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Movies: Catwoman and Scooby-Doo

I just saw two really bad movies. That Catwoman would be bad I knew going in, so I didn't expect much, and I wasn't disappointed. OTOH Scooby-Doo surprised me a little by completely missing the point of the original animated series.

So, let's start out with Catwoman: They pretty much stumbled over every cliché in sight. It's the kind of movie you want to watch at ADHOC to have it picked apart in detail by everyone. If you have any ambitions unto writing, this is a must-see to find all those subtle details that can screw up a story that must have sounded really decent on paper.

It also finally convinced me that Halle Berry is a bad actress. She was just as bland and awkward as in the two X-Men movies, and had lines just as corny as there (but more of those). If you want a better movie along a similar theme, there are better takes. Off the top of my hand, I can think of Tomcat - Dangerous Desires, a cheap thriller with Richard Grieco, and Chameleon with Bobbie Phillips. Both are your typical made-for-TV fare, but they all have a story that, though not without its issues, makes for an evening's entertainment.

But Catwoman only works if you go in knowing you're gonna watch a bad movie and you wanna enjoy yourself laughing at the actors. I didn't expect them to be anything like the comics (not that the comics writers ever agreed on a history for Catwoman -- it pretty much changes every couple years), but essentially they took everything that was bad about the Catwoman character in Batman Returns and took out Tim Burton's unique style.

And if you went into this thinking that you were gonna see some strong female characters with the leads being Berry and Stone, and that you were going to have a nice little love story to go with this... Skip this movie and just go and watch the Birds of Prey TV show (like everything good, it got canceled after a season or two, so you can effectively watch it as a movie trilogy). It has Catwoman's daughter in it, so you can even geek out Batman-style.

In closing: If you need a drinking game, take some very low-alcohol beverage and take a stumbler every time there's a corny catchphrase or there's one of the obvious breaks between real-action and CGI... you've never had a better way to get completely drunk.

On to Scooby-Doo: The original was an animated series from Hanna Barbera with a very formulaic plot, that basically happened the same way in every episode. Our team of mystery investigators, complete with their talking dog, come across a haunted house/amusement park/castle and then investigate it for a bit. Half the team completely took the haunted happenings for truth, while the other half were mistrusting. In the end, the monster turned out to be someone in costume, and someone got unmasked as being somebody else. And then something would often happen to hint that maybe it hadn't all been faked after all.

This is basically the same structure you had in the British Avengers TV show. And what do you know, the remakes of both series screwed it up. Scooby-Doo basically just takes a stock hunt-the-MacGuffin mystery plot and goes with it. They kept the unmasking part, and that's the only innovative idea they had: The unmasked villain (played by Rowan Atkinson) isn't just another person, he's a robot controlled by Scrappy-Doo, Scooby's little sidekick from the TV-Show days. While my fanboy heart is bleeding at making Scrappy a villain, that was actually an idea I would've kept, because it remains true to the formula, but still contains a surprise for those parents who were fans and are now seeing this movie with their kids. Well, not anymore since I just spoilered it, but you get the idea :-D

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