With 5 being the Siberian tiger (the king of cats)
4 being the jaguar (lord of the rainforest and a very fine animal)
3 being the ocelot (a frivilous yet fun feline)
2 being your maiden aunt's neutered, overfed house tabby (stodgy, yowly, no fun to play with)
and 1 being a roadkill kitten lying decomposing in a drainage ditch, where would you rank the movie CATWOMAN?”
That was the question posed to me by Junior Mintz almost immediately upon my return from seeing CATWOMAN tonight. You see, Junior Mintz is invested in CATWOMAN due to years of passionate love for all figures that embody “girl power” for young minxes like herself. And it was with the greatest dismay that I had to tell her that CATWOMAN was a stodgy, yowly, no fun to play with neutered, overfed house tabby once owned by my maiden aunt.
Right before the film, I looked at Father Geek and told him that there could be some crazy outside shot that I could end up loving this film at some kitschy funky CHARLIE’S ANGELS sense of titillation. That it could be a fun trashy work of goofiness. I said, it may be possible that I come away liking it.
Dad’s response, “If you like it, tell nobody!”
That made me howl laughing… I mean, I was jazzed to see the movie. I love Halle Berry, I think she’s an outstanding actress that is smoking hot. Her curves allow one to forgive a lot of crap, and in this… She is beautiful, she can’t not be stunning. Even in the street trash gutter whore CATWOMAN costume, when Halle is wearing it… and it is really her and not some computerized facsimile that moves and looks unreal and slightly… dead and mannequin-like. Of course that costume is ridiculous, makes no fucking sense at all and is just wretched refuse hanging on the body of a goddess. Her alive cat strut she does is sexy, when done by the computer it’s more like a ok quality cut scene from a video game. It might be the lighting on the skin… the slightly exaggerated movement.. whatever it is, it’s just not real, and that’s subtle stuff… the bigger motions are far worse.
This isn’t a disaster of a film, this isn’t the worst movie ever. This isn’t even close. I was kinda hoping that it would either be surprisingly great or ungodly awful to a point of satiric horror. Unfortunately the film has just the right enough of good moments to reach that impossible height in filmmaking that we call… mediocrity. Forgettable and uninspired.
What was good?
Not much, but… Whenever the film is about Patience/Catwoman and Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), personally I feel it works. Of course, that aspect of the film is what most closely resembles a CATWOMAN movie. My favorite aspect of Catwoman, as a character was that she was a cat burglar that not only was superhumanly talented at break-ins and thievery. That she had some sort of communicative ability with cats large and small. But that she loved to doubly torment those that would imprison her. Be they Batman or some handsome detective… she would seduce them in her alias, appeal to their naughtiness as Catwoman and fuck them humanly, letting them taste her magnificence, but at the same time fucking them professionally like they’d never been fucked before. To me, the whole film should be focused on their game of Cat & Mouse… and Tom Lone is definitely the one sniffing for cheese.
I also, kinda liked Alex Borstein’s best friend of Catwoman character. Not so much that it’s an original character or even an inspired character. It isn’t. I just kinda liked her riffs and swagger.
Finally – the last aspect of this film that I appreciated was Thierry Arbogast’s cinematography. I’ve been a fan of his through all those great turns with Luc Besson, and the look and richness of his nights and days were truly lush. Wasn’t the Cameron Blues or even rich deep blacks, but a gorgeous, nearly otherworldly look that was quite magical. Unfortunately it was edited like shit. Sigh.
What is terrible?
Everything having to do with the magic cold crÃ¨me / beauty crÃ¨me crap from the Hedare Beauty situation. It is… TERRIBLE. FUCKING EMBARRASINGLY AWFUL. Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson are worthless in the film. Their henchmen are wretched. Their story, the worst plotline of the summer.
The editing for this film is TERRIBLE… the action has zero coherent connection during many key moments. The best sequence in the entire film is Halle at home having a phone conversation with Alex Borstein’s character and moving about idly balanced and nimble moving about the room.
The overall story and character work is pathetic. Nothing really genuine or resonate. There’s brief moments or shots of coolness constantly interrupted by lameness in the form of limp dialogue or directionless motivations. When this film doesn’t work it isn’t a funny ineptness, it’s more of a just unpleasant sensation of bile building up due to intellectual starvation.
As an adaptation, it is literally just terrible. No respect for the original material… and no real wonderful work of creativity replaces it. Halle has some likability, as does her friend in the film. And the chemistry between her and Bratt is genuine. But this is not quite as good as SUPERGIRL, which in and of itself was a pretty bad film. Although, for me, I own SUPERGIRL on DVD for that one perfect moment in the film, where Helen Slater flies over that pool of water dancing and teasing her fingers along the surface. It was and remains magic. The score was fantastic on that film, and Faye Dunaway was grotesquely awful as the villain, while Sharon Stone was merely forgettable and worthless. Though not classically awful.
Catch it on cable some day, but rewarding this film with box office dollars will just breed further contempt for the medium being celebrated this weekend in San Diego.