Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy
Writer: John Brancato & Michael Ferris and John Rogers
Rated: M low level violence
Running Time: 104 Minutes
'Catwoman' is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate conspiracy. What happens next changes Patience forever. In a mystical twist of fate, she is transformed into a woman with the strength, speed, agility and ultra-keen senses of a cat. With her newfound prowess and feline intuition, Patience becomes Catwoman, a sleek and stealthy creature balancing on the thin line between good and bad. Like any wildcat, she's dangerous, elusive and untamed. Her adventures are complicated by a burgeoning relationship with Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), a cop who has fallen for Patience but cannot shake his fascination with the mysterious Catwoman, who appears to be responsible for a string of crime sprees plaguing the city.
'Catwoman' was made with a large budget (~$100million) and it shows. It is similar to films such as Spiderman as far as computer generated images goes, but the similarities end there as it unfortunately lacks a cohesive plot, and that's a pity because it could have been so much more. Some of the action is so heavily edited that many sequences fail to make sense and it ends up being a jumbled mess. Still, much attention was paid to certain areas including Halle Berry's transformation into being a cat. She began physically training months before shooting began, had to learn how to crack a whip properly and ironically had to learn to actually like cats, something that she wasn't too keen on prior to filming. Halle's costume is also another area where much attention was paid, for its comparisons with previous "Catwomen" such as Michelle Pfeiffer, and also for the one used here. The standout feature here is the ten 'diamond' tipped claws, with almost 800 individual crystals used to create the pavé diamond look on sterling silver settings.
Halle Berry's performance is ok considering the script she had to work with. She overplays the role as mousy Patience Philips and perhaps underplays the role of Catwoman, who could have had a lot more bite. How she managed to manoeuvre in the Catwoman costume is remarkable, but why was there so little of it? The rest of the cast all overplayed which becomes tedious after a while and you almost felt like telling them to quit mucking around and act properly! Perhaps Benjamin Bratt was the only one not guilty of overdoing his role.
Initially, it's very hard to find a kind word to say about 'Catwoman' - and that's coming from a big cat lover! But, upon reflection, there are some positive features to be found in the movie such as Sharon Stone's over-the-top performance as the villain, which is most delightfully campy and looked as if she was relishing. If you like plenty of action then 'Catwoman' is for you, but try not to focus on the poor excuse for a storyline or otherwise you'll end up feeling cheated.
Rating : C-