Warner Bros./Roadshow Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 99 mins .
Roadshow Entertainment . PAL
Patience Phillips (Halle Berry) is an everyday working stiff, an artist trapped in a graphic designer’s body she leads a dull life with nothing but her art to keep her from going postal on her domineering and arrogant boss, cosmetics magnate George Hedare (Lambert Wilson).
A chance meeting with detective Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) introduces the romantic angle to the movie but soon after meeting her dream guy Patience is murdered when she discovers a dark secret about a new anti-ageing cosmetic being promoted by her employer.
Snappy Tom time.
If the movie had ended here it would have been rather short (and some would argue, much better) but a mysterious and powerful cat spirit resurrects Patience into a super agile feline vengeance machine, Catwoman, who has a penchant for shiny jewels and always lands on her feet.
The original Catwoman character was part of the Tim Burton Batman universe and was played wonderfully by Michelle Purrfifer but this latest incarnation seems about as far removed from that world as possible. The writers have reinvented our feline friend into a modern setting without the dark and brooding sense that Gotham City gives the audience, blessing her with a love interest and only touching on her villainous intent.
Whether this re-invention is a good thing or not is left up to the viewer as this current adaptation of the Catwoman character is fluff and commercialism made flesh.
"It's disease in a jar, I wouldn't caulk a sink with it"
Catwoman on DVD is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and as you would expect for a big budget modern movie is enhanced for widescreen displays.
The overall video presentation of Catwoman on DVD is nothing short of stunning. Although the feature is only 99 minutes long, given that there is nearly an hours worth of extras on this disc taking up valuable video space compression artefacts are non-existent even during the usually susceptible fast moving action scenes.
The canned tuna shipments arrive.
Since the majority of the action in the film is set at night the shadows and black levels are perfect. Special attention has been paid to the leather Catwoman outfit and it shows up clearly in the dimly lit sets. The picture is sharp and clear at all times and there are none of the usual video glitches. The only exception to this absolute praise is that soft glow filter that has been applied to both female leads (Berry and Stone) when they are on screen but this is surely a deliberate effect and adds to the flavour of the movie even if it makes the picture seem a bit soft at these times.
I can happily give similarly glowing praise for Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track on this disc. All the channels in your 5.1 sound system will get a thorough workout while watching Catwoman, particularly the sub woofer. In some parts of the film the bass is very obvious and strong, the jewels heist and motorcycle scenes are stand outs in the sub woofer department.
Face mask = instant super hero.
The other channels get similar attention with the surrounds used effectively for environmental, musical and directional effects while the centre channel presents the dialogue with crystal clarity. Catwoman gives us an excellent example of a modern Dolby Digital 5.1 sountrack.
A fairly decent array of extras is present on this single disc edition of Catwoman.
Featurette: The Many Faces of Catwoman (29:44)
Hosted by the original Catwoman, Eartha Kitt, this documentary takes a look at the history of Catwoman from the original comics through her appearances in the Batman TV show to the modern version.
Featurette: Behind the Scenes (13:03)
Blatantly promotional in nature there is nothing really in this featurette to warrant a second look.
Additional Scenes (6:25)
The majority of the scenes presented here are re-shoots of ones that actually made it into the movie. Noteworthy is an alternate ending which are always fun to see.
Theatrical Trailer (0:56)
Nothing special to see here, move along.
With an emphasis on style over substance and a complete reinvention of the Catwoman character, this movie (and stars) may not be to everybody’s tastes but the whole video, audio and extras package of this disc is the purrrrfect example of what the DVD format is capable of giving us.