The Garfield Movie – REVIEW

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The Garfield Movie- Chris Pratt takes on vocal duties
Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt). and his dad (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) in THE GARFIELD MOVIE.

Fat, orange and with a disdain for others it would be easy to confuse Garfield for Donald Trump but the beloved comic creation (Garfield that is, not Trump) has been with us for fifty years or so with the comic strip syndicated worldwide. TV series and the first of two live action-animation hydrids that started in 2004 and ended in 2006. It’s an IP that is wrung for money once more with the now all animation The Garfield Movie .

With an origin story that sees the chubby feline having been abandoned by his father he befriends Jon Arbuckle dining at a restaurant who quickly finds the kitten has an appetite for lasagne and gives him a home alongside his pet dog Odie, a gormless wide eyed simpleton that could have been voiced by Brooklyn Beckham especially as he has no lines.  But rather than contain the story to Jon’s home this opens out into a series of action set pieces for kids when Garfield is kidnapped by Persian cat Jinx (Hannah Waddingham in another bad bitch role after The Fall Guy) in order to enact revenge on her ex-partner Vic (Samuel L Jackson) who also happens to be Garfield’s long last father who wants to reconnect with his son. Much of this is played out in flashback including that of a bull at the dairy they have to rob who is pining for his own long lost love trapped on the farm.

So whilst they enact their plan to steal the milk from the dairy the film moves firmly into action territory far from the snarky comic strip that inspired the film and seems to have ignored the core characteristic of the cat that made him so popular. It is Chris Pratt who is miscast as  the voice of Garfield that grates. His bright breezy chipper voice was ideal for The Lego Movie but is wholly unsuited for a cat whose appeal was world weary cynicism, sardonic asides and self centred indifference to others and its why Bill Murray’s voicing of the character in the 2004 film was such ideal casting.

Garfield’s owner Jon is side lined to almost invisibility ignoring the comic strips depiction of his frustration with the cat and its only really Odie who remains true to the original. The plus point is the animation itself which is very good but there is a sense that The Garfield Movie was a committee led script to appeal to those unfamiliar with the cat whilst  ignoring so much that made the character so good.

related feature : Chris Pratt & Elizabeth Banks introduce The Lego Movie 2 & take an audience selfie

related feature : Terry Gilliam talks to us about a Time Bandits sequel….

Here’s The Garfield Movie trailer….

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