Blerd Film Club: Catwoman

 

The 2000s were a strange time for Super Hero films. Blade had came through and kicked down the door and studios across the table were trying to replicate the success. The thing is, they were trying to do it without the blood and gore of the rated R Blade films. That meant there were a lot of, questionable, films. One of those was 2004s Catwoman starring the incredible Halle Berry. A film that seemed universally hated by critics but was okay according to fans.

Our film starts with us getting a glimpse at the life of Patience Phillips, a quiet graphics designer. She lives across from a guy who loves to throw parties, her boss is trash and life is good, just not everything she wants. One night she's forced to deliver a design to the R&D lab herself because she was working late. She accidentally stumbles up on a conspiracy. She's chased by generic goons in suits until she hides in a waste drainage pipe. They turn it on, and she's pushed through the pipe and flies out the side of a cliff into the ocean. Why was this company allowed to send waste into the ocean? Anyway, she drowns. But, she's saved by a cat that she looked after earlier.

Patience realizes that she's now gat catlike tendencies and finds herself collecting shiny objects. Mainly expensive jewelry that she steals, from other thieves. She's framed for murder and the police are hot on her tail. All the while, she's dating Detective Tom, who has stalker tendencies. She's forced to stop the cosmetics company she worked for from selling a cream that melts your face or turns it to stone, protecting her identity and getting rich.

Something that is said repeatedly about this film is that there was entirely too much CGI. I disagree, there's a much bigger offender. The action scenes are terrible. The constant camera cuts, forty different angles just to make it seem more energetic were an eyesore to watch. They were headache inducing and made the scenes more distracting than anything else. There were spots where they used CGI and it wasn't necessary but 90% of the camera cuts were more unnecessary. It could have been remedied with better fight coordination.

For the most part, the story wasn't even terrible. The worst part is they were heavy handed with the love story, second would be her best friend really meant nothing to the story. The scenes with her friend could have been used to show how she suddenly knew how to fence the stolen goods. The best part, even if it was a little campy, they gave Catwoman an origin story. In the comics she never really had an origin other than liking cats and being a thief despite having a dozen different origin stories. 

There was a lot of talk of the character being sexualized by Berry's portrayal, but I disagree. Sure the costume is a little more revealing than the comics, but Berry helped design the costume herself. Now, the actual film, I think the issue was two fold. First, they were trying to build sexual tension between Patience and Tom, but the two didn't really have any chemistry so the whole thing seemed forced. The second is that they really stuck with the cat like traits and that made things awkward. She didn't lick the guy's face because it was sexy, it was because cats lick stuff, which is why it made her giggle at how ridiculous it wasn't trying to crawl seductively during stealth scenes. She was just trying be a cat, same way she was going wild over catnip. The two things combined might have seemed sexualized, but I think it's a sign of the film not knowing if it should be campy or serious.

I don't think this was a good movie. I think it was serviceable. The script wasn't entirely terrible, with the exception of Tom, casting was pretty good. They spent a ton of time trying to get Halle Berry to make regular movements catlike, but not teaching her to fight. A few small changes, and we'd be talking about this film as a classic hero flick. Instead were left to wonder, what could have been.

Blerd Film Club: Catwoman Blerd Film Club: Catwoman Reviewed by Darrell S. on Monday, February 08, 2021 Rating: 5

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