It was inevitable that one day Garfield would make it to the big screen. After all, he's one of the most popular and well-known comic characters, despite the fact that the comic strip itself seems to be repeating itself more often than not nowadays. Nevertheless, Garfield: The Movie is here and I enjoyed it as much as my cat allergies.
Okay, so maybe I didn't hate it that much, but Garfield is definitely a movie for children and only for children. It does have some funny moments here and there, but the comedy definitely skews toward the younger audiences, despite starring Breckin Meyer and hottie Jennifer Love Hewitt (once Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner break up, do you think he'll move on to a third Jen?). Most of the jokes involve our CGI-animated hero doing the silly things that cats do, which is funny for a little while but grows old really quickly. Throw in a sleazy television personality who kidnaps Odie the dog (thus forcing Garfield to get off his lazy butt to save him) and you know you've got a low-class version of Beethoven on your hands.
If you do watch this movie, the first thing you'll notice is that Garfield doesn't look quite right. As was the case with the live-action adaptation of Scooby Doo, Garfield doesn't look like the character we've seen for years in the paper or on television - he's computer animated. All of the other animals in the movie are real animals, but for some reason the director decided to make up his own design for the film instead of just use the standard, traditional animation that is instantly recognized around the world. Second, since Lorenzo Music died in 2001, Garfield is now voiced by Bill Murray, who, though funny in his own right, does not sound like the Garfield I remember from my childhood. In addition, his voice talent is wasted on dialogue that isn't even remotely clever.
Of course, I'm thinking too much into this movie. Garfield is a kid's movie and children will enjoy it. It isn't nearly as good as those animal movies from ten years ago, such as Beethoven and Homeward Bound, but little kids will still get a kick out of it. From a parent's perspective, it's relatively painless, especially since the movie only lasts for 80 minutes. Cat lovers may also appreciate it a little more than I did.
Garfield is a decent movie for children, but there are better options out there. Still, I'll cough up a fur ball if I even think that the studio is considering a sequel.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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