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Catwoman on DVD

When you hear so many bad things about one movie, you can’t help but be intrigued by it.

After all, how can a movie possibly be as bad as everyone says? And even if it is, you have to see it for yourself to see just how bad it is.

Catwoman is the epitome of this kind of movie. It has so many problems, and is so bad in so many ways, that everyone should see it if only as a horrible example. (Editor's note: Heckuva recommendation, eh?)

Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) is a take-crap-from-everybody kind of gal. She works her menial job in her menial existence and just tries her darndest to keep her life going smoothly. Then one night she stumbles upon a conspiracy by her employers to put anti-aging cream on the market. The problem is, the cream only defies aging until its long-term effects take over, causing the wearer to pass out and awaken with facial deformities.

Patience is killed. Her employers have won and everybody that doesn’t use the cream lives happily ever after.

Oh right, but the movie kept going. And going. And going. The thing is, everything goes okay until the title character shows up. That’s about when it becomes a sad, sad excuse for a movie, but is still fun to watch because of it. Really.

We don’t need to discuss the plot any further, because it doesn’t matter. Catwoman appears and starts wreaking havoc on the people who killed her, while trying to sustain a relationship with Benjamin Bratt. That’s about it. But the movie is a $90 million excuse to have Halle Berry in a dominatrix outfit acting all sexual. Why such a woman would need to reveal so much skin is beyond us, unless it was for the obvious reason of needing something to get people out to see the movie. Of course, you can see “more” of Berry in Swordfish or Monster’s Ball, or just go online and find some free porn.

The worst part of Catwoman is the script. There are so many talented, struggling screenwriters out there who could take anything and make it good, yet they managed to find the people who can take every bit of substance out of an idea and cram the remainder down your throat until you suffocate. There’s not a single memorable line (unless you count ones that are memorably terrible), there are plenty of plot holes, and you have to suspend your disbelief more than even the most ridiculous Bond film.

Still interested? Then read on.

French director Pitof has a good style. There are a few pretty cool shots in Catwoman, and some well-done visual effects, but this is no Lord of the Rings. Everything is pure visual dazzle, with not a trace of substance anywhere to be found (to the point of having one long shot rotating around Catwoman as she walks – nothing more than an excuse to let us stare at her bottom for an extended period of time). That, unfortunately, causes another huge problem: if they’re going to make a campy, crappy film, they should go all out. The fact that Catwoman has redeeming qualities shows that the filmmakers actually thought they had something worthwhile and tried to make something decent. If it were pure excrement, it may be so bad it’s good, when in fact it’s just really, really bad.

There are so many good and bad movies out there that deserve our press, but Catwoman deserves to be forgotten. Even as a camp movie, Catwoman just can’t do it right. It’s hard to find any reason for anyone to watch this movie, ever.

After dying a horrible death at the box office, Catwoman took its time getting to DVD. Oddly enough, they seemed to put more effort into the disc than into the movie. Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, picture quality looks great. There are plenty of blacks that don’t all blend in together to make one big black screen; detail is always perfectly visible, and opposing colors never get in the way. Fleshtones mix well with the darks, and there is never any dust or grain on the print.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is also rather impressive. With the exception of a too-strong subwoofer section, all five channels roar to life frequently and intensely. During the action scenes, Catwoman’s whip does some nice, quick panning, gunshots fly through the room, and the score stays prominently in the background (if that even makes sense).

“The Many Faces of Catwoman” is a half-hour documentary on the history of the character, hosted by Eartha Kitt (one of the threee original Catwomans from the old TV series). It takes us from the early days in the Batman comics, all the way up to the brand-new 2004 theatrical movie. Whether you’re into this kind of thing or not, you’ll probably find this infinitely more entertaining than the movie itself. There’s a behind-the-scenes featurette that runs about 15 minutes and is nothing more than a 15-minute advertisement (though they needed a LOT more than 15 minutes to make people want to see this thing). Finally, we get a trailer and some deleted scenes we have to admit we avoided watching because there's only so much abuse an audience can take.

Catwoman, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
102 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Benjamin Bratt, Alex Borstein, Lambert Wilson
Produced by Denise Di Novi, Edward L. McDonnell
Screenplay by John Rogers, Michael Ferris, Directed by Pitof


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