Movie: Catwoman

Brooklyn Park 20 7/25/04 7:00pm Score: 6

Halle Berry in a catsuit. What more can I say about this movie? It’s visual entertainment. Despite it’s outward appearance as a movie built for men’s eyecandy, the movie is very woman-liberating.

Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) is an adwoman who seems to be going nowhere in her job for a cosmetics company. She stumbles upon something that she shouldn’t have - addictive cosmetics - and gets killed. Then she gets the soul of a cat. We aren’t really privvy to why she was chosen, or how exactly it happened, but that’s just as well, because we don’t really care. The best part of this script is that they know exactly what we don’t really care about. Some critics have decided the movie isn’t that great because the self-discovery phase of the catwoman isn’t really serious - she is enamoured of catnip, for example. I don’t really think this is a failing - the humor used makes the audience feel more comfortable with the character.

The rest of this movie is pretty predictable - Patience/Catwoman steals things, feels sorry, becomes more aware of her transformation (and abilities), has a love interest that is a cop and has to hide her secret identity, gets setup by the villians, discovered by her love interest and put in jail, breaks out of jail, kills villian. I was happy to see that at the end she continues the indepent woman attitude however and doesn’t hook up with the cop. Still, there are completely useless logic errors in the beginning of the movie that required me to turn off my brain quickly.

There are some decent supporting actor roles in here, with Alex Borstein, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone and Frances Conroy. They all play their roles like the great actors they are, without overplaying them and without overshadowing Halle, since this is really her movie. I have to admit, I am somewhat of an actor guy at this point. When I see a familiar actor that I like in a movie when I didn’t expect them, I come out of the movie with a better opinion of the movie. I like to think that good actors get to choose the movies that they want to do. This movie is not a bad movie, and I hope that the actors weren’t just signing on for a paycheck. The bit parts in the movie are very well played.

One of the great failings of this movie is the extensive use of horrible CGI. It’s very very obvious when the catwoman on the screen is created by computer and when it is actually the actor. It seems to me that they were very bold with the CGI in the movie - they used it for shots which are much closer than I expect. On the other side of the coin, the CGI is sometimes a wonder simply because it is CGI. Movie budgets need not have space for city flyovers in a helicopter anymore - they need only look to Catwoman to see them done beautifully. The movie slightly overuses the freedom given by this, but I was amazed just to see how far the technology has come - it took me a couple seconds into the first shot to realize that it was CGI. As a bonus perk, I would bet that there is a full computer model of Halle Berry in a catsuit out there somewhere (used in the game, I suppose).

Go into this movie without expecting amazing epiphanies and without a critical eye to overused CGI and you will have a good time. I give it a 6.