Saturday, March 19, 2005

Catwoman 

We started watching this DVD last weekend, but we started it rather late and The Girl couldn't stay awake. My school schedule being what it is, we couldn't sit down together to finish it until last night.

I liked it. I'm glad we didn't pay current movie theater prices to see it, though. It's fun comic book fluff, and the CGI action was a little goofy. Remember the scenes of Huntress running and leaping across the rooftops of Gotham? Very similar. They may have used the same clips, in fact. The scene in the jewelry store, when Catwoman was running and leaping around the walls of the store, just ahead of the automatic weapon fire? Yeah, that was a little much as well. Would have worked for Spiderman (he has those cool microbarbed hands, after all), worked fabulously for Lara Croft (she was already hooked into her bungee ballet gear, so there you go), but nothing catlike would give Catwoman the ability to defy gravity for that long.

And Michelle Pfeiffer has ruined the "Meow" for anyone else, as far as I'm concerned (I do a fair imitation, but it's not the same). Halle's got the hiss down cold, though.

The writers' efforts to inject a feminist edge and a theme of self-actualization falls a little flat as well. Sharon Stone's Laurel Hedare was evil because she was trying to be something other than what she is, while Halle Berry's Catwoman was good, because she accepted who she is. Gee, let's see. I've been given powers that allow me to be confident, agile, quick as hell, unbeatable in a fight, able to leap off tall buildings with a single meow and live, and sexy to boot. Should I accept it - hand it over, Bud! Yeah, it was a tough choice.

(Caution: spoiler ahead). "Oh, but she must sacrifice other things, like long term happiness with the man of her dreams!" That bit was given no justification in the storyline. He was fine with who she is, she was fine with who he is, and they were damn fine together. It felt like they just tossed that in because she's supposed to be "dark," so she should walk off alone into the moonlight. (Spoiler portion over).

I know, I know, I opened this post by saying I liked it, then rambled on about all the crap things that bothered me. Give me a break - it's what I do.

I liked the character they built for Patience. She had a lot of depth, and her pre-Catwoman persona wasn't unbelievably inept or reclusive, but it was enough to be a strong contrast to her post-Catwoman behavior. I liked Benjamin Bratt's character and his contribution to the story. Although the technology in the police crime lab was a little over the top. I absolutely loved her loft apartment, although I'm not sure how she was affording it being a struggling artist with a crappy low level day job. It seemed to be in a really bad neighborhood, so that probably explains that. I loved, loved, loved her takedown of the Harley Party Dude across the alley. Who hasn't wanted to do that to their bullying neighbor?

But the best part was the way that Hally Berry turned into a cat. She just had the moves down so well when it was just her doing it, not some CGI enhancement. My favorite scene was when she was talking to Sally on the phone and just moving around her apartment like a cat would - jumping up on the counter with no effort, swatting at pretty shiny things, strolling across the back of the couch. It was perfect. The part where she woke up from a nap and found that she was curled up on a pillow on a shelf was good, too.

I think if they had stuck to the characters and the small details instead of blowing their budget on the grand scale (but in the end not very effective) CGI, it would have been a much better movie. If they'd had enough money to have really good effects, okay, but apparently they didn't.
And finally, let me say that Halle Berry did not deserve the Razzy for this one. She did a great job with what they gave her. And good on her for being such a good sport and showing up in person to accept it! But the director deserved his for what could have been a really good movie, and the effects crew should have gotten one as well. Sound mixing was a problem too - the action scene music was too loud and the dialogue too soft. We had to keep turning the volume up and down. No way this was the worst movie of the year, though.

Reality Check: The Girl hated didn't like it (she corrected me on this - "It wasn't as bad as Gigli, Magnolia, Eyes Wide Shut or Mulholland Drive."). For some reason the thing that seemed to push it over the edge for her was the sexy rooftop walk in the crazy ripped up leather pants after Patience had apparently accepted her Catwoman side. Okay, the ripped up pants were a little much, but... Meow.


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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:23 AM