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The Garfield Movie: Is it Worth A Watch?

Garfield is on the big screen again with a new adventure in The Garfield Movie, but should you and your family go watch it?

The poster for The Garfield Movie.
The Garfield Movie stars Chris Pratt as the lead. Credit: Sony Pictures Animation.

The Garfield Movie follows Garfield and Odie on a grand adventure! The movie featured some interesting concepts and characters, but it had some major flaws that made the film lackluster.

Garfield: The Character and Franchise

Garfield has been around since 1978 in comic form, created by Jim Davis. These comics detail Garfield’s life with his owner, Jon, and Odie the dog. He is an orange tabby cat that is fat, sarcastic, and lazy with a love for lasagna and all food Italian, and a hater of Mondays. Jon is a cartoonist and Odie is a dumb puppy.

Some other established characters include Nermal and Arlene. Nermal is a grey tabby kitten who claims to be the cutest kitty in the world and constantly annoys Garfield and occasionally Odie. Garfield makes many attempts to get rid of Nermal by shipping him off to Abu Dahbi. Arlene is the opposite of Nermal to Garfield.

Arlene is a pink-haired cat in comic strips and cartoons who has an interesting romantic relationship with Garfield. They weren’t always together, and Garfield wouldn’t give her full affections and was often cheap when it came to dates. The two make fun of each other, but each like qualities of one another. Arlene and Garfield had a serious relationship later in comics, but they weren’t quite together in Garfield cartoons.

USA stamp with Garfield and Odie on it
Credit: Shutterstock/spatuletail

Garfield had many cartoons made, including two movies that premiered in theaters before the latest one this year. These movies and TV shows were consistent in Garfield’s character and established his distinct voice. The lazy cat remained just as described, but he would find himself in wacky situations he had to get out of. Even when there was more action within the episode or movie, the writers, animators, and voice actors still managed to keep Garfield’s personality intact. He had to run around but would still manage to portray his sarcasm and unathleticism.

Previous comics and media portray similar versions of Garfield and his friends, but does the newest movie do the same?

The Story of The Garfield Movie

Garfield as a kitten in a box of lasagna
Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

The Garfield Movie starts by establishing Garfield’s food-loving trait and laziness in the beginning with varying scenes playing out. Garfield orders food and eats a large amount in a short amount of time while Odie simply assists him in other shenanigans. This to me, and the audience in my movie theater, was the best part of the movie. This section had the most laughs out of the whole movie, which says a lot when it was only ten to fifteen minutes long.

The movie then gives a backstory on how Garfield ended up living with Jon and shows him in a flashback as a kitten. After abandoned by a mysterious large cat, he wanders towards a nearby Italian restaurant. This is where he meets Jon. Jon gives Garfield some pizza and then Garfield tears through the Italian restaurant eating almost everything in sight with only Jon noticing and trying to catch him. They go outside and after some tears were shed, Jon decided to take Garfield home.

I found the backstory for Garfield and Jon to be very heartwarming. The audience and I shared some “awwws,” and I expected to see more of this relationship. However, Jon is barely present or relevant for the rest of the movie.

Back in the present, Garfield and Odie get kidnapped after trying to grab a midnight snack. Two dogs take them, Nolan and Rolan, and tie them up to the ceiling upside-down in an abandoned mall. The two protagonists are hanging for a long time before a large cat comes to their rescue. This cat, Vic, reveals himself to be Garfield’s father, the same cat who left him in the alley.

Garfield, Odie, and Vic standing together in a dark room.
Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

After this “rescue,” they meet Jinx, who organized the kidnapping and Vic’s plan to rescue Garfield and Odie. Jinx worked with Vic in the past and blames him for leaving her behind on a heist for milk and getting locked up. She forces Vic, with the help of Garfield and Odie, retrieve the milk she is owed.

The two cats and dog go to a high-security facility to steal a large amount or milk. They end up doing another task for another character in the process in order to get into the facility.

The movie theater was pretty quiet for the rest of the movie, and I was too. It felt like the movie was trying too hard and not hard enough at the same time. It couldn’t decide which direction to go in.

The Plot Points and Characters

There are three major storylines happening in The Garfield Movie. The first being the main story with the milk heist. The second focusing on Garfield and Vic’s father-son relationship and what they don’t know about each other. The third revolving around two cows, Otto and Ethel, where Otto helps Garfield and crew into the milk facility for them to save Ethel.

The major milk heist plot followed through pretty well and help to build Garfield and Vic’s relationship sub-plot. The sub-plot with Otto and Ethel felt almost left unfinished. The concluded the plot line in what feels like a last second scene by reuniting Ethel and Otto, but the rest of the story flowed well together.

Garfield looking angry at Vic
Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

The introduction of many new characters in The Garfield Movie instead of using pre-existing characters was strange. The writers had many previous characters to work with, more than I mentioned. Instead, they insert new characters, each with a backstory that needed to be mentioned for context. I found this odd because it made the movie not feel like a “Garfield” movie. The Garfield Movie feels like it was for a different set of characters, not Garfield.

Garfield’s character and relationships with Jon and Odie are somewhat strange. Garfield has lost any amount of sarcasm and intelligence, while Odie gained these traits. The only moment that stuck out as Garfield is when he attempted to refuse the milk heist mission. The movie also displays no significant relationship between Jon and Garfield. The Garfield Movie seems to stray more towards these new characters rather than focusing on what they already had.

If you were looking at this movie from a non-children’s movie angle, the story feels unfinished. The plot was a little chaotic to follow, and the ending felt like the writers were attempting to quickly tie up loose ends they forgot about.

The film was also not very funny. Garfield is supposed to be a comedic character and idea. The Garfield Movie felt like it tried to be funny, but the jokes didn’t really land in the theater. I laughed maybe twice in the theater and heard the audience laugh possibly four times.

Garfield with an annoyed look
Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Overall Review

In my opinion, this was just another average kids’ movie with a big heist and a new take on Garfield and Odie. This movie’s key audience is children, and it does a good job of engaging with that audience. For those looking for a true Garfield movie, I would have to refer you back to the older shows and movies.

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