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Home | Film Review: Catwoman (2004)

Film Review: Catwoman (2004)


A shy woman, endowed with the speed, reflexes, and senses of a cat, walks a thin line between criminal and hero, even as a detective doggedly pursues her, fascinated by both of her personas.


What is it about the film “Catwoman” that I really liked despite its noted failed arrival and circus of criticism? Of course the lovely Halle Berry lights up any screen whether you like the film or not. That much is a given, but why all the fuss and bad reviews? If you were to look at the box office numbers that might shed some light but I tend to not believe the numbers despite what was reported. ($100,000,000 budget only grossing 80% of that)

I suppose it depends who you ask and why. “Catwoman” is a much loved anti-hero who suffered hard times leading her up to her bad ass transformation into this agile young femme fatale. We’ve seen the character played by many actors over the years, from the early Adam West days to the Michael Keaton days. I suppose we’ve had alot to choose from and compare. True comic book fans will cite that this version lacks much of that early suffered persona that led to her transformation. Maybe it’s just because the film was way too over hyped and thus as a result could not live to “that” expectation?

And from out of the DC Universe came the first exclusive catwoman movie starring Halle Berry in the role of Patience Phillips (aka Catwoman)

The film was to be quite different than of the Batman universe version who was portrayed more as a sexy cat burglar type with some agile skills behind her. The Halle Berry version took it to another level which was to embrace the cat persona “as” a superhero with cat abilities. But to back things up a bit, Patience Phillips is a shy graphic designer who while working her day to day was also constantly under the gun, under appreciated and under the employment of George Hedare and his cold hearted wife Laurel (Sharon stone). The corporation she works for Hedare Beauty, is on the verge of releasing a new product. One that will make the company millions but that comes with a price. The cream deteriorates one’s face after prolonged exposure, one that has to be maintained to prevent.

This secret is discovered when Patience stumbles into the wrong room at the wrong time and is appropriately “flushed out” to her demise. Though the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet has other plans for her after she is deemed worthy of this cat’s gift….the powers, instinct, and abilities of a cat. From the demise of Patience, arrives the rebirth of Catwoman. The movie takes this transformation to full effect as Patience begins to realize her catlike abilities. Actor Benjamin Bratt plays the cop turned love interest Tom Lone who begins to suspect that Patience and Catwoman bear striking similarities.

There is no denying Halley Berry played the sexiest catwoman of all time, though somewhere between universes, the inclusion of a runway model who strutted her assets at every turn “might” have been a bit too far gone from the suffered comic book version that true fans could embrace. The film used quite bit of cgi model swaps that seamlessly at times were hard pressed between the real Halle Berry and the cgi versions. Though with all this came some level of absurdity that has Berry flipping around like a cat at every scene. I often thought that maybe the cat integrations (eating tuna, scaring sushi, scratching at insects and strutting along her couch) persona gave the whole productuion a different tone than fans could endure. These aspects were the conflicts that put so many at odd with this release.

From a “lets just have fun with it”, perspective, that is exactly the stance I took with this one. We wanted a superhero and a superhero is what we got. The main antagonist Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone) acts as the films aged egocentric villain who’s skin has become rock hard due to the constant use of the company beauty cream. While she lacks the traditional aspects of a comic book villain, she manages to fill the spot adequately in relation to the story’s premise.

The movie (while taking the name of the famed Batman universe femme fatale) is kept within her owner version by the absence of the Selina Kyle name used within the Batman franchise films. It was thought that this Berry version might franchise and start a profitable addition to the studio’s break-thru releases, though box office critics slammed the film (often being hated, ignored or just described with in the context of too silly). Regardless, the film is a dynamic action film that uses a fine display of cgi-to-human composition. Still to this day, I’ll find a moment to put this one in for a decent night if entertaining movie theatrics. While Catwoman can be quite silly to watch, she is still Halle Berry and that’s worth the attention on its own accord.

Catwoman (2004)

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