Saturday, June 12, 2004


Greeting, Leaguers!
A few months ago I threw down the gauntlet and challenged Jim D. and Randy to not only go see the new feature, Garfield: The Movie, but to write a review.

Well, Jim got a bit weak in the knees at the idea and went running back to his Bergman films. Randy, however, downed a bottle of Maalox and headed down to his local cinema.

I now owe Randy the ticket price and a debt of gratitude. He's saved us all a lot of trouble.

Garfield peers into the depths of Randy's beleaguered soul...


A few months ago, The League challenged Counselor and me to watch and review Garfield: The Movie. Counselor was unable to lower his standards long enough to view the film, but I have no such qualms. So yesterday, Emily and I trekked to our local mega-multiplex and viewed the movie. Per The League, I present my 500+-word review.

Like many children of the 80s, I grew up with Garfield. I recalled having dozens of Garfield books and watching his cartoons. I even received a Garfield phone for my Christmas one year. However, I was not excited about Garfield: The Movie when I heard about it. Instead, disappointment overcame me. It did not help matters that the Garfield in the movie is computer generated. I was used to the cartoon, 2D, Garfield. My inner child rejected the new-fangled 3D Garfield.

It was with this mindset I viewed the movie.

Garfield: The Movie does not compare to Garfield and Friends. No, Garfield and Friends is much better. Unlike other CGI characters such as Shrek, Nemo, Woody, and Buzz Lightyear, this Garfield is not very lovable. The cat is neither particularly cute nor adorable. In fact, the movie Garfield is rather irritating. Even Bill Murray – who voices Garfield – cannot save the character or the film. In fact, the human actors in the film – the two principles being Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz the Vet – are horrible. They, and the rest of the cast, look embarrassed to be in the movie. While most of the actors in the movie are B-List stars at best, it is surprising to see Hewitt here. It seems like only yesterday when she was an up and coming star in Hollywood. Now, she is relegated to mediocre roles and films such as this. The real star of the film is Odie. Unlike the CGI Garfield, Odie was cute, heart-warming, and lovable.

It goes without saying that the plot was simplistic and mawkish. It involves Garfield despising the newly adopted Odie then learning a lesson about friendship and sharing. There is also an evil villain, his dopey sidekick, and an army of cute animals. In the end, everyone is happy and the guy gets the girl. There were a few funny moments and zingers, but it was few and far between.

Unlike the Scooby-Doo movies, where there the CGI Scooby only serves as a foil to the other four human and primary characters, the decision to mix a CGI character with real cats and dogs makes for an odd combination. It would have served better to make the movie with 100% real animals ala Cats and Dogs or 100% CGI ala Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Shrek, et al.

Perhaps I am being too hard on Garfield: The Movie. I grew up with one idea and image of Garfield, and the movie presents a completely different view of the character. Of course, my reaction is rejection and spite. However, the movie targets a younger generation, one who did not spend Saturday mornings watching Garfield and Friends, and Sunday mornings reading the Garfield Sunday strip. Indeed, many of the children in the theater laughed at all the jokes and found the movie endearing. So in that sense, Garfield: The Movie succeeds, but if you are a child of the 80s looking for the Garfield of your youth, avoid this movie and instead buy (or rent) the soon to be released Garfield and Friends Vol. 1.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be stuck watching this film (say with a child), entertain yourself by attempting to spot Jim Davis, who – according to IMDB – makes an un-credited cameo as a "Drunken Conventioner".


So there you have it, Leaguers!

Thanks to Randy for going through this for the rest of us. I'm going to have to call into question the notion that Jennifer Love Hewitt ever had anything to offer anybody, let alone a sustainable career, but that's just me being snarky.

You can see what Randy is up to on a regular basis at his site:

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