Thursday 11 July 2024

REVIEW: The Garfield Movie (2024 Animated Film) - Starring Chris Pratt

The Garfield Movie

By Jon Donnis

"The Garfield Movie," a 2024 animated adventure comedy, brings to life the beloved comic strip character created by Jim Davis in a vibrant and modern retelling. Garfield, the iconic orange tabby cat known for his laziness and love of lasagne, is voiced by Chris Pratt, who brings a fresh yet familiar tone to the character. While some may hold Bill Murray's portrayal dear, Pratt's take is energetic and engaging, making it accessible to a new generation of viewers.

The plot kicks off with Garfield and his beagle best friend, Odie, living their usual pampered life with their owner, Jon Arbuckle, voiced by Nicholas Hoult. Their mundane existence takes an unexpected turn when they are abducted by a Shar Pei and a whippet named Roland and Nolan, leading to their imprisonment in an abandoned mall. The story gains momentum with the introduction of Garfield's estranged father, Vic, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. Vic's unexpected rescue of Garfield and Odie sets the stage for a high-stakes adventure that is both heartwarming and humorous.

The film's antagonist, Jinx, a deranged Persian cat voiced by Hannah Waddingham, brings a layer of menace and complexity to the story. Her vendetta against Vic, stems from a botched milk heist at Lactose Farms. Jinx's demand for a new heist as a form of extortion pulls Garfield, Vic, and Odie into a reluctant alliance.

The journey to Lactose Farms is not just a physical one but also an emotional voyage for Garfield, who grapples with his feelings of abandonment. The strained relationship between Garfield and Vic is explored with sensitivity, especially during a pivotal scene where Vic explains the real reason behind his disappearance. This revelation brings a poignant moment of reconciliation that adds emotional weight to the film.

The animation quality is top-notch, capturing the essence of the original comic strip while updating it for a contemporary audience. Baby Garfield, shown in a flashback sequence, is particularly adorable and is sure to captivate younger viewers. The film balances action and comedy well, ensuring that there is never a dull moment. Otto, the former farm mascot bull voiced by Ving Rhames, and his subplot involving his cow girlfriend, Ethel, adds an extra layer of charm and humour.

One of the film's strengths lies in its ability to entertain both children and adults. While the story is somewhat simple and predictable, it is executed with such flair and heart that it remains thoroughly enjoyable. The action sequences, especially the heist at Lactose Farms, are well-crafted and exciting, keeping the audience engaged.

However, for long-time fans of Garfield, particularly those who cherished the 2004 film voiced by Bill Murray, Chris Pratt's version might feel like a step down. The nostalgia attached to Murray's voice acting is a high bar to meet, and while Pratt does a commendable job, he may not completely win over those loyal to Murray's interpretation.

The Garfield Movie is a delightful family film that successfully brings Garfield to a new audience. It captures the spirit of the original comic while adding new dimensions to the characters and story. Young children will undoubtedly find it enchanting, and while it may not reach the same heights for older fans, it is still a fun and heartwarming watch. With its combination of excellent animation, engaging voice performances, and a mix of humour and action, the film earns a solid 7 out of 10.

Out now on Digital -