero, you’ll be clawing away at your face at the ridiculousness of it all. You’ll quickly realize that this movie simply looked to utilize the comic book character’s aesthetics to display an overly sexual character who’s agency is absent and is unexplainedly dealing with a newly-acquired split-personality disorder as she transitions into an extroverted femme fatale with sadomasochistic tendencies. The character is thus portrayed by an actress who’s looks were only meant to seduce you into forgetting the lack of structure and content in this movie.
But wait. The movie doesn’t only lack in substance and character. It is also filmed by amateurs who had no clue what cinematography was in the first place. Take every single action sequence in this movie. Not only do we have some of the worst choreography that you could ever possibly associate to Catwoman’s character but you also get some of the most badly edited sequences that rapidly flick from one angle to another, offering viewers the chance to indulge a quick epileptic episode in-between all the cringe-worthy dialogue offered by the various characters, including the awful romance with a “oh-so-perfect-and-handsome” cop who’s only there to miserably fail at balancing the eye candy for viewers. If the awkward acting isn’t enough, the movie also delivers a suffocating amount of CGI to compensate for the lack of stunt actors—or maybe they just thought that Catwoman’s natural acrobatic skills and feline flexibility was of the domain of fantasy worlds and didn’t dare to recreate it without the use of CGI.
The villain played by Sharon Stone was also catastrophic. She and her stupid henchmen helped enormously in contributing to the already ridiculous movie. Scurrying its way to disaster, this is simply a gratuitous butchery of one of Batman’s greatest love interest/archnemesis. There’s never any real exposition as to who Patience Phillips actually is deep down, what drives her character, what conflicts fuels her life into becoming someone. What we get is just a woman obsessed with purple, black, skin-tight leather, jewels, men, and cringe-inducing cat puns. Even by the rules of the world-building established in this movie, there’s nothing that justifies her worthiness to become the “next” Catwoman. So, what did everyone smoke to get this movie out in theaters?
Catwoman (2004) is a puuur-fect disaster.