Revisiting the Reviled – ‘Catwoman’ is the Cinematic Equivalent of Clawing Your Eyeballs

GameStop, Inc.

Feminist or Fetishist Icon?

I’ve found while doing this column that no matter how bad I may find a certain film, there are always a few defenders. Super Mario Bros., Judge Dredd, and others all have the few who stand by the flawed films and find the hidden charms within – I kind of feel that way about Steel. Then there are the film that no one in their right mind can defend. I am, of course, talking about Catwoman. A notable commercial and critical flop, Catwoman did earn certain accolades – winner of 4 Razzie Awards out of 7 nominations. Halle Berry arrived in person, the first ever to do so, to collect her trophy for Worst Actress. While it is certainly easy to complain that the Razzies focus on low-hanging fruit, this one earned it.

Originally envisioned as a spinoff for Michelle Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle from Batman Returns, the film floundered in development hell for nearly a decade. Over a dozen screenwriters worked on the film in one form or another with 4 writers – Theresa Rebeck, John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, and John Rodgers – being credited on the finished film. On top of the chaotic writing process for the film, matters were compounded by the addition of Pitof as the director. The visual effects supervisor on Delicatessen and City of Lost Children, Catwoman would be Pitof’s first feature film as a director. For the French director, the language barrier certainly wouldn’t help.


CGC: Computer Generated Cat

Pitof was certainly unable to figure out a consistent tone for the work. Alternating between heavy camp and a deadly seriousness, Catwoman is as chaotic tonally as it is visually, and that’s extremely chaotic. Pitof’s direction borders on complete incomprehensibility. Judging by the constantly whirling camera, cinematographer Thierry Arbogast is probably still suffering from dizzy spells to this day. The editing, credited to Sylvie Landra, would likely have been the cause of countless epileptic seizures had anybody actually seen the movie. The film’s garish neon tones and borderline campy tone is remarkable because it was made after the disaster that was Batman & Robin, the film that killed Batman onscreen until Christopher Nolan resurrected the character in 2005.

The character of Catwoman as presented in the film is unlike any incarnation I’ve ever encountered before, taking on the abilities of a cat in the way that Spider-Man takes on the abilities of spider. The character is now infused with superhuman powers of agility and senses, not just a cat burglar in fetish gear. The origins of this incarnation are strikingly similar to the Catwoman origins in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns – a shy worker stumbles upon an evil plot by her corporate bosses who try to kill her and fail, so she takes on a new identity as Catwoman. The twist here is that this Catwoman was resurrected by the help of mystical cats from Ancient Egypt, who have been providing powers to Catwomen for a millennia. What’s really unforgivable is making Catwoman a split-personality disorder, where the actions of Catwoman differ from the actions of her shy alter ego. They completely dodge any moral complexity within the character.


The dire combination of inconsistent tone and incomprehensible visuals doom the cast. As the titular hero, Halle Berry is awful, but, in all fairness, she isn’t the first X-Men awful. Berry fully invests herself in the role of Patience Phillips and still falls woefully short. When she’s serious, she’s laughable; when she’s comical, it’s tragic; when she’s sexy, she’s not. Then again, nothing in this film works. Sharron Stone attempts to get one final gasp from her looks and not her acting abilities as the villainous makeup queen, Laurel Hedare. Lambert Wilson, cashing in on his brief stint of recognition following his role in The Matrix sequels as the Merovingian, appears as the philandering husband of Laurel, George Hedare. As the romantic interest of Berry’s Catwoman is Benjamin Bratt, a police detective with all the same mannerisms from his stint on Law & Order. MadTV alum Alex Borstein attempts to provide the film with comic relief, instead badgering the audience with a grating caricature. Then there’s Frances Conroy as Ophelia, the crazy cat lady who provides Patience with all the exposition necessary, and provides the film with oodles of unintentional hilarity.

What’s most baffling about the film is its tired generic view of women. The women in this film are jealous, superficial, materialistic, or just plain nagging. When Patience finally morphs into Catwoman, she steals a motorcycle and utters the line, “Time to accessorize.” She follows this by breaking up a robbery in a jewelry store and stealing all the jewels for herself. From this point forward, the claws on her costume are made up of diamonds. The villainous Laurel Hedare is afraid of aging and is pushing a makeup cream that reverses aging, the only side effect is the horrible scarring that occurs when the cream isn’t in use. The filmmakers use a form of digital smoothing on Stone’s face, only reinforcing the standards the film aims to subvert. The film plays out like a Men Rights Activist’s idea of female empowerment. It makes Sucker Punch look like it was written by Gloria Steinem.


Things I never thought I’d say: I liked it better in Daredevil.

Then there’s just the stupid cat stuff. Catwoman walks into a bar (this isn’t a joke setup) and orders a drink, “White Russian – no ice, hold the vodka, hold the Kahlua.” She downs the glass of cream and licks the milk moustache from her face, as if they were hoping for a cross promotional Got Milk? campaign. Following a sex scene, the police detective has scratch marks on his back. When it rains, Catwoman seeks shelter because, you know, cats hate water. All of this is carried on ad infinitum to the point of tedium.

This is the kind of film that make you question the sanity of Warner Bros. executives. It’s absolutely insane to give a first time director from France a budget of $100 million – say what you will about Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Ressurection, which Pitof directed the second unit, at least he’d directed a few quality films before that. A chaotic film of clashing tones and incomprehensible visuals, Catwoman even features an homage to the playground fight in Daredevil – Patience and her cop buddy play a sensual game of one-on-one basketball in front of a group of cheering children. Pitof hasn’t helmed another feature film since, and Halle Berry’s status as a leading lady has never recovered. More than anything, it’s just another example of Warner Bros. inability to understand and properly capitalize on their comic book properties – the success of Nolan’s Bat-films seem like dumb luck. This kitten has been spayed, neutered, and de-clawed. Even Joel Schumacher looks down upon this one.




Anytime Costumes

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Lim Kay Siu Talks About His Role as Gyatso in Netflix’s ‘Avatar’

International Star, Lim Kay Siu talks about his role as Gyatso...

Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap’ Season Two – Interview

Legendary Actor, Ernie Hudson Talks ‘Quantum Leap‘ Season Two, 2-Hour Season...

Morgan Jon Fox Talks About his Card Collecting Documentary ‘The Hobby’

Morgan Jon Fox Talks About his Card Collecting Documentary ‘The Hobby‘...

Event News Event Reviews
Aiden Sinclair and Michael Rangel Talks ’57 Ghosts’ Aboard the Queen Mary Séance

Aiden Sinclair and Apparitionist, Michael Rangel Discuss their new Theatrical Séance...

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open ‘Slashers Axe Throwing’ – Interview

Luke and Madison Rhoades Open Orange County’s first ever horror themed...

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Ent. Host Immersive Christmas Experiences Across the U.S.

Charity Hill and Steve Sheldon, EPIC Entertainment Group Host Immersive Christmas...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Paralympian Swimmer Ahalya Lettenberger On The Road to Paris

Team USA Paralympian Swimmer, Ahalya Lettenberger is On The Road to...

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre – Interview

Ultimate Women of Wrestling Comes to the Globe Theatre on Sunday,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Valentine’s Special 2024: pt 2

Happy Valentines day, Sugar Beet!

Cultural Junkdrawer: I’m not a Swifty, but…

CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER I‘M not a Taylor Swift fan but…     This...

Fantoy Comics Presents: Valentines Special 2024 pt 1

Are you kidding? Look at the size of this thing.

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Chris Clews Is ‘Raised on the 80s’ and Shares Those Life Lessons

Chris Clews was ‘Raised on the 80s‘ and Shares Those Life...

Roye Okupe Brings Authentic African Representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network

Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...