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GARFIELD: THE MOVIE (2004) (PG)

20th Century Fox

Official Site

Director: Pete Hewitt

Producer: John Davis

Written by: Alec Sokolow & Joel Cohen; from the comic strip by Jim Davis

Cast: Bill Murray, Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stephen Tobolowsky, Evan Arnold, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Daamen J. Krall, Rufus Gifford

 Rating:


Going into Garfield I think I had every right to fear that it might tarnish my fond memories of the Garfield comics and the delightful cartoon series that ran on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. I mean the warning signs were all there—the horrendous trailers, the participation of sitcom reject Breckin Meyer, and Jennifer Love Hewitt (who is like one bad movie away from joining the touring company of Grease). And let’s face it, a Garfield movie is not exactly what the world has been clamoring for. The popularity of the comic series peaked about 20 years, so I was honestly surprised that anyone would consider this prime summer movie material.

For me the project appeared to have only one saving grace: Bill Murray. Sure he’s made some bad films, but can you think of any other SNL alums that you would even think about using the phrase “artistic credibility” to describe? No, of course not, and Murray doesn’t disappoint. His vocal performance perfectly captures the character of Garfield. Which is more than I can say for the CGI people, who have rendered a truly odd looking Garfield for the screen. As opposed to, say, Gollum in the LOTR’s films, this Garfield does not blend seamlessly into a live-action environment. The Garfield face just doesn’t offer that much room for the medium’s nuances, and it would seem that fur is one of those things that CGI effects haven’t quite perfected. Eventually you get used to him, but it takes a while.

As one might expect the story takes Garfield away from the comfy confines of his master’s home and leads him on an improbable quest to rescue Odie (Jon Arbuckle’s dog and frequent target of Garfield’s ridicule in the comic strip) from an evil television personality who has kidnapped him. Not surprisingly, this big adventure fails to capture the mundane charm of the comics, which are, of course, about a big lazy cat that wants to nothing more than to sleep and eat. Garfield: The Movie is not quite a disaster. Murray’s vocal performance almost lifts it to mediocre, but hardly anyone above the age of seven is going to enjoy it.

PS. If you need any more reason not see this, I should warn you the soundtrack features the Baha Men and the massively overplayed Black-Eyed Peas.

—Edward Rholes

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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