Wednesday, 25 May 2011



Every so often a movie comes out and, by some unspoken communion, everyone - critics, audiences, pundits, journalists - put on their special titanium-plated boots and kick the hell out of it in one uplifting, cathartic chorus of "It's The Worst Movie Ever Made!!!!!!" Which, of course, it never is. For two reasons: one, the worst movie ever made is The Summer Of The Massacre, and secondly, unless you've seen at least twenty of the so-called movies from the likes of Al Adamson, Ted V Mikels and Jess Franco, your petulant kickings of this season's decreed turkey are completely unfounded. Go and watch Vampire Killer Barbys or Dracula Vs Frankenstein, then come back and try and tell me with a straight face that Howard The Duck is still the worst film ever made. You can't, because it isn't. It's not very good, but there are so many worse out there.

Sometimes the targets are justified, sometimes they're simply not. 2004's whipping boy was, Catwoman, in which dowdy (!) and put-upon art designer Halle Berry overhears deadly corporate secrets at Sharon Stone's cosmetics factory, and comes back from the dead after a murder attempt when she's gifted with cat-powers. She promptly expresses her new cat-self by dressing up in black leather and sorting out the villains who are planning to launch an addictive and toxic anti-wrinkle cream, while trying to maintain a tentative romantic entanglement with the cop on the case of the recent spate of cat-like murders.

Yes, it's rubbish. It's flashy, overedited in the annoying modern manner, the dialogue is very ropey and the plot is silly. You could argue that Halle Berry is the wrong actress to play the lead, but who the hell is? Jessica Alba? Megan Fox? Roseanne Barr? It's Catwoman, for goodness' sake - we're not talking about casting Eugene Onegin. No actress in the world is going to make this kind of stuff believable. But I don't think any actor in the world can make Spiderman or Batman believable either. Given the essential silliness of all these superhero premises, it seems unfair to knock this one while Batman Begins or the Raimi Spidermans somehow get a free ride.

Catwoman is no worse than any of these movies. In fact, it's more entertaining than some, such as the overlong and frankly humourless Nolan Batman movies: at least Catwoman has something approaching a sense of fun, and the lead character isn't a bore. And it doesn't have the tedious romantic soap-opera teen angst of the Spiderman series where I consistently failed to give a toss whether he got off with Mary-Jane or not. In fact it's more along the lines of the equally silly, equally implausible, and equally disposable Fantastic Four movies. It's empty, it's flashy, it's stupid, but let's not pretend that it's raspberry material. There are so many films out there worse than this. I didn't particularly like it, and I'm not defending it, but I'm not joining in the kicking.


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