I just finished watching Catwoman on DVD. This is the movie that Halle Berry starred in last year, and which received pretty much universally terrible reviews.
And you know what? I liked it. I liked it quite a lot, actually. And now I’m a bit angry…
I originally wanted to watch the movie when it came out in the theatre. But it received such bad reviews that I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me, and I started to doubt that it would be fun anyway. I mean, it was rated by viewers as a 2 or something on the Internet Movie Database. How could so many ordinary viewers be wrong?
As I say, I saw the movie last night, and again today. It was fun: an interpretation of the Catwoman myth brought to life with a very sexy star (Halle Berry) who really seemed to “click” with the right cattitude. The main love interest felt real- the duality of the fragile Patience Phillips/dominant Catwoman character realistically attracted the male lead. The “evil” in the movie wasn’t ridiculously over the top like the Joker in the original Batman- it was an almost believeable kind of corporate evil, played out well by Sharon Stone and Lambert Wilson.
I can see where comic book purists would dislike the movie: it lept off into a different story line entirely from the comic books. Mind you, the comic book Catwoman has had a ton of different “lives” over the years…as has the Dark Knight himself. But I’ve talked enough to comic book “people” to realize that they develop their own mythology about their favorite characters, and violating “canon” is the ultimate sin.
But rating this movie as a 3 out of 10? Rating it lower than the Hulk? Good freaking God, no! I watched the Hulk, and charitably it is at best nearly as good as Catwoman…. And Matrix: Revolutions rated higher than the Hulk! The Hulk at least didn’t take itself seriously…there were people who wrote PhD thesis on the Matrix! Yet Catwoman rates barely half the score. Why?
Frankly, I believe its a culture of “cool”. Its cool to rip into something, and its a lot easier to be over the top when you don’t like something. And its really cool to sit around and bash a movie with your Latte sipping, iPod listening wannabe “friends” than it is to form your own opinion.
Interesting fact: of the 6000 or so people who rated Catwoman on IMDB over 2500 rated it as a 1 out of 10. Rumour has it that many of those “1” votes came in before the movie was released. This review by “Unemployed Critic” (thank god he’s unemployed) came in a full *week* before the movie even released. What the heck is up with that? I guess even unemployed assholes can get into advance screenings…
How would I rate Catwoman? That’s somewhat meaningless without some context…so let me give you some context by looking at my rough personal ratings for similar “fantasy” type movies. I’d rate the first Matrix as an 8 out of 10. The third Matrix as 5 out of 10. Spiderman as an 8 out of 10. Spiderman 2 as an 8 out of 10. X-Men as an 8 out of 10. X2 as 6 out of 10. Batman (the first movie) as 8 out of 10. Batman Returns as 7 out of 10. Batman Forever as 6 out of 10. Batman and Robin as 5 out of 10. The Hulk as 5 out of 10. Princess Bride as 7 out of 10.
I’m admittedly not a harsh reviewer. And I place particular importance upon the use of that word: review. Notice I don’t say “critic”. I don’t go to movies to “Critique” them: I go to enjoy them. Critics, as a breed, are pathetic and worse than useless for the purpose of helping me form an opinion. Their role in life is to sound smarter than they really are, smarter than the movie producers, the actors, and all of the viewing audience. The reality is that they are, generally, useless wastes of oxygen: they weren’t good enough to direct, produce, act or write. No one even thought they were good enough to edit. So they criticize. If I were dictator, I’d line up the lawyers first in front of my firing squads, then the movie critics.
A movie that I give a score of 5 to is one I could have seen or not seen and not felt one way or another about- it didn’t make me retch, but I wouldn’t strongly recommend it to a friend. 8 out of 10 is a movie I’d recommend even to someone who doesn’t like the particular genre. Very few movies I’ve ever watched rate higher than 8. A fair number list lower than 5: movies like Krull, or Dungeons and Dragons fall into that category, movies that I’d actually tell people *not* to see.
Catwoman…I’d rate as 7.5 out of 10, although I should make that 10 out of 10 because of the sheep effect. I’d recommend it to people who were turned off by the negative press but who generally like movies based on cartoon mythology.
I’m angry because the negative press generated before the movie even released made enjoying it in a theatre with a friend difficult. I’m also angry because I imagine Halle Berry will be resistant to future roles playing a comic book character, which would be sad: she’s good. And I’m disappointed because, frankly, I’d like a Catwoman 2.
All you folks who honestly disliked the movie…you are entitled to your opinions. The rest of you who formed your opinions based on the “buzz” and then parroted those opinions as if they were your own…I’m sure there is a special place in hell for people like you.