Blu-ray Review: Catwoman: Hunted
Directed by: Shinsuke Terasawa
Written by: Greg Weisman
Starring: Elizabeth Gillies, Stephanie Beatriz, Jonathan Banks, Steve Blum, Lauren Cohan, Keith David, Kelly Hu
Reviewed by: Eric Joseph
Thanks to WB for the review copy.
“In the all-new original Catwoman: Hunted, Catwoman’s attempt to steal a priceless jewel puts her squarely in the crosshairs of both a powerful consortium of villains and the ever-resourceful Interpol, not to mention Batwoman. It might just be enough to contain her. Or not.”
Although Catwoman has most certainly appeared in her share of tales across all forms of media over the span of eight decades, I can’t help feeling she’s been overshadowed by Harley Quinn’s popularity in recent years. I mean, I love the Clown Princess of Crime in her own right, but Selina Kyle is my favorite female character. Period. And having said that, I, for one, think an icon such as her deserves more headlining gigs – and hopefully, they aren’t unmitigated trash like the live-action film released in 2004.
Fortunately for folks in agreement with me, Catwoman: Hunted is the first DC animated movie out of the gate in 2022. Granted, it’s not purely a WB Animation production like we’re used to seeing, but rather an anime brought to us from across the Pacific.
Now, I know this is when you’re going to bring up Batman Ninja, and rightfully so. After all, we were all waiting for that with cautious optimism back in 2018, only to be served a fecal salad. That flick is widely reviled for good reason, so I fully understand any trepidation you may have when it comes to checking out another DC-themed anime.
Hunted may touch on several anime tropes, sure, but it’s very accessible for fans of American-style animation. Like many others, I hated Batman Ninja – but good superhero anime movies do exist, like Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher. If you liked that flick – and you like Catwoman – then maybe you will dig Hunted just as I did.
Elizabeth Gillies brings the requisite sultry quality to Selina’s voice, and I certainly hope this isn’t her last turn as the character. Likewise, the feline fatale’s onscreen portrayal is just as sensual as it is dangerous; she’ll sometimes use her sensuality as a weapon just as she would use her whip. Suffice it to say, both prove to be effective tools in her arsenal.
I think it was wise not to include Batman in the story, as it would become incredibly easy for the piece to become all about him. However, we are treated to the inclusion of someone else from the Bat Family, that being Batwoman. She’s Selina’s reluctant partner in the mission to take down Leviathan, and it’s always cool to see other heroes from Gotham, be they Nightwing, Batgirl, Red Hood, or, in this case, Batwoman.
Bonus features are few but thoroughly entertaining. “When the Hunter becomes the Hunted” puts Catwoman under the microscope, with a focus on this iteration of the character. “Catwoman: The Feline Femme Fatale,” meanwhile, is an incredible documentary about her history in comics, TV, and film, and is worth the price of admission alone.
Though not a perfect movie, I don’t have any major complaints. However, I will say that I didn’t care for the score. On one hand, jazz music does befit Catwoman when she’s stealing jewels, but on the other, it’s very overused here. I would have preferred something more orchestral or electronic.
2022 may have one of the most eclectic and bizarre DC animated film slates in quite some time, but Catwoman: Hunted has gotten it off to a good start. Fingers (or claws) crossed that this home video release rakes in enough dough for Catwoman to get more solo outings. And while I did say Harley Quinn has been overexposed in recent years, I believe she deserves to get an animated movie based on the work of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. I won’t stop banging that drum until it actually happens. (The HBO Max series is close but not close enough.)