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Warner Home Video presents
Catwoman (2004)

"The day that I died was also the day I started to live."
- Patience Phillips (Halle Berry)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: January 11, 2005

Stars: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Sharon Stone
Other Stars: Lambert Wilson, Frances Conroy, Alex Borstein, Kim Smith, Michael Massee, Bryon Mann
Director: Pitof

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action-related violence, sensuality
Run Time: 01h:44m:07s
Release Date: January 18, 2005
UPC: 085393145026
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D FC+B C

DVD Review

Up until the time I popped in Warner Home Video's DVD release of Catwoman, The Jerky Boys had a permanent lock on the top spot of the all-time worst movie I've ever seen. As of that moment, those "where are they now" crank-call lads may step aside.

In the spring of last year, my close friend Stan (a tremendous Batman fan) wanted me to take a look at what he deemed the worst trailer he'd ever seen: an unreleased teaser for this impending train wreck on a film-related website. All I could do after it ended was turn to him, stare in silence for a few seconds and utter "oh my God!" Maybe they could salvage it in re-shoots or through the miracle of editing, I thought. I hoped. I prayed.

A true sledgehammer-to-the-gut viewing experience, Bob Kane's classic comic book character is given a horrendously bad 22nd-century makeover in virtually every creative aspect. Want a master class in unnecessary editing? How about DVD chapters 1, 2, and 5 for starters. Or bad dialogue, you say? Try any Benjamin Bratt/Halle Berry exchange. Hokey special effects? Take you're pick, they're everywhere. ( I'm still trying to purge my mind of that giant, CGI-enhanced cat's head just before it breathes life back into our heroine; I don't think the original King Kong's head was that huge.)

Oscar winner Halle Berry gamely tackles the semi-dual role, which we first come to know as the aptly named Patience Phillips. ("Aptly" because patience and a bottle of Jolt Cola is what you're gonna need to make it through the next 100 minutes.) Patience is a shy, wallflower-type who works in the advertising department of Hedare Beauty, a cosmetics company. CEO George Hedare (Lambert Wilson) is putting the finishing touches on revamping his organization to appeal to a younger demographic, with wife Laurel (Sharon Stone) choosing to step aside as the longtime "face" of the brand, coinciding with the introduction of a new product that promises to reverse aging skin.

One night while snooping around Hedare's facilities, poor Patience mistakenly intrudes upon a private meeting between two company executives loudly discussing the intentional side effects of the new line. Trying to make a run for it, she gets locked inside the company's sewer system and winds up flushed into the East River (or Gotham City river or wherever). But wait, here comes that cat with the giant CGI-enhanced head! Aiieee!

As expected, Patience becomes a feline fatale, grappling with the problems of having all these new sensory abilities and sudden cravings thrust upon her when all the girl really wants is to get horizontal with hunky police detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt). But Lone's attention is soon diverted by a supposed criminal mastermind who's just committed a perfect jewelry heist.

The people behind this movie have taken a great character in Selina Kyle, just filled with all sorts of creative possibilities, changed her name and gave us a celluloid piece of crap with video game soul. I never thought I'd say this, but this Catwoman actually makes the Joel Schumacher Batman films look good.

Not wanting to end on a down note, here's a thought of hope: now that the Caped Crusader's ongoing cinematic legacy is in fresh and promising new hands (with this summer's forthcoming Batman Beyond), maybe, just maybe, in a few years time, fans will get the kind of movie Catwoman they so richly deserve.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: F

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2:40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Catwoman is not one of Warner's better first-run titles as far as picture quality. A highly unusual degree of "hot" (too bright) visuals mar the first few minutes of the film. But fortunately (or unfortunately, whichever the case may be), things clear up significantly. Colors seems undersaturated to me at times; at others, not bad. Sharpness is decent while black levels vary in terms of effectiveness.

Image Transfer Grade: C+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: As much as loathed the movie, I must give muted props to its audio mix. Though predictable in execution, the split surrounds with directional sound effects are impressive in the action sequences along with the nice, room-filling ambience of its decent score. Low end is okay with sub action only really emerging during the hip-hop tunes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Promo for WB Kid's The Batman, IMAX's Nascar 3D
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. The Many Faces of Catwoman
  2. The Making of Catwoman
  3. Additional Scenes
Extras Review: Believe it or not, I have one major rave about this disc in the form of the extremely entertaining The Many Faces of Catwoman, a 30-minute documentary hosted by music legend and Batman TV series alumnus Eartha Kitt. Covering the history of the character from its inception to her unfortunate 2004 re-birth, it's loaded with lots of interesting trivia tidbits, classic comic book art, vintage clips from the adorably campy 1960s ABC series (is there finally light at the end of the tunnel for this show to debut on DVD with the appearance of these excerpts?) and interviews with author Susan Colon (Catwoman: The Life & Times of a Feline Fatale), D.C. Comics' Paul Lovitz, Tim Burton, Adam West, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and my personal favorite of all the females to slink into the catsuit, Michelle Pfeiffer (whose clips from Batman Returns still look so good; it's always been a big disappointment that her long rumored '90s era solo-turn as Catwoman never came to be).

Padding out the disc are a perfunctory "making-of" and a handful of forgettable Additional Scenes (one of which involves Patience outrunning a pack of angry dogs in a junkyard that isn't half bad).

Faces rates an A- while the behind-the-scenes and trims only musters a D, which rounds out a final extras grade of around...

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

When Sharon Stone can't transform a bad movie into classic camp, it's a lost cause.

 


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