I’ve heard so many bad things about this movie over the years I always had a perverse wish to watch it… and yeah it’s as awful as they say. As far as superhero movies go, this is total kitty litter.
I’ve no idea why they tried so hard to make Halle Berry into an action star back in the 00s – yes the woman is drop-dead gorgeous and can turn in a good performance if her Oscar is anything to go by, but she’s got zero presence required for an action-oriented role with her soft face and a soft voice. Here in Catwoman she plays Patience, a shy and sensitive young woman who works as a graphic designer and wears dowdy, aggressively horrible outfits. I can just see the director instructing the costume designer: please give me the most hideous, mismatched, sexless outfit you can think of, so the audience knows this woman is in for a sexy makeover.
One day, Patience sees a cat sitting on a ledge outside of her apartment window, and instead of acting like a normal person and, I don’t know, calling for someone with a ladder, she climbs outside like a lunatic and tries to rescue the animal by herself. The cat needs no saving whatsoever, but Patience ends up being rescued by a hunky cop called Tom (Benjamin Bratt), who of course fancies her immediately.
Meanwhile, the cosmetics company that employs Patience, run by the obviously evil power couple Laurel and George (Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson), are on a verge of releasing their new cosmetics product with a dark secret, which Patience inadvertently discovers one night. She is promptly killed off, but the cat Patience had attempted to rescue shows up with her posse of presumably non-magical felines and literally breathes in new life into her, in a laughably fake CGI sequence (like everything else, CGI in this movie sucks). Soon, Patience discovers her new powers, like keen senses, superhuman agility and reflexes, together with an overwhelming urge to drink milk, hiss at dogs and sleep on the shelves, which looks just as stupid as it sounds. She also transforms into a brand-new badass confident woman who takes no shit from no one, hear her meow! To show just how liberated she is, Patience puts on some bright lippy and squeezes herself into a ludicrous dominatrix costume designed for the benefit of hormonal teenage boys, and goes on a quest of revenge and random jewelry theft, which complicates things with her cop would-be boyfriend.
I should mention the one and only thing I liked about the movie, as a certified cat obsessive, and that’s the stunning silver Egyptian Mau cat that follows Patience around. My friend has a couple of Egyptian Maus and they’re simply exquisite creatures.
Everything else in this movie is terrible: one-dimensional characters, thin semblance of a story, romance with zero chemistry, clunky dialogue, you name it. The worst offender for me though was the editing, which is probably the most shockingly inept editing I’ve seen in a major blockbuster, with pointless zooms and a million random quick cuts in a simple dialogue scene. God it gave me a headache; it’s like the film is so nervous your attention will drift that even when it’s just showing a character talking it will cut to… the same character talking. If anything it makes me appreciate someone like Baz Luhrmann whose frenetic editing might be exhausting at times but feels like something done by a guy who knows what he’s doing. Halle Berry does ok as the meek Patience but her attempts at being all vampy and kickass are rather embarrassing to watch. And while this would not be her only dud role, rubbing catnip all over your face surely has got to be the nadir of anyone’s career.