February 19, 2018
Catwoman (2004) --- "Girl Becomes A Cat Lady After Receiving Special Powers."
"Catwoman" is the story of shy, sensitive artist Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a woman who can't seem to stop apologizing for her own existence. She works as a graphic designer for Hedare Beauty, a mammoth cosmetics company on the verge of releasing a revolutionary anti-aging product. When Patience inadvertently happens upon a dark secret her employer is hiding, she finds herself in the middle of a corporate conspiracy. What happens next changes Patience forever. (1)
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Hello, Movie Buffs!
Director Pitof’s 2004 Catwoman explains how Patience Phillips goes from being an introverted artist to becoming the extroverted and mysterious cat-burglar known as Catwoman (Halle Berry – Kidnap). Now, this film has been subject to some unfavorable criticism and while it is not the best Catwoman film ever, I found it to be a new and interesting take on DC’s iconic cat-burglar.
The cinematography, set design, and action are important for a film’s story; it’s part of the whole creative and attractive package that is Catwoman. The special effects worked really well for the time; sometimes it was hard to determine what was real and what was CGI; like Catwoman’s whip representing a tail in many shots. The action was great, it makes you want to slide down between two buildings or tumble out of the top floor window in a graceful ‘cat-like’ slow-motion.
The script worked well in drawing me into the film especial since the plot is centered on a beauty product manufacturer that has been withholding the fact that its products have long-term side effects. Catwoman is about discovering your identity, femininity, peeling away masks – both literal and metaphorical – and the difference between someone’s public face and their private face. This is what permeates every aspect of the film and I cannot think of a single scene that does not in some way incorporate these themes. For instance, not only is Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) continually peeling away the many layers of Patience’s character but Patience is continually discovering her true self. This makes the story clever and thought-provoking.
The performances are great and deliver what they set out to do. Halle Berry is amazing in her portrayal as both the introverted artist that has trouble standing up for herself and the over-confident, extroverted cat-burglar Catwoman. Benjamin Bratt (Miss. Congeniality) had great chemistry as the Tom Lone, the mysterious detective, and love interest. Alex Borstein (The Lizzie McGuire Movie) is great as Patience's best friend, Sally. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) made a satisfying villain, kind of like a Poison Ivy type of villain with the super-beauty-products and all.
Many of the negative criticism found in this film’s story originates from purist comic book fans. Now I am not a purist but anyone who knows a little bit about Catwoman’s story would know that Berry’s Patience Phillips Catwoman is not the Selina Kyle Catwoman of Julie Newmar (Batman), Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns), Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises), and Camren Bicondova (Gotham). The mythology presented in this film states that Catwoman isn’t a lone token but rather a type. Patience Phillips is just another addition in a long line of Catwoman; she is a version of the essence that is Catwoman. So the film’s departure from Selina Kyle portrayals is not exactly relevant to the film. I agree with how the filmmakers decided to do Patience’s transformation or in this case her rebirth into Catwoman. However, I also agree that the filmmakers were obligated to the comics too, in some way, do a cameo of Selina Kyle’s Catwoman; perhaps even if it was just a small reference.
Overall, Catwoman (2004) is not about the Selina Kyle Catwoman of Newmar, Pfeiffer, Hathaway, and Bicondova. This film is about a new Catwoman, Patience Phillips, and I believe that it’s a great film and it is worth a second chance. The cinematography, set design, action, and script all work great together and the cast performances delivered what they set out to do. The film’s entertainment value makes up for what it lacks as far as comic book purist go, and I recommend this film to everyone.
On a side note: Catwoman does not have superpowers but rather she is a trained gymnast and is not in any way associated with Black Cat – who is a Marvel character associated with Spiderman.
"Cats come when they feel like it. Not when they're told."
Worth Seeing: 6.8 of 10 stars
Worth Buying: 6.8 of 10 stars
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