Anyone who knows me in real life is probably sick to death of hearing me complain about Catwoman by now. This is especially bad because it only ever comes on late at night, when the important people with jobs and sweet sweet money have gone to bed, and neither the advertisers nor the channel itself are able to give anything that even slightly resembles a fuck. Why is this so bad?
Well, mostly, because this in turn means that I have never been sober while watching the damned thing, so I’ve never really been able to properly articulate why it was quite so bad. In some cases I’ve not even been able to remember anything about the film at all.
So this time, I’ve settled down all comfy-like, I’ve put all the alcoholic beverages in the house safely out of reach, and I’m going to watch and record the monstrosity that is Catwoman so that you don’t have to suffer.
Let’s Watch Catwoman, as the kids might say.
Come on already. You can do this. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH-
Act 1: The Beginnening –
OK, it’s too late to back out now. We open with some Generic Ancient Artefacts (TM), we’re introduced to the idea of the Catwoman throughout history. Witches! Outcasts! There’s a general vaguely feminist-ique tint to this part that I didn’t remember from my post-pub viewings of the film. This actually bodes pretty well, from my point of view. I’m all for some dubious re-interpretations of mythology, too — metalhead here — so this is a damned fine start.
The music is godawful, though. It sounds like someone bought an early ’90s Casio keyboard and fell asleep on the “generic R’n’B” button. Again, bias, metalhead. Oh, and this is a bit weird:
Now that the credits are over, we get to the real meaty chunks. Uh, action. Thinking about tuna a lot for some reason. And we have a cringe-worthy cliché to start us off — “It all started on the day that I died.” This is the kind of writing that only impresses coke-addled moronic film executives, because they never watch any films or television series and thus are as easily impressed as a week-old kitten. Only the kitten has a boner and blood running out one nostril, and is kind of looking at you in a way that you’re not comfortable with.
“Wait, what’s that Larsson? The day she died? Well – wait – wait, how is that even possible? She’s still talking to us! She’s not dead…but she is?! Interrobang! You’re blowing my mind here, Larsson, and it’s about to spunk a hundred million dollars all over your writing.”
This is also relevant. MEEEEEN.
She then says “but that comes later”, solidifying my suspicion that this was a cheap trick to get people to stay in the cinema. I realise I’m already getting angry at this cheap writing. I decide that a sip of wine can’t hurt, and might help me relax a bit, so I have one.
Hey, when I said “sober”, I didn’t mean like straight-edge hardcore sober. Just, you know, not pissed.
Alright so I’m slipping already. We’ll leave that alone and go back to the film. Halle Berry is the least believable klutz ever, pulling off some of the best-choreographed and most elegant stumbles and trips I’ve ever seen. She’s just like us, you see. Except she’s a movie klutz, meaning she’s adorable and apparently has extremely developed fine motor skills (she’s a graphic artist), unlike us real life klutzes who keep accidentally kneeing our lovers in the face and cannot draw to save our lives. And- AHH! SHIT! The Merovingian! Why isn’t anyone doing anything?
I may have been wrong about accordion-feller being the main villain. The Merovingian here is cast against type as a villainous, deceptive, cheating European, with a powerful, attractive and rebellious wife, who surrounds himself with beautiful women.
So, Halle Berry’s character, Patience (yawn), hates her job as an up-and-coming artist within an enormous cosmetics company who is apparently “more talented than anyone else in the building”. And she is clever and sensitive and slim and her hair shoots freaking unicorns all over the damn place. But yeah, not happy.
Just like us, you see?
The term fanfiction writers use for this type of shenanigan is ‘Mary Sue‘. We shoot from here to her lonely apartment, where we find out that intelligent, friendly, pretty, talented Patience has not been invited to the party because ______. She doesn’t like the noise but she’s not a douchebag at this point, so she doesn’t ruin the party, she just (presumably) gets some earplugs, shuts the windows, and gets some sleep.
Oh, and outside there is a magical cat on a motorbike. It’s less fun than it sounds.
So the next morning, a woman who knows that she is physically maladroit notices that there is a cat out on the ledge. Using her powers of logic and deductive reasoning, she- oh what the hell, is she climbing out her, what, fifth story window to rescue a bloody cat? Maybe she isn’t all that clever. Maybe she should in fact be fired from her job, as her boss appears to be threatening. A cop comes to save her, thinking that she is about to jump to her death in a hilarious and not at all insensitively played misunderstanding. Luckily, she was just a grown woman chasing a cat around a crumbling old building for no goddamn reason, so she had a much better reason for being out there and thus is attractive.
The moral of the story is that mental illnesses are ugly, and that helpless stupidity is charming and endearing in a woman. Yeap. That feminist slant might not quite materialise, I fear.
MEANWHILE AT WORK
Seriously, this film jumps around like a house of pain. Nothing much happens but the important thing is that it doesn’t happen very quickly and we’re not given time to notice that the last thing didn’t happen before we move on to the next non-event. The Merovingian is busy being a dickhead to his wife, who responds by appearing to be aroused, probably because his wife is played by Sharon Stone, who I believe has something of a limited repertoire.
The cop has now arrived at Patience’s workplace, ostensibly to return her wallet, but really because he is now in love with her and wants to ask her out to a meal. Don’t ask why, there’s no answer that you’ll like.
It’s all much better than I remember though, no-one’s said anything too too cringey just ye-
What. Some guy refers to the cop as a “man sandwich”, supposedly to convey the idea that he’s attractive but in reality only managing to convey the idea of a man trapped in some bread. Or possibly that he’s slightly doughy. Or high in carbohydrates. Whatever, the point is that no-one has ever used those words in that way in the history of ever, primarily because it would make no fucking sense. We have also just learnt that the writers of Catwoman have never met a real life gay man.
Alright, that was pretty stupid, but at least Patience’s pretty — uh, I mean, plain: this is Hollywood we’re in now — friend hasn’t turned into a mushy pile of hormones just because a mildly attractive man appeared. Oh WAIT, she totally just did.
Is this good use of police time anyway?
Couldn’t he have left her wallet at, you know, her flat, where he was, and where the wallet was? MY TAX DOLLARS PAY YOUR WAGES, COPPER or would if I lived in America.
Ugh, and now with the romance. I may as well finish this glass, since I already poured it. It’s fine, you can’t be drunk if you’re still using (non-plastic) glasses.
There is so little chemistry onscreen that the film failed to develop properly. For some reason the soundtrack here has been lifted from a no-budget uplifting teen drama about overcoming discrimination. Meanwhile: Jokes!
MEANWHILE AT SOME SHADY PLACE PATIENCE HAS TO GO TO FOR SOME REASON
Seriously? I know the reason. But it’s a stupid reason. Knowing the reason won’t make you happy. Have a small packet of crisps instead, or a cookie.
But yeah, this place is pretty much a crappy supervillain’s lair. Some people are watching a supposedly terrifying supposedly secret presentation on how some beauty cream is addictive. If you stop taking it, you’ll get a skin condition, and it gives you a headache sometimes. On the other hand, it literally reverses the aging process of skin. So this cosmetics company has invented a product that could potentially dramatically reduce incidences of skin cancer (yes, I know the product wouldn’t really work) throughout the Western world, making them the bad guy.
Anyway, according to soon-to-die-lackey-with-a-conscience, having a skin condition is exactly the same as being a MONSTER.
Aaaaaand we’re back at the start. Patience floating face-down in water, ‘dead’. We could probably have skipped 90% of the last fifteen minutes, and she hasn’t been narrating or explaining how she knows all this shit since the start. Sloppy writing.
Question: Why would you use bad CGI to show a cat meowing instead of, I dunno, simply showing a cat meowing? Cats do that shit practically all the damn time.
This pivotal scene can be summarised as follows: there are some kitties, and then she is a magic dude.
Should probably point out that in the comics, Catwoman was not magic.
So now we have reached the second part, and I am honestly flagging. I’ve had a glass of cheap red wine, but I’m not drunk, so technically I am succeeding. Kinda. It really is just…boring though. I’m sorry that you guys have to read it, but at least it’s faster and less mind-numbingly dumb than the actual film. And will hopefully deter you from watching it out of morbid fascination.
Act 2: The Hero-a-ning -
Patience jumps up her fire escape and smashes her window in because fuck doors.
I approve. This is the best part of the movie so far.
Then some actual plot happens. Patience meets a woman called “Ophelia Powers” and sees nothing suspicious in her name, or in the fact that she lives in a wizened old country house unceremoniously plonked in the middle of a major city. Ophelia is also a stereotype of a crazy cat lady, by which I mean she keeps to herself, doesn’t endanger herself and others, and hasn’t started walking like she’s in an appalling music video just because she caught a whiff of bad cat breath.
Note to Halle Berry (she’s been following this blog for a while now): you cannot jiggle your arse that much while walking and look normal. Those are two things that do not go together.
Patience suddenly likes cat-nip, she falls long distances onto her feet without suffering damage, sleeps on a shelf, and can leap tens of feet into the air.
Obviously, she tells herself everything is fine, as you would, and goes to work, where she has a painfully contrived confrontation with the Merovingian.
The cop, who it turns out is called Tom Lone (“Nah, Tom Wolf is just too obvious. We have to find something more subtle.”) is lecturing enthusiastic inner-city kids on morality while toting a basketball.
FUCKING SUBTLETY YOU FUCKING GUYS THIS ONE THIS GUY IS THE ONE WE’RE SUPPOSED TO LIKE
But yeah, subtlety is just a fancy word for un-American, so we’ll let that slide. Then we see some unconvincing basketball tricks from Halle Berry (unless you’ve recently leapt out of the way of an oncoming steam train that mysteriously never quite materialised, it’s unlikely that you’ll be fooled by the cuts, stunt doubles and terrible CGI on display here).
Oh god. And then Halle Berry gets all inappropriate with Tommy Gun in front of the bloody kids. Stop it you guys. They’re kids, they’re not stupid. Insipid R’n’B wank standard (wandard? wankard? stank?) Scandalous plays in the background. It seems a lot like a bad 90s music video, but then a lot of this film seems to be like a bad 90s music video.
Everything takes ten times as long as it should. We’re forty minutes into the film, and very little significant development has occurred. Maybe it’s like the Madame Bovary of superhero films, we’re supposed to find it boring, that’s the point. It’s a comment on the bourgeois nature of the superhero? Well that just plain makes no sense.
I have a second glass of wine, because I have to. Don’t judge me. You don’t get to judge me. No-one judges me.
Then I watch Halle Berry shout at some ‘metalheads’ who appear to be listening to soft rock. And Scandalous plays again, because god knows no-one can get enough of that vacuous dreck. She really doesn’t appear to be able to act at all, and — oh no, oh no, oh no, she just made a “purrfect” pun. Why?
Why can’t she act? Why are there jewel thieves already in this shop? Why are we in a shop so quickly? Are these ordinary thieves supposed to make her look morally better by comparison? Wait, she can dodge freakin’ bullets?! Bad Special Effects? More puns? Is that much arse and boobage really necessary?
Fuck this, I’m finishing this bottle.
Oh wow! She’s on the internet now, googling “cats + women”, and geocities is dominating the results. There is a warm glow of nostalgia (wine) enveloping me right now. You remember geocities, right? Good times.
She clicks on a link, and is surprised to find out it contains nothing she’s interested in. Except, if you look at the screenshot I took, you can actually read all the relevant information all down the right-hand side of the screen. She chooses to ignore this, and shakes her head in exasperation at the amusingly dressed cat.
1) What was she expecting from clicking a link that read “Women’s cat lover’s club”? The Necronomicon?
2) Why is this club women-only? Cats are excellent people. Um. Cats. Whatever.
3) READ THE STUFF ABOUT THE PHARAOHS, PASHT, DEATH RITES AND ANCIENT SECRETS THAT’S CLEARLY VISIBLE ALL DOWN THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE, YOU FOOOOOOOOL.
4) Hehe. Kitty glasses.
In despair at the internet’s helpfulness going straight over her head, she goes back to the cliché cat lady. Probably the best character simply by virtue of having the fewest lines of any major player in the ‘plot’, and thus the fewest stupid lines. There is a kind of awkward semi-feminist wicca-lite thing going on here.
At this point I realise I am powerful hungry, and set off in a sort of interlude to find as much meat as possible, as cheaply as possible. This turns out to mean a kilo of ASDA’s finest pig’s liver for under £1. I cook and eat about half of it.
Do not eat half a kilo of pig’s liver.
Act 3: The Beplottening -
Wandered down the offie when I realised that we were starting out on a ten minute talk about stuff the audience had already been shown. Returned just about in time for some actual plot; turns out someone tried to kill her, and she wants to find out why.
We knew this from the start, and even Catwoman actually knows why — she was somewhere she shouldn’t’ve been and learnt too much. We were all there. We saw it. Why is the film pretending we weren’t and didn’t?
I’m genuinely distressed by this, or possibly by the half kilo of pig’s liver.
On which note, at this point I’ve gotten so bored I’ve started throwing the rest of the pig’s liver around the room (it’s not good liver, don’t worry). 1 point for off the wall and in the bin, 2 points for straight in the bin, 2 points for bouncing off two walls and hitting the bin, 5 points for bouncing off three walls and landing in the bin.
All pretense of feminist ideals is now abandoned in favour of lascivious perving over Halle Berry’s arse for a good few minutes. There’s some CGI. It almost goes without saying that it’s awful, but it doesn’t quite, so I will; it’s awful.
They could rename this Sexy Bondage Girl Violently Attacks Some People Who Sort Of Almost Deserve It and I might enjoy it a bit more. What is this bullshit?
Pig Liver Points: 7 so far. Walls getting a bit bloody.
Have invented new level of drunkenness: pig-liver-chuckin’ drunk. Inordinately proud of it.
Oh god, “Cat got your tongue”? Really? You had no reason to do that to his tongue. It was just to do the line. You look like an idiot, stop doing absolutely everything in the most inefficient way possible. I should point out that she’s been fighting people who are essentially irrelevant for a while, but is now facing off against cop/boyfriend/Tom G Warrior. He appears to be belatedly making connections between his newly sassy and independent girlfriend who’s acting a bit like a cat and this strange woman who dresses like a cat and looks exactly like his girlfriend only wearing less.
Which isn’t how disguises work, but hey. As long as there’s some good ol’-fashioned sexploitation on-screen, I’m actually not very happy at all.
My notes here get a little bit incomprehensible. It’s a bit like reading an apocalyptic log, especially with all the pig-blood and wine stains on the paper. I have made a few explanatory notes in parenthetical italics.
Catwoman literally could not sound more (?suspicious?) as she explains that she has some ‘business’ to take care of.
Squelchy porn bass ‘n’ arse. (Unsure if this refers to squelchy porn, bass and arse, squelchy porn-bass and arse, or squelchy-arse bass-porn. Or all three.)
What. Why are the Cirque de frickin’ Soleil here? WHY?
Gah. Cats can not run up walls like that. I notice my new bottle is empty.
Worst cop ever. IT’S YOUR GIRLFRIEND!
“I knew I felt a spark between us” — really? The cable? And the spark? Your boyfriend is for once, correct and smart. You will accidentally (? -?- ?) both of you to kingdom come with that loose high voltage cable. Speaking of Cable, where are all the comic book characters, anyway? Why is this ridiculously contrived ‘supervillain’ all we have? (Having rewatched this bit to find out what I was talking about, it turns out I meant Sharon Stone: Sharon Stone was the evil one, not the Merovingian)
Wait, her skin’s so y(oung that it becomes impenetrable. I remember this because I was still angry about how stupid this was when I woke up the next day [I was also angry about natural light and having to walk places and do stuff, to be fair]. I just never finished my sentence)
God this cop is dense. Your girlfriend is eating sushi like crazy, and she’s talking about catwoman like she’s in love with her. Surely he’ll arrest h-
Nope. Music-video sex, instead.
Damn you, Tom Dangereux!
I bounce some especially spherical pig’s liver off three walls and in! SCORE! Unfortunately I’ve lost track of my points.
Well, the villain is an older woman driven mad by jealousy and excessive use of beauty products. Women, eh?
I think that feminism is off the table.
Somewhere along the line I lost my shirt. I now look a lot like a member of Turisas.
Act 4: The Endening -
Well, Catwoman eventually got caught by being more of an idiot than her idiot cop boyfriend.
However, she escapes by cunningly sidling through the extra wide bars. No-one else ever thought of that. I’m suddenly reminded of an old French & Saunders sketch about Hannibal Lecter.
Our heroine steals a car due to a stranger’s admittedly kind of dumb concern for a woman who just fell several stories and got hit by a car without being damaged. This serves to solidify the antipathy I feel towards her, and the apathy I feel towards her goals. (I did not spell these words quite this well in my original notes.)
Beauline (the name of the beauty product that makes people’s skin so young it’s invulnerable) would make everyone superheroes, dammit! This is the same problem The Incredibles had only it’s not marketed towards children (I hope) and it has none of the jeffing charm.
Nomination for most stupid dialogue of all time: Tom Ahauke-Missile catches out the supervillain in her evil schemin’ ways (partly because Sharon Stone cannot stop seducin’ even when her freedom depends on it). Witness:
Tom Bombadil: You just told me it was you.
Sharon Stone: Now why would you believe it was me?
Tom Rockhard unfortunately fails to pick up on how brain-twistingly stupid this is.
People I don’t care about keep hitting each other. (This would be a good name for a pacifist’s blog)
“And what are you? A hero? A thief? A freak?”
What’s most hilarious about this trailer-bait and obvious line-setting-uppity is that Patience McStupidPants fails to seize on it and deliver what could’ve been the only instance of decent writing in the whole stupid movie.
Ack. Sharon Stone dummy.
She fell down. Very unconvincing. She falls for what seems like a good twenty seconds, and flips over maybe once every two seconds. If she’d only nailed the landing we could’ve had an olympic diver on our hands. Only because she’s made mostly of fabric and light-weight woods, but still.
She doesn’t splash as much as I thought she would, given how far she fell. Trying to keep it PG, I assume, except that that ship sailed the instant you outfitted Catwoman exclusively in impractical fetish gear and focussed the camera on her half-exposed butt for ninety minutes.
Michelle Pfeiffer wore practical fetish gear. Totally different thing.
And bad CGI and cut to Halle Berry’s arse and…scene.
Well. I failed. I don’t really believe that it’s possible to watch Catwoman sober, though. Throwing offal around the room was probably excessive, but…actually, no. It wasn’t. Drunkenly throwing offal around the room is exactly how Catwoman makes me feel, and I regret nothing.
What Happened Next?
The writers of Catwoman were found years later, drained of all their bodily fluids as a precautionary measure against them ever successfully making a mark on anything ever again. On closer examination they appeared to be pubescent bonobos, which explained rather a lot.
The sound editor was later revealed to be an avant-garde philosopher exploring the nature of meaninglessness and despair against a backdrop of spiritual emptiness. His impressionable nature and simplistic beliefs ended up getting him hooked into a death cult. Two people showed up at his funeral by mistake, looking for a Denny’s.
The director was gently asphyxiated as an act of kindness. In the event that he understood what was happening to him, he seemed to welcome it, smiling gently as he left a world he never comprehended.
The actor who played Tom PHROAAAARRRRGH has continued to be an extremely wide man and act in bad movies.
Halle Berry remains at large.