Garfield is living it up with his owner Jon, eating lasagna and hating mondays. When Jon unexpectedly comes home with a new dog, Odie, Garfield is none too happy and aims to get rid of him. This ultimately leads to Odie going missing and falling into the clutches of the evil Happy Chapman. Can Garfield get Odie back before it’s too late? Find out in… Garfield: The Movie.
How?! Garfield and Jon are best friends even though Garfield is always making snide comments about what a loser Jon is. In another trip to the vet designed on wooing Jon’s crush, Liz, he misinterprets what he thinks is a request for a date and mistakenly adopts a dog, Odie. Oh no! Jon once again shows that he is a loving, caring owner of animals and seamlessly integrates Odie into his family, but Garfield is less than thrilled. He pushes Odie, smacks Odie, and embarrasses him in a dance-off in order to show dominance. This of course only leads to Odie winning a big dog show when he dances his little heart out to Hey Mama by the Black Eyed Peas (obviously). A judge at the show, the evil Happy Chapman, wants to use Odie to spring to fame, but Jon is having none of it. Soon thereafter though Garfield tricks Odie into running away and Happy is able to get his clutches on him as a result. Garfield kind of realizes that he was an asshole and goes to rescue Odie in Anonymous City. In a thrilling climax Garfield is able to stop Happy from taking Odie on a train to NYC and they all dance together as one big family. THE END.
Why?! I actually admire Garfield for keeping this story simple (and at a slim 80 minutes). No Garfield isn’t discovered by a Hollywood agent and whisked off to the fast-living ways of LA. No he doesn’t have to foil some jewel thieves trying to steal a diamond he accidentally ate. He just doesn’t like Odie (classic) and wants to get rid of him. When he succeeds at this, though, he realizes that what he did wasn’t right and aims to correct it.
What?! There are piles and piles of product placements in this film. The biggest is pretty easily Petco, which is the only one that plays a role in the pot. Not only does Jon come home loaded to the gills with solid Petco products when he adopts Odie, but the big dog show is also sponsored by the company. God there are so many more, though. A true smorgasbord.
Who?! Secret Twin Film! Yay! It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally we rack another one up for the good guys. Or I guess in this case the bad guys since the twins in question are the evil Happy Chapman and his news broadcaster twin brother. Also have to point out that if we had never seen Be Cool, where the Black Eyed Peas give a performance as part of the plot of the film, we would definitely have used this film to get Apl.de.ap for the map. All the members of the Black Eyed Peas are seen on TV showing a music video for Hey Mama. Fantastic.
Where?! Normally I would just say that this takes place in a purposefully unidentified Midwestern city that is likely a stand in for Indiana (given the origins of the comic), give it a D- for at least specifying the Midwest during a news broadcast and leave it at that. However, I do have to note that Wikipedia and many other places online seem to insist that this film takes place in LA. While it was obviously filmed in LA (duh), it very clearly states in the film that this is set in the Midwest. Two very different things. I just don’t know how such slanderous lies start on the internet.
When?! Ha, you think they’re going to specify a date in a film that goes out of its way not to identify where it takes place. No way. This is an F and I dare anyone to try to prove me wrong… seriously, if anyone else wants to close-watch Garfield and find when it takes place that would be helpful.
This movie is actually pretty much as good as one can expect from such a film. Sure it has dancing animals and lame product placement, but it’s also only 80 minutes long and stays pretty true to the snark of Garfield as a character. I could imagine having to go see this with my child and actually coming out not minding it all that much. While it is similarly derivative to Marmaduke, it more or less doesn’t fall into many of the same trappings that that film did. I give it a hardy “meh.” Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Garfield is a big old fat cat and Jon Arbuckle is his anti-body shaming owner. Will Jon get the lady? Will Garfield eat some lasagna? Will Stephen Tobolowsky’s eeeeeeevil plan to make Odie famous get foiled? I mean … yeah, we watched a kids’ film. Let’s get into it!
The Good – When they say a kids’ film is innocuous the movie they have in mind is Garfield. They introduce the character in his element, they focus the movie on Odie’s origin story (which fans have been clamoring for for years …) and really don’t venture out of Garfield’s Midwestern box. Good move. The actors are all game, and shockingly Garfield’s CGI looked fine most of the time IMO. It looks terrible when he dances obviously, but when he’s walking around he looks surprisingly good compared to what I expected.
Ps View on the Preview – In the preview I couldn’t help myself in wondering why Murray was even in the film. Sure, Lorenzo Music is dead and sounds a lot like Murray, but replacing voice actors is a somewhat trivial thing and it was still somewhat of a wonder that they decided they needed a big name when the Garfield character already had a distinct voice. But … I think Murray brought a lot to the role. His warmth, charm, humor whatever you want to call it, something about it worked really well. This ain’t a Owen Wilson in Marmaduke situation.
The Bad – I kind of still wish they had downgraded Garfield’s voice and upgraded Meyer, who is probably a weaker part of the film. The story is just on the cusp of being too light. Any and all dancing sequences are just awful and they are almost relentless, the entire story concerning Odie involves the animals dancing. I don’t really have other complaints about the film. Even the B story (Jon in love with the vet) is straight from the comics, and Tobolowsky’s eeeeevil twin (twin film!) is just low-level enough to work as an antagonist to a literal cat.
Get Yo Rant On – To be frank I don’t really think I have a rant this week. This film doesn’t really have one. I’ll just quickly note here that this franchise is probably one of the last good examples of the cartoon character thing where you can tell they have strings pulling boxes, or blankets around, and Breckin Meyer has to pretend to pet Garfield and stuff. It looks real bad. Like you can kind of see the seams of the film. If you watch something like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone you can see it too (BTW not a very good film, kind of weirdly old fashioned for the time it was made).
The BMT – Nope, but mainly because the film is too good. The 15% on Rotten Tomatoes must reflect the times more than anything else, because it is shockingly low. It’ll go hand in hand with the sequel, which is a kind of logical conclusion to the fish-out-of-water comic strip adaptation, but the first one I think can merely be thought of as better than one would expect.
Welcome to Earf – Jennifer Love Hewitt was in Garfield and I Know What You Did Last Summer with Freddie Prinze Jr. who was in Wing Commander with Matthew Lillard who was in In The Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale with Leelee Sobieski who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!
StreetCreditReport.com – Probably the most cred you can find for the film comes from the anecdote about Bill Murray not realizing it wasn’t a Joel Coen film (it is a Joel Cohen film). Otherwise it usually gets on lists concerning movies based on cartoons, or bad CGI. But I stand by my point: at times Garfield looks surprisingly good all things considered, it only kind of looks bad when you reflect back on it or freeze the film.
We’ll save the A Talking Cat!?! chat for the sequels’ recap.