August 31st, 2005

Knight

Garfield: The Movie

I have been a fan of Garfield ever since I followed the comics in the local newspaper, then the subsequent cartoon, which is excellent and timelessly amusing, so imagine My delight when I first heard there was to be a film based on this feline icon - this time, completely rendered in CGI. Curious, I decided to pick up a copy of the movie the other day, and was actually pleased at the way he was presented, although the other characters lacked the same substance they do in the said comic and cartoon.

First off, I noticed the house was not Jon's. Odie is depicted as a regular sort of dog, and no use of that slurping tongue which is his primary characteristic was used. In My opinion, he should have also been rendered in CGI animation to capture that full effect. Nermil is not the cute and cuddly kitten either - just an onlooker hanging out with the neighborhood cats. And even Jon himself was rather dissappointing - he seemed to lack the personality of the original, and really ends up being presented like a milksop, who actually has good fortune with a pretty young thing, instead of the steady stream of failed dates he usually experienced.

Here, Garfield is introduced to Odie when Jon adopts him in an effort to impress a female vet, but ends up establishing a genuine rapport for the dog, taking attention away from Garfield, who will have none of that. Odie eventually impresses a judging panel at a dog show {using moves Garfield taught him!}, and becomes coveted by a gameshow host, seeing him as a possible ticket to the big time. So, after Garfield uses his wiley ways to trick Odie out of the house, he runs away - Jon, distressed, places Lost signs about the neighborhood, which is brought to the gameshow host's attention, and basically ends up dognapping Odie after lying to an impressionable old lady who finds the pup on her porch. Feeling guilty, Garfield embarks upon a trek to the Big City to rescue Odie from the clutches of Mr. "Happy Chapman" who had actually affixed the pooch with an shock collar, but is himself imprisoned by Animal Control, but this is only a temporary setback. With the help of a street-talking rat, Garfield eventually employs the aid of some other animals to punish Chapman while implementing some poetic justice. And finally, Garfield learns the value of Odie's friendship, but still enjoys pushing him off the couch, instead of the kitchen table.

Bill Murray did do a good job with the voice {although I still would have liked to have heard Lorenzo Music instead}, and the Garfield kinematics were actually smooth and worked well to create the illusion of a living being. I believe the film would have been better produced using total CGI. The film does not match the cartoon strip or show, but is still an amusing movie for fans of this orange feline lasagnaphile.

Rating: 3/5.