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The Garfield Movie
          review by Bobby Blakey

Garfield poster.jpg

My all-time favorite cartoon character is Jim Davis’s lasagna loving last cat Garfield. The monotone cat has been bringing laughs in newspapers, books, comics, cartoons and everything in between since his debut in 1976. In 2004 he hit the big screen in the first of two live action features, but now he is finally getting the animated treatment with the feature aptly titled The Garfield Movie. The film features an impressive voice cast including Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, Cecily Strong, Harvey Guillén, Brett Goldstein, and Bowen Yang from Emperor’s New Groove and Chicken Little director Mark Dindal. Could this latest take on the famed cat deliver or will it be as bad as Mondays?

 

Garfield follows the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father – scruffy street cat Vic, Garfield and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist.

 

My love for Garfield had me both excited and worried to see this film. I have always been a firm believer that as brilliant as Garfield is he works better as a short form story. Even in his comics and animated series they always have featured multiple stories as opposed to one long one. This film goes all in to give us the back story of John and Garfield coming together as well as this new adventure. I did enjoy the film if for only getting to see Garfield on the big screen, but it didn’t fully work for me as I feared.

 

When I say it didn’t work for me isn’t that it’s a bad film, but just felt more generic than what I want from a Garfield story. They have crafted a film that brings all the tropes and jokes fans know from the fat cat’s iconic cartoons but throwing him into a full-on adventure felt off. Thankfully the story they did tell was still funny and entertaining. They took the idea, whether on purpose or not

to infuse Garfield into a world like the other Davis cartoon creation U.S. Acres even if just in homage form. Don’t get too excited as there are none of the familiar characters, just the farm idea.

 

I think one of my biggest issues is Pratt as Garfield. The rest of the cast was fine and over time Pratt was fine, but he just didn’t have the annoyed, bored tone that Garfield should have. There are times it felt spot on, but more often than not I just never heard what I think the cat should sound like. Garfield’s visual worked fine, but I think they made Odie a little too much like a regular dog as opposed to the long neck he is supposed to have. I never felt he was the same Odie and in turn could never connect with this version of the slobbering dog.

 

The animation is bright vibrant and beautiful, but I still maintain Garfield works better in 2D animation than this style. It looks and works fantastically, but not what I would prefer for this character. Maybe it’s because I love the older version of him and the old cartoon series, but I also think it’s weird with his mouth moving when he talks. I know that sounds strange, but it’s just what I expect from the characters in my old school brain.

 

I know I sound like I am ripping this film apart, but I am not. It is a really great film for kids, and I am so happy that Garfield is getting the space on the big screen he deserves. I enjoyed the film enough that I would not only watch it again with likely fresh new opinions now that I know where they went with it and certainly hope we get more in the future just because the world needs more Garfield.

 

Grab some lasagna and check out The Garfield Movie in theaters on May 24th from Sony.

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