Main cast: Halle Berry (Patience Phillips/Catwoman), Benjamin Bratt (Tom Lone), Sharon Stone (Laurel Hedare), Lambert Wilson (George Hedare), and Frances Conroy (Ophelia)
Catwoman is a bad movie, oh yes. But what makes it an infuriating movie to watch is how blatantly sexist it is. The scriptwriters John Brancato, Michael Ferris, and John Rogers – look, ma, they are all men! – just have to have Catwoman in a plot about the evil of using cosmetics, wow. And how nice that it has a photogenic heroine advocating that beauty is more than skin deep. And even better, Patience Phillips or Catwoman in this movie spends a lot of time feeling guilty because she is keeping her identity as Catwoman a secret from her cop love interest Tom Lone. Funny, I never see Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne jumping around worrying that their girlfriends will hate them if these women ever learn that they are neurotic weirdos fighting villains in shiny spandex underwear. Could it be that these scriptwriters imagine that Catwoman, being a mere woman, can have all sorts of powers but she’ll just die inside if her man doesn’t love her?
On the bright side, at least it is honest in saying that Patience is wearing S&M gear from an adult store instead of pretending that her revealing outfit is supposed to be “practical”, I suppose.
In this movie, our timid heroine Patience Phillips is an ad executive in a cosmetic company. She falls down a building after witnessing things that she shouldn’t be seeing and realizing that the cosmetic cream they are selling can cause horrific side effects in the users. The Egyptian goddess of cats, Isis, revives her however and Patience learns that she now has the agility and traits of a cat. Thus Catwoman is born and her first course of action is to take down the evil cosmetics company. Alas, the cop Tom Lone complicates matters in a way Bruce Wayne is never complicated when he falls for a reporter or something, because this movie wants me to understand that as a mere woman, Catwoman is emotional and therefore can’t separate her emotions from her thoughts.
Yes, the movie is bad. Listing down the flaws of this movie will result in a long list. At the top of the list has to be Halle Berry’s unconvincing portrayal as Catwoman. Catwoman is supposed to be sexy and naughty but Ms Berry plays her role as if she’s some Amish woman pretending to be a sexpot. The camera often zooms around in dizzying speed, never letting me see a scene long enough to even figure out what is going on sometimes, and the dialogues in the movie is often heavy-handed but banal, involving tedious monologues with the words “heart” and “hope”. The one good thing is probably Sharon Stone camping it up in this movie but maybe that’s because she’s just so happy to be in a movie after who knows how long.
But ultimately, the patronizing treatment of Catwoman towards its lead character, who is supposed to be a (sort of) feminist and/or lesbian icon, is its biggest flaw. Make her a sex object, objectify her, put her in revealing costumes – that’s all good with me; I wish this movie actually succeeds in some way to make Catwoman sexy instead of awkward like Miss Berry is in her role. However, it is not right to mutate Catwoman into some empty-headed infatuated ninny out of some Sweet Valley High novel!