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‘The Garfield Movie’ Review: A Fun Comic Stripped of Originality

After a two-decade catnap, the world’s favorite Monday-hating feline, Garfield, makes his way back to the big screen in The Garfield Movie. This animated film also marks the first release post-Jim Davis’ sale of Paws Incorporated to Viacom (now Paramount Global) in 2019. Keep reading to see our review of Garfield’s latest cinematic adventure premiering this Memorial Day weekend on May 24, 2024.

Want to see more of the lazy tabby? Check out our review of Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties!


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The Garfield Movie: From comic to cinema

The central plot of the film revolves around the lasagna-loving feline Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) and a chance encounter that he has with his estranged street-smart father, Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). After being suddenly abducted from his luxurious life indoors, Garfield, along with his loyal canine companion Odie (voiced by Harvey Guillén), must work with Vic to protect him from his ex-colleague, Jinx (voiced by Hannah Waddingham) by pulling off a heist of immense proportions.

The Garfield Movie cast and Chris Pratt’s misstep

There were some aspects to like about The Garfield Movie: great realization of the iconic comic strip characters in 3D, lively voice performances from the supporting cast, and some fun quips occasionally throughout. However, there were also a large amount of issues that truly held the film back from the promising potential of its source material.

Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) in THE GARFIELD MOVIE // CREDIT: DNEG Animation

One major aspect of contention for me was Chris Pratt’s role. Despite appreciating the voice acting of acclaimed supporting cast members like Hannah Waddingham, Brett Goldstein, Janelle James, and Bowen Yang, I felt that Pratt’s casting for the titular character was a misstep. I felt similar about last year’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie when hearing that Chris Pratt was cast as Nintendo’s mustachioed leading man, but had actually come around on his interpretation of the character by the end of the film — this film not so much. Garfield is commonly depicted as a lazy, lethargic cat. However, in this instance, Pratt infuses the character with a distinctly lively energy that ultimately clashes with the core essence of the character.

The other key area that significantly stood out to me was the film’s plot. Although initially captivated by the promising setup of comedic heist antics, the end result appeared disappointingly familiar, resembling a run-of-the-mill family animation akin to productions by Illumination Entertainment (e.g., Secret Life of Pets, Sing). The storyline felt unoriginal, as though it could have been lifted from any script and merely dressed up with Garfield’s signature orange and black stripes. It lacked the depth one might expect from a narrative rooted in Garfield’s extensive history of over 13,000 comic strips, with the protagonist seeming like an afterthought hastily added to the storyline.

The Garfield Movie review: A fun flick for families, but misses the mark for adult audiences

Ultimately, this movie does accomplish its goal as a fun family flick, sprinkled with some good humor and a recognizable cast of characters. Although the longer I sat with this movie, the more the initial sheen of appeal has worn off. I think this remains an enjoyable watch for kids, though perhaps not as much for adult audiences or fans of the original Garfield comics.

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See it for yourself when The Garfield Movie debuts in theaters nationwide on Friday, May 24, 2024!


Ben Ahrens_Author Headshot 2Ben Ahrens is a versatile Silicon Valley-based writer, content marketer, photographer, and graphic designer. His passion lies in crafting engaging stories for the entertainment industry and embracing the tech culture of the Bay Area to uncover the next ground-breaking innovations. When not weaving words, you’ll find him curating the perfect playlist for every occasion or exploring the diverse landscapes of Northern California.

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