§ January 23rd, 2005 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on

The Catwoman movie tricks you. It starts off okay enough…the opening credits montage reveals that there have been several “Catwomen” over the years, thus adding a Phantom-esque heritage to the character. Okay, fine, I can accept that. Then we get a few minutes of amusing character bits with Halle Berry as “Patience Phillips,” as it’s established that 1) she’s clumsy, 2) she’s shy, and 3) she’s walked over by her boss. I wasn’t expecting this to be a good movie by any means, but for a little while I believed it might be a reasonably entertaining bit of cinematic fluff.

And then the Catwoman-stuff starts.

She’s killed by the bad guy, and brought back to life by a mixture of live-action and CGI cats…then she’s running around walls and jumping from rooftop to rooftop in more entirely unconvincing CGI…and is it too much to ask for a single camera angle to be held for more than two seconds? I know all this jump-cutting is supposed to make it exciting, but all it does is upset my digestion. I’m old…I can’t handle this MTV-style directing all you kids are into.

It’s a shame, because the entire film isn’t terrible. Benjamin Bratt does a good job as the love interest/policeman “Tom Lone” (at least the script has the sense to comment on his “tough guy” name), the best friend (Alex Borstein as “Sally”) steals the show, and some of the non-CGI-“enhanced” action scenes aren’t too bad. Sharon Stone as the villainess acquits herself well enough, as she seems to realize the kind of movie she’s in and acts accordingly. Halle Berry herself is, as always, beautiful, but the final Catwoman costume (the one that almost has a top) is just as silly-looking as I expected. And while I appreciate that she was trying to mimic actual cat-movements with her actions and gestures…um, well, that set off the goofy-meter, and not in a good way.

Unintended side effect from this film: I never, ever, ever want to see CGI ever again.

The DVD does include a half-hour long documentary on the history of the character, narrated by my favorite TV Catwoman, Eartha Kitt. Included are brief comments from DC head honchos Paul Levitz and Dan Didio, the three ’60s Catwomen (Kitt, Lee Meriweather, and Julie Newmar), the man himself Adam West, Adrienne Barbeau (who provided the character’s voice for Batman: The Animated Series), as well as artist Alex Ross and comics writer Jeph Loeb, among others. It’s a fluff-piece, but a fun fluff piece, and probably better than the film it accompanies. My favorite bit: Halle Berry talking about her costume, about how it reveals so much skin in order emphasize her musculature and to leave her free to move. The reason not mentioned: getting guys to buy tickets.

In case you’re wondering why I’m talking about Catwoman now…well, blame Netflix. I’ll probably do the same with Elektra, once they rush the DVD to market in about four months in a desperate attempt to recoup losses from this turkey.

On a happier note, last night’s Justice League Unlimited was a lot of fun, particularly for those of us who are fans of DC Comics’ western heroes. Bat Lash, Pow Wow Smith, El Diablo, and, best of all, Jonah Hex (making his second appearance in the modern animated DC universe) all pop up, as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Batman find themselves stuck in the old west. As usual, TV Tome has a fine overview of the episode…one that helped me remember where I heard the name of the bad guy, Tobias Manning, before. (It’s the real name of the western-themed old Superman villain Terra-Man…how could I have forgotten?)

Another nice touch was Hex immediately identifying the three super-heroes as “time travellers.” Asked as to how he knew…”I’ve had an interesting life,” he says. A nice reference to 1) every time a superhero ends up in the old west in the comics, he meets Hex…even Swamp Thing has encountered Hex, sort of; and, of course, 2) the Hex series.

The episode ends with our three heroes stuck in the future…the Batman Beyond future, in fact. I didn’t care for that particular series at first, but it did grow on me…and it’ll be interesting to revisit those characters from the perspective of the new JLU series.

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