2004
Rated: PG for violence, and mild language.
Genre: Kids/Family Animated Comedy
Directed By: Peter Hewitt
Running Time: 1:25
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 6/5/05
DVD Features:
None.
GARFIELD: THE MOVIE

 

I'm a Garfield fan. Yes sir, I love that orange fat cat. The comic books were pure innocent humor for adults and kids, and the animated series is classic, so I was expecting a lot of fun with the live action movie despite my surprise. It's a fun movie, and I just couldn't hate despite the fact many people did. It's a very nice guilty pleasure and has a lot of the usual innocent fun and Garfield is Garfield here. From the lasagna addiction, the laziness, his teddy bear Pooky, and his snive attitude and smug persona that makes him the fat cat I knew. And voicing him really well is the always talented Bill Murray, who sounds like he's having a lot of fun doing Garfield. Many people just didn't catch the reference to the great animated series through his presence and let me explain it. Lorenzo Music was the definitive voice of Garfield.

He's the only voice of Garfield that people recognize and or accept, so who sounds like him? Murray. Bill Murray's presence in the film is more for convenience than desire for his presence since he sounds a lot like the original voice of Garfield, the late Lorenzo Music. Music's was a voice that many young and old fans recognized as the definitive voice of Garfield from one of my favorite cartoons of all time "Garfield and Friends", and he's very appropriate for the role of Garfield, so Murray is a sport and does a great job for the voice of Garfield. Music's utter smug attitude gave children a true introduction to comedy,
humor that was both laugh out loud funny and harmless.

And most of the time this movie can also be faithful to the original comic books with John being outwitted by Garfield, and Odie who is played by a real dog, and a really adorable dog who must suffer Garfield's tyranny because he can't help but love him despite the torture. The antics are there as they have the love-hate relationship Garfield fans love to love, and its fun to watch all the hijinks between them. And the humor is still there with some really funny sequences including the scene where Garfield switches John's food, Garfield torturing John relentlessly, and the last scenes of the film where Garfield keeps pushing Odie off the couch which just had me chuckling. All the while the spirit of Garfield is very resonant here and I couldn't help but like this movie and see it as an innocent way to kill some time.

Now, I write this non-objectively, but very subjectively, I confess. I write this as a very pissed off Garfield fan. This movie completely disappointed me by every reach of my expectations, and yes I saw the trailer, and I had expectations that maybe, possibly, this would be a manifestation of my beloved Garfield on the screen. But it wasn't. I spent many an hour reading the utterly hilarious Garfield comics, and spent many a day watching the legendary animated series that many people my age spent watching every Saturday, but god was this disappointing. I can forgive the mere inconsistencies shown by the trailer, but I entered this optimistically and hopeful, and I was kicked in the stomach by its range of disappointments. My first omen should have been a sign to my common sense when I saw in the trailer this movie is headed by two bland actors: Breckin Meyer, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, and boy do they deliver in the bland department! They're bland like flavorless pound cake.

Meyer has never had much of an appeal when he takes on roles in movies, and he's especially never a presence in the movie's he's been in like the awful "Kate and Leopold" and the equally awful "Road Trip" and is completely miscast as John. In both the comics and cartoon, John was a nerdy, neurotic, and really geeky cartoonist who constantly tussled with Garfield almost as adversaries. John would try to outwit Garfield and vice versa and that was the spirit of the idea, and it's not shown here. John is not a cartoonist (it's never shown what he does for a living), and the way Meyer portrays him is often as nerdy, impish, and a major pushover subjecting himself to Garfield's tyranny which is never really emphasized on, then there's Hewitt who has always been bland and contributes nothing as the love interest Liz in this movie often smiling and giggling and really showing no real personality and devotion to her character from the comics. And the changes continue with the likable characters being shown all wrong.

Nermal was originally Garfield's opposite, a female obnoxious cat who was all touchy feely, and Garfield loved to torture her, and here she's a he, and is dumb. It disgraces the fans but it's a shame this was altered for kids instead. What made Garfield so funny was because both kids and adults could enjoy it. Garfield is just too crude here to be considered a close representation of the Garfield I know. Pairing him with an innocent adorable dog makes him in to a bully some kids might grow to hate. And the gags run dry as Paris Hilton's brain, and the writers don't really know what to do with Garfield so give him too much out of character things to do. I mean come on, Garfield dancing to "I Feel Good", and the Black Eyed Peas? Oh please, now that is the sign of a screenwriter running out of material, folks. And what was with the musical number? It makes no sense for Garfield to break out in to song when no one else does during the film. And as always, the writers feel the need to take our character and put him out in to the real world for a big adventure which isn't really that big or fun. And Garfield fans everywhere wept.

To any Garfield fans who feel obligated to watch this hoping for a great movie, then you're out of luck and you're better off watching the 1988 cartoon which is on DVD, but to those with objective minds, then there's hope with this because it's a guilty pleasure. It's fun, occasionally funny, and likable. And Murray is great as Garfield and sounds like he's having fun doing it.

  • When Garfield is hiding in Happy Chapman's office he's standing next to a clown head. This is a possible reference to the animated series in which one of Garfield's nemeses was the obnoxious but funny television clown Binky.

 

 

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