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July 2004

By Wilson Morales


Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Pitof
Producers: Denise Di Novi & Edward L. McDonnell
Screenwriters: John Brancato, Michael Ferris, & John Rogers, story by Theresa Rebeck, John Brancato & Michael Ferris, based on characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics
Cinematographer: Thierry Arbogast
Composer: Klaus Badelt
Cast: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone, Lambert Wilson, Michael Massee, Alex Borstein



Having played one comic book character wasn't enough for Oscar Winner Halle Berry. After all, playing the part of Storm in the two X-Men films doesn't offer that much screen time when you have to share the spotlight with the other characters. So when the opportunity came up for her to play another comic book character but be the main star of the film, how could she refuse that. But when the character's original storyline is changed to the dismay of its loyal fans and the script is written by more than two screenwriters, a bad sign at that, as well as the costume that had many cutting their nails in disbelief, the film is already DOA. Of all of the comic books that were made into feature films, "Catwoman" stands out as one of the worst of them. Berry may look good enough to fit the costume, but she doesn't possess the feline bones that made Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt stand out.

Totally different from what many grew up reading, this film is loosely based on the comic book in which Halle Berry plays Patience Phillips, a graphics artist who works at cosmetics company Hedare Beauty run by George Hedare (Wilson) and his supermodel wife, Laurel (Stone). Patience is a fragile employee too afraid to show her bosses how good she is at work. At the same time, she's also a caring person; so much that she risks her life to save a cat from down her window. When detective Tom Lone saves her, the sparks are there but they don't fly, at least not just yet. While working on a late assignment, Patience overhears something that could be damaging to others and is supposedly murdered to the secret in tact. Through some mysterious force, Patience is resurrected through the help of cats and becomes CATWOMAN, a lady who prowls the streets in search of good and bad deeds. Mentored by Ophelia Powers, a professor who has a thing for cats, Patience learns the abilities she possesses and seeks revenge on those who did her harm, including Laurel.

Not only is this story laden with a predictable plot, but there's no fun in watching Halle metamorphosize from a human being with no conviction to this woman who commands authority and strength. The romance between Phillips and Lone has no chemistry as Bratt, who's no stranger in playing a cop for the umpteenth time, plays his character with such a blandness that you wish Ricky Martin could have played the role. At least he would have gotten your attention. Berry may have won the Oscar and gained the respect of producers who believe in her ability to sell tickets, but she has a lot to learn when it comes to choosing star vehicles. When it takes four writers to write one story, the writing is already on the wall. Bail quick! As for the direction, Pitof had one film to his name before he did this film. Did he not see "Spider Man" and "X-Men", or if he wanted to stick to DC Comics films, "Superman"? Those films raised the bar on to make a film to please hard core fans and bring in a new audience. Dispensing with the original storyline was the first recipe for disaster. No scene lasted more than 3 minutes as if he were a long video. The visuals weren't the impressive especially the Catwoman strut sequence. As for Sharon Stone, if you are going to do an action film, make your scenes look real as opposed panning back from your face. The fight sequences looked awful. As many times as Catwoman is getting beat up, folks must have been wondering, "Where's the blood?" But then again, she's superhero, so she doesn't bleed. Overall, "Catwoman" is a disappointment to many fans not because the story is bland, but because there not lives in "her" to make an improvement over time.