Saturday, April 16, 2022

Watch Party Watch: Catwoman (2004)

Watched:  04/15/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  first complete, end-to-end viewing
Decade:  2000's
Director:  some asshole who goes by "Pitof"

If I were teaching a class on superhero film, I would make Catwoman (2004) the half-way point of the class.  Chronologically, the movie arrives after Fox successfully put out two X-Men movies and Sony has delivered some Spider-Mans.  Warner Bros has shut down its Bat-franchise and will sometimes think about making a superhero movie, but everything you read in the press that WB is considering is still stuck in the idea that superheroes are campy and should be comedic, or is a reimagining where they'll use the name but everything else will be so changed, it will bear no resemblance to the comics.  

On the record, Warner Bros executives are saying they think that their properties aren't actually worth anything, except Batman.  But, for reasons that seem entirely tied to how executives very, very much liked looking at Michelle Pfeiffer in a vinyl catsuit, for years we'd heard a Catwoman solo movie should happen, but it never materialized.  And now its 12 years later and Pfeiffer is not doing this anymore, and Keaton is long-gone from the Bat films.  Which are dead.

But someone must have said "shit, we really need to do something.  Entertainment Weekly is pointing out we own half the superheroes, and we've killed Batman, and the Superman thing was too expensive and now Kevin Smith is literally giving lectures on how dumb we are", and so, almost as a placeholder, we got this movie.  

What's stunning, really is the absolute hostility to the original concept of Catwoman (she's a lady who wears a costume to steal stuff.  It's not rocket science or magic but this movie insists otherwise), as well as the film's hostility to basics of movie-making, women, cats, and the paying audience.  

This is a horrible, horrible movie, and it was a major studio release.  It's absolutely insane to ponder the "I don't give a shit"-ness of this movie that must have occurred when this thing was greenlit.  WB was basically angry superheroes were happening.

Thus - the director is a special FX director from France who has one name:  Pitof.  So, in no way, is that guy going to be a pretentious jackass with nothing to back it up.  There are at least six writers listed, so you know there were 14 more and no one is, in fact, in charge of the narrative.  It's a grab bag of worst-possible-choices and decisions, petty revenge fantasies, a complete lack of understanding of how anything in the real world works, a complete misunderstanding of the specifics of what Michelle Pfeiffer did and why it worked within a certain context, and furiously terrible ideas about cinematography that are literally nausea inducing.  

The ONLY saving grace of this movie is that Halle Berry is Halley Berry, and we can all agree on Alex Borstein.  Even Sharon Stone seems to be in b-actor mode, and that is not where she lives, but my god, what a thankless goddamn role.  Also, why didn't her character just get divorced?  Seems easier.

Anyway, there's a line here from how shoddy this movie is to the herky-jerky efforts of WB and their inability to get out of their own way with the DCU of movies that has been about... ehhhh...  50% okay movies with one or two good ones slipped in there since 2004.  And the absolute refusal to admit that maybe Marvel did the right thing by actually reading their own comics and working to adapt the parts that worked into a cohesive universe, stories, character-takes and strategy.

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