"The Garfield Movie" Film Review

The Garfield Movie (2024) - IMDb

"The Garfield Movie" Film Review

Rating: 3/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    Garfield is one of the most beloved and iconic cartoon cats to ever be created. This tubby little orange cat has cracked up audiences and diehard fans for decades with his odd antics and his uncontrollable appetite. With film studios pumping out reboots and remakes left and right lately, it was inevitable that the Garfield IP would have the same treatment sooner or later. However, I definitely wasn't expecting what they had planned, with the film revolving around Garfield's relationship with his estranged father, while also having Chris Pratt and Samuel L. Jackson play the titular character and his father, respectively. This movie isn't anything amazing or really does anything to fully revive this character for the younger audiences, but it is a good and enjoyable time at the theater for about two hours. 

    The film revolves around Garfield and his dog friend Odie, who are both owned by Jon (Nicholas Hoult), who brought in his pets and moved into a house big enough for all of them. It seems like their lives revolve around each other, and they are nice and comfy in their routine they have unconsciously put into place for themselves. But, when Garfield and Odie are kidnapped during one late night, they must figure out where they are and who would want to kidnap them. 

    It turns out they have been snatched by a cat named Jinx (Hannah Waddingham), who has been done wrong by Garfield's estranged father Vic, who left when Garfield was a baby. She forces the father-son duo to reluctantly go on a mission for her, as Vic owes her the time she spent in prison (the pound). They must figure out how to complete this mission, and even get some help from a scorned bull named Otto (Ving Rhames). But, will they be able to complete their task on time and successfully?

    If you watched the trailer and you thought this was going to be a cute film to go see with your kids or an easy movie to watch one sunny afternoon, you will definitely have a good time with this one. However, if you had your doubts and wasn't sure about this new adventure they are sending this iconic cat on, I doubt very seriously that this one would win you over. It seems like this movie, as a whole, was created to be a cash grab off of this major property, which Sony is unfortunately known for. At the same time, I had fun with it. I think the story could have been improved more, and the pacing is off quite a bit in parts, but it was funny and pretty enjoyable for the most part. 

    One part that definitely caught me off guard here was the backstory of Vic and why he was forced to leave Garfield. I think this more emotional part of the picture works the best out of the film, and really tugged at my heartstrings quite a bit. When you do get more towards the end of the film, it seems like they were dragging it on a little bit, but there are emotional bits here that really do such a beautiful job of capturing the emotions and feelings that go into a father and son relationship. 

    Pratt actually does a good job here. I was a little worried because it seems like they are casting him as numerous iconic cartoon characters, and I know there is some Chris Pratt fatigue out in the world, but he truly pulled it off and embodied this character quite well. There are moments where he delivers some pretty funny lines, but there are also moments where the writing falls flat and you can tell he is trying to save the scene. Jackson, Rhames, Waddingham, Hoult, and Brett Goldstein as Roland all do good jobs for what they are given, but none are especially memorable after the credits roll. 

    At the same time, the animation is fresh and fun, adding a new twist on the character that has existed in comics for most of his life. I enjoy most of the imagery here and how they were able to design these characters and settings, especially Odie and baby Garfield. I think both of those characters were perfectly designed and animated, and their mannerisms and how they act were my favorite parts of the film. I can definitely say I am a huge fan of Odie after watching this film. 

    I went in not expecting much out of this movie after hearing really bad things, but I honestly enjoyed myself while it was playing before me. I thought it was fun and cute, and definitely got a couple of laughs out of me. This won't be for everyone, and it is definitely not an example of a "great" animated feature, but for what it is, I think it did a good job.