Catwoman not up to purr

Aug. 14, 2004, midnight | By | 19 years, 11 months ago

Catwoman can at best be described as an egregious mistake. If the Spiderman series represents the good side of comics-turned-movies, then Catwoman represents the opposite side of the spectrum.

In this chick-with-no-action-flick, Batman's nemesis starts explaining how she started truly living the day she died. "But more of that later," she says, and the scene switches to the weird-outfit-wearing, clumsy graphic designer Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) at work at the Hedare Beauty Perfume Designing Empire. George Hedare (Lambert Wilson), CEO of the Hedare enterprise, announces the launch of the revolutionary product Beauline, an anti-aging cream. The next day, Phillips enters the scientist's lab where Hedare is supposed to be to show him a drawing she has just completed. She lets herself in and then overhears that Beauline's long-term effects are dangerous and could cause skin disintegration. Hedare's henchman track her down when they discover she has eavesdropped. Phillips is forced to take refuge in a water pipe, which the men flush out in order to kill her.

Strangely enough in the next scene, the dead Phillips is seen lying on a rock with 15 or so cats crowding around her with no explanation of how she got there. A cat she had attempted to rescue earlier in the film is present and apparently has some sort of magical powers because it revives her. Phillips undergoes a metamorphosis in which she is reborn into Catwoman with newfound speed, strength and attitude.

From this point on, viewers would expect to see exciting action sequences, but they are sadly incorrect. At one point in the film, Phillips has been framed by Hedare's wife (Sharon Stone) and is incarcerated. She manages to slink through the cell door and evade the policeman coming around the corner by magically disappearing and reappearing through a screen transition. The director (Pitof) resorts to this cheap action method on numerous occasions, and what is even worse is that most fight scenes are computer generated, which leaves the viewer longing for real-life fights.

The film is also impractical in various other instances. For example, Phillips, her fellow employees and her boss all wear the same clothes in the first scene of the movie and in the second, which is supposed to take place the next day. Also, though Phillips' friend Sally (Alex Borstein) uses Beauline, Sally does not experience facial deformations as a scientist had predicted would occur.

These types of inner-contradictions and blunders make for a particularly bad viewing experience, and the lack of real action scenes does not help either. Simply put, this superhero flop has a confusing plotline and cheap special effects, which makes the film not worth the time or the money.

Catwoman is rated PG-13 for action violence and sensuality.

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