24th May2024

‘The Garfield Movie’ Review

by Jasmine Valentine

Stars: Chris Pratt, Nicholas Hoult, Hannah Waddingham, Samuel L. Jackson, Harvey Guillén | Written by Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove, David Reynolds | Directed by Mark Dindal

Garfield (Chris Pratt), as we all know, is a cat who loves lasagne but hates Mondays. Abandoned by his dad in an alleyway in the rain, Garfield teams up in life with Jon (Nicholas Hoult), and Odie (Harvey Guillén), who become his new best friends. Garfield has an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), who draws him into a high-stakes heist.

If you Google it, there have probably been more Garfield movies than you have ever realized. The Garfield movie from 2004 is the one that made the most waves, with follow-ups such as Garfield’s Pet Force understandably flying under the radar. Somehow, the lazy orange cat has been on everyone’s radar 20 years later with The Garfield Movie, and after seeing it, people probably wish its marketing hadn’t made such an impression.

When you’re reviewing a film that’s largely intended for children, it can be tough to know what to say for the best. You’re not the intended audience, and the thought of sitting in a confined space with any number of screaming under 10s is a nightmare in itself. Unfortunately, The Garfield Movie does little to ease this pain, making adult viewers question why the trademark name is being wheeled out in the first place. Aside from the physical likeness, the 2024 rendition of Garfield isn’t anything like how we’d expect, actually jumping into action rather than taking the lazy man’s road out of every problem.

The latter probably isn’t a fact that’s an issue for people born after the last time he appeared on screen, but it’s jarring nonetheless. While the actual storyline of The Garfield Movie is passably fine yet forgettable, the only person who does seem to be hyped for the orange cat renaissance is Chris Pratt. No stranger to voice-acting roles, he’s clearly loving the chance to take on yet another household name. However, it does feel more like Garfield is serving Pratt rather than the other way around.

We all like cheese as much as the next person — aside from the lactose intolerant — but watching sprinkles of cheddar being dusted on lasagne in slow-motion in The Garfield Movie begs a bigger question: is Garfield now too dated to be continually revived? Where cartoons like The Simpsons are dragging themselves through the years by staying somewhat relevant, the movie evokes a weird feeling of nostalgia that isn’t actually there. If this film was released 20 years ago, it would be cooking, much like the original 2004 animation and live-action hybrid.

Instead, we’re left with cute-looking animation that doesn’t really go anywhere or resemble what it once used to be. It won’t be a film your child is desperate to pull up on whichever streaming platform it lands on, nor will it be something you’d be happy to rewatch endless times with them. Blink and it will be gone, and we’ll forget all about The Garfield Movie.

** 2/5

The Garfield Movie is in cinemas now.

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