The Garfield Movie

Director: Mark Dindal
Starring: Voices of: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, Cecily Strong, Harvey Guillen, Snoop Dogg
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Runtime: 101 mins. Reviewed in Jun 2024
Reviewer: Fr Peter Malone msc
| JustWatch |
Rating notes: Very mild themes, slapstick violence and infrequent coarse language

After Garfield’s unexpected reunion with his long-lost father, ragged alley cat Vic, he and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered lives to join Vic on a risky heist.

Once upon a time, the 1970s, Jim Davis created the cartoon Garfield. Then once upon a time, 20 years ago, two feature films with Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield. Now once upon a time, 2024, a big budget animated feature with a strong voice cast led by Pratt as Garfield.

Garfield has been described as ‘greedy, but with a heart of gold’. On the evidence of this film, ‘gluttonous’ (and the fastest gluttony we have ever seen on screen) would be more appropriate. And, as regards the heart of gold, this is not immediately evident. Garfield is smug and self-satisfied – though, a bit of a spoiler, he is finally redeemed, glimpses of his potential heart of gold.

The story goes back to Garfield when little, abandoned by his street-cat father, Vic (Jackson), and the hungry little creature plaintive at the Italian restaurant window where his about-to-be friend, Jon (Hoult) is having a lonely meal, opens the window. In comes Garfield and the pizza immediately is instantly munched! The beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Jon and his engaging dog, Odie, have long been popular in the cartoons. Jon, is the most tolerant of owners, and Odie the most generous of friends, setting up Garfield with heaps (understatement) of food, comfortable armchair, watching Catflix, not a care in the world.

Where could this story possibly go – actually, into quite a lot of action and plot. The story of Vic and his entanglement with a British show cat, Jinx (Waddingham), a plot to steal a milk truck, a tough police chief called Marge Malone (Strong), a bull in love (Rhames) and Jinx’s thugs. In fact, plenty of action, the truck getaway, police pursuit, and everyone on a train hurtling towards a bridge.

The emotional key to the story is Garfield’s resentment towards his father leaving, his discovering more of the truth about Vic, reconciliation and happiness – and plenty of food with Jon discovering that he had paid thousands of dollars for drones with food to repel the enemy on the train. (Which means that this reviewer enjoyed a lot more of Garfield than anticipated!)

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