From the exact opposite side of the spectrum of “Batman Begins” comes a look at the ill-fated Halle Berry take on “Catwoman.” Worst case scenario, Anne Hathaway’s take on the character in “The Dark Knight Rises” will have to settle for being the third best film version after Michelle Pfeiffer (“People Like Us“) excellent turn in “Batman Returns” and Lee Merriweather in the 1966 “Batman.” It most assuredly won’t be the worst. But now, let’s look at a very dark blemish on the cinematic history of The Dark Knight.
Let me get this out the way real quick – Halle Berry in a skimpy leather outfit = a very good thing. Halle Berry in a skimpy leather outfit in the “Catwoman” movie = a mind-numbingly bad thing.
Not to say that Berry’s (“X2”) latest comic book movie is bad. It’s actually terrible and it is quite possibly the worst comic book movie ever. [2012 Flash Forward: Now now, Nicholas Cage and "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" may have issue with that claim...] It’s somewhat appropriate that this year we’ve seen what arguably may be the best (“Spider-Man 2”) and worst that the comic book film genre has to offer. I’m inclined to give “Catwoman” the slight nod over “Steel” because Shaquille O’Neal has never been accused of being a world-class actor. [2012 Flash Forward:Way to remind me of that debacle. DC Comics really haven't done a great job on the movie front for much of anything not named Superman or Batman, huh?]
It’d be easy to rip the filmmakers for deciding to base an entire movie on one of Batman’s supporting characters and then totally remove any element of the Caped Crusader, but there’s so much more to a rotten summer film such as this. [2012 Flash Forward: That sounds like an even worse move now considering all the fun synergy of a shared universe the "Avengers" films created.]
Patience Phillips (Berry) is stuck in a dead-end job working for a snotty boss (Lambert Wilson, “The Matrix Reloaded”) and his vain supermodel wife Laurel (Sharon Stone, “Cold Creek Manor”) who is not the least bit happy about being replaced as the face of their company. Speaking of Stone, hopefully she retired the weed-wacker that gave her that haircut she’s sporting.
Patience overhears Laurel’s plot to sell an addictive skin care product that has a rather annoying side effect of ruining its user’s face after prolonged use. She gets caught and left for dead, only to be saved by a cat breathing on her. The cat’s breath gives Patience the attitude and abilities of a cat. [2012 Flash Forward: The worst part comes when you stop and consider someone got paid for making up that origin.] Now with a new attitude, Patience prowls the night in a ripped leather costume with a cat motif calling herself Catwoman and bent on revenge on Laurel and her goons.
And how great a detective can he really be if he can’t figure out that Patience and Catwoman are the same person? At least Lois Lane had the glasses to blame for not being able to tell Clark Kent and Superman.
Director Pitor (“Vidocq”) seems to have been mistaken he was asked to direct a feature film, as everything feels like a big-budget fashion show from the would-be overblown, sweeping camera pans. In one amazingly embarrassing scene, Catwoman enters a nightclub and starts swinging her whip around in the middle of the dance floor before attacking one of Laurel’s goons. It’s moments like this that make me long for the quiet dignity of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance in “Batman and Robin.” [2012 Flash Forward: Now THAT's a quality insult!]
It’s amazing to see how in such a big budget blockbuster that the little things like changing the characters’ outfits from one day to the next could go unnoticed. If anything, “Catwoman” is consistent in that no detail small or large is important enough to be handled with any attention to detail.
To simulate a cat, most of the fighting scenes feature a CGI version of Catwoman, which wouldn’t be all that bad a solution to adequately capture a cat’s movements. Catwoman bounces and jumps across the screen so fast that there is no illusion whatsoever that it’s simply a computer image on the screen dressed like Berry resulting in some of the worst CGI since “The Hulk.” [2012 Flash Forward: The Ang Lee version that looked worse than Playstation 2 games at the time.]
[2012 Flash Forward: There are some highs to the Batman movie universe (the Nolan and Tim Burton films); some lows ("Batman Forever") and then the nightmare inducing kind. This is one of those awful movies that aren't even bad enough to be good. It's just awful. "Catwoman's" sole purpose was to give "Batman & Robin" some company in the Batman film litter box.]
2012 Film Flashback Rating: 1 out of 10 - based solely on Berry pulling off the Catwoman outfit