The Garfield Movie review

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Movie: The Garfield Movie

Production Company: Alcon Entertainment, Columbia Pictures

Director: Mark Dindal

Producers: Rachel Amanda Alterman, Justin Baldoni, Vanessa Choy

Scriptwriters: Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove, David Reynolds

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

Release Date: 24th May 2024

Running Time: 101 minutes

Certificate: U

Introduction: This latest re-imagination of the iconic character is one of the most frenetic films I have ever see, yet it still manages to include a little something for everyone.

Synopsis: After Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) is suddenly and unexpectedly reunited with his lost father Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Vic, Garfield and his canine companion Odie are forced into pulling of a heist by the villainous Jinx (Hannah Waddingham).

Analysis: When this project was first announced, it was met with wide-range mockery and criticism. Firstly, that they were even attempting to re-tread old ground unnecessarily and that the titular character would be voiced by no other than Chris Pratt who, not long ago at all, was chosen to voice Mario in the (spectacularly successful) ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’. It seems the origin of the annoyance is the same person being picked over and over again when other talent does exist. Given the runaway achievements of the latter film, it seems very unsurprising that that is what they have done again. Well, I have to say, he does a good a job as he could have in ‘Garfield The Movie’ in what was a much better and much funnier film than I had anticipated.

To compare it to Bill Murray’s versions would not be fair as they are simply too dissimilar, however I would say that this was ever so slightly sharper. In a way, the character of ‘Garfield’ means more to me than I give it credit for as ‘Garfield 2’ was the first ever film I remember seeing in a cinema; so there is that. The film by no means reinvents the animated wheel, but while it is on, it will more than suffice in entertaining all ages. The very best family films, whether they be Pixar, Aardman, DreamWorks etc, are always the ones everyone can collectively watch and get something out of it. This fits the bill rather well.

There is a (often exhausting it must be said) sense of chaotic energy and slapstick comedy at the forefront that the youngest of cinemagoers will be perfectly distracted by (the very young children at the screening that I attended seemed to be enjoying it). Part of me really wanted the film to just take a breath and slow down but the film is not aimed at me. It was also not a million miles away from what Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (the makers behind the ‘Spiderverse’ films) would do and it did remind me of their style and aesthetic.

However, what makes the film work is that is has references and gags for the adults (jokes about being put on hold and various film nods) that don’t feel forced or rammed down your throat which some films do suffer from. I’m glad to say that this felt far more relaxed and natural in it’s execution and I chuckled pretty consistently all the way through. There is also quite an effectively emotional story running underneath that I thought was really well handled and thought through. It had far more mature and grown up morals in the end which I found myself completely and utterly on board with emotionally; certainly not what I was expecting. ‘Garfield The Movie’ is a far cry away from the best family entertainment has to offer, but at least it gives all that will go an enjoyable enough time at the cinema.

In cinemas Friday.

Overall Rating: 7/10 – Respectable

Target Audience: U

Content Warning: vey mild threat, violence, language, rude humour

Recommendation: Yes