Box Office Failures Week: Catwoman (2004)

Covering this movie feels like shooting fish in a barrel, so let me say something mean about myself before I go full-on this film: whenever I let go of a particular powerful burst of flatulence, I like to yell out, “Benjamin Bratt!”

I feel better for telling you.

I love when Oscar winners follow up their critical darlings with absolute dreck. Like Jamie Fox doing Stealth after Ray. Or Cuba Gooding Jr. making movies like Snow Dogs after Jerry Maguire. Or, you know, Halle Berry’s entire post-Monster’s Ball career.

After Michelle Pfeiffer wowed audiences as Catwoman in Batman Returns, a spin-off was announced. It sat in development hell before Warner Brothers canceled Batman vs. Superman and needed a film to take its place.

Audiences today are spoiled by superhero movies. This is what we got in 2004 — even though if you told me this movie was made in 1996, I’d say, “Well, yeah.” Instead of comic referenced and audience-pleasing movies, we got loosely based upon slabs of pure ennui like this caper, which had a costume that didn’t even look like the comics, but instead showed the “sensual awakening of a sexy warrior goddess.”

Pitof, who directed this mess, said, “I checked out some to see how Catwoman is treated in the comics, to make sure that our Catwoman was in the same vein. But I didn’t want to be too influenced by the comic book.”

I’d say that the comic was never cracked open.

Instead of Selina Kyle, Catwoman is Patience Phillips, who works at Laurel Hedare’s (Sharon Stone) cosmetics company. She learns that the company is covering up the dangers of a new cosmetics line, so she’s killed but saved by a bunch of cats. This leads to a game of basketball with Benjamin Bratt, who plays a cop.

This movie cleaned up at the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards, winning worst picture, worst screenplay, worst director and worst actress, which Berry picked up herself, showing that she has a sense of humor. In her acceptance speech, she said, “I’d like to thank Warner Brothers, for making me do this godawful, piece of shit movie!”

Sadly, someone out there has to develop and maintain the web page for the movie at Warner Brothers. If you think your career is rough, you never had to redesign and keep the web page current for Catwoman.

Is that job any worse than the food artist who had to mold fruit into fake sushi for the date scene between Berry and Bratt? Why did it have to be sushi? Why couldn’t they just use sushi? Why did they even need to see the food? Instead, someone had to spend hours painstakingly making fruit look like sushimi.

It took fourteen writers to make this movie, a story that is supposedly about Catwoman but just rips off The Crow without the emotion. Pure junk on celluloid, this movie is a reminder that at one point, studios paid big money to make comic book movies and never once thought that the source material was worthwhile.

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