‘The Garfield Movie’ review: A painfully predictable reboot that’s far from purr-fect

Scene from ‘The Garfield Movie’

After nearly two decades, ‘The Garfield Movie’ marks the return of the iconic, lasagna-loving feline to the silver screen. Debuting in 1976 as a comic strip, the orange tabby cat has been reimagined in a film boasting an impressive cast of voice actors. Despite the potential for box-office success akin to its critically challenged predecessors, the latest adaptation of Garfield’s antics may leave audiences somewhat disappointed.

The Garfield Movie begins on a high, introducing us to Garfield, the lethargic, comfort-seeking protagonist (voiced by Chris Pratt), who is worshipped by his human, Jon (Nicholas Hoult), and his canine companion, Odie (Harvey Guillén). We are treated to a charming insight into Garfield’s younger years before he settled in with Jon. However, as it often happens in storytelling, this idyllic narrative is interrupted by the arrival of Garfield’s long-lost father, Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), bringing with him a host of problems.

The Garfield Movie (English)

Director: Mark Dindal

Cast: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult

Runtime: 101 minutes

Storyline: A domesticated Garfield finds himself on an unexpected journey outdoors when his estranged father comes back into his life

Although the film starts with promise, it soon loses steam as the story ventures out of the familiar setting and into an overdone adventure storyline. Despite the notable vocal contributions from actors such as Hannah Waddingham as the antagonist Jinx, the plot is saddled with predictability. The less-than-thrilling caper element of the film pales in comparison to more successful escapades like last year’s Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, and the main nemesis recalls the stereotypical villain, Captain Chantel DuBois from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

A scene from ‘The Garfield Movie’

A scene from ‘The Garfield Movie’
| Photo Credit: DNEG Animation

The abundance of obvious product placements from big names like Sony and Walmart to FedEx and Olive Garden, coupled with nostalgic musical cues intended for older viewers, gives the impression that the film, much like its central character, has prioritized easy revenue over creative effort. The animation does not offer groundbreaking visuals but may appeal to younger audiences with its vibrant colors and silliness.

Chris Pratt’s rendition of Garfield respects the classic attributes of the character, showing a significant improvement from his Italian plumber voice work in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Even the accomplished voice-acting talents of Samuel L. Jackson are not enough to uplift the material they have been given. And it’s best to not dwell on the trivial use of celebrity cameos like Snoop Dogg’s.

In the end, The Garfield Movie embraces a complicated and multifaceted approach rather than playing to its strengths. The result is an overcomplicated and chaotic film that may make even Garfield think twice before giving it his nod of approval.

The Garfield Movie is currently playing in theaters.

Leave a Comment