‘The Garfield Movie’ review: A painfully predictable reboot that’s far from purr-fect

Despite a stellar voice cast featuring talents like Chris Pratt and Samuel L. Jackson, ‘The Garfield Movie’ is a generic film that leaves you wishing it kept things simple by sticking to its strengths

Updated - May 17, 2024 11:47 am IST

Published - May 17, 2024 11:31 am IST

A still from ‘The Garfield Movie’

A still from ‘The Garfield Movie’

It’s been 18 years since we had a Garfield film on the big screen and the cat is out of the bag once again. The world famous big orange tabby cat saga that started as a comic strip in 1976 is back in theatres, this time as a reboot with a star-studded voice cast. The Garfield Movie has everything going for it and it would not be a surprise if it even ends up being a box-office hit like its predecessors which opened to negative reviews. But is it all smooth sailing for our lasagna-loving, Monday-hating feline? Well, that is a different question and we haven’t got great news for fans of Garfield.

The Garfield Movie takes off quite brilliantly; we are introduced to our lazy, food-obsessed titular hero (voiced by Chris Pratt) who enjoys being treated like a god by his owner Jon (Nicholas Hoult) and sidekick/best friend, the yellow beagle Odie (Harvey Guillén). Who would have thought that an orange cat living his best life would make for the best segment of a film? We also get to know about Garfield’s childhood and how he ended up with Jon, straight from the horse’s — or rather, cat’s — mouth. Long story short, this cute little orange kitten finds Jon and when his new human friend is double-minded about taking our hero home, Garfield cries himself a river on which he starts floating atop a lasagna takeaway box. But such a perfect end is reserved for the post-climax of a film and conflict comes in the form of Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), Garfield’s estranged father who enters our lead’s life once again, this time with trouble right behind him.

The Garfield Movie (English)
Director: Mark Dindal
Cast: Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult
Runtime: 101 minutes
Storyline: The most well-known orange tabby cat who loves the indoors is forced to have a wild outdoor adventure when his estranged father returns

It would not be an understatement to say the film derails once Garfield and co. leave the safe confines of his house to Bilbo Baggins their way through an adventure. Despite commendable voice work by Hannah Waddingham — who plays the Jinx, a villainous Persian cat — and the supporting cast, the entire heist angle the film is mounted on is insanely predictable. It makes for the least entertaining part of the film. While the heist sequences remind us of last year’s Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, the principal antagonist, who appears for less than five minutes, seems to have been cut from the same cloth as the animal control team head Captain Chantel DuBois from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Probably the only takeaways from the segment, which obviously takes up most of the film’s runtime, are some hilarious stretches in between and a cute little love story between Otto the Bull and Ethel the Cow.

A still from ‘The Garfield Movie’ 

A still from ‘The Garfield Movie’  | Photo Credit: DNEG Animation

What we are left with is a slew of product placements — everything from Sony headphones and Walmart to FedEx and Olive Garden restaurants — and the use of famous music bits like the Mission Impossible theme aimed at the adult audience. The film even mentions dating apps by name and recommends you try the premium subscription. It almost makes you feel that the film, like its titular hero, is too lazy to make money off a theatrical run and prefers making money back with product placements. While it does not reinvent the wheel when it comes to animation, the bright colours might probably find a fan in single-digit-aged viewers who are more likely to enjoy the wacky route the film often takes.

Chris Pratt does a decent job with the voice acting and that’s primarily because of the character’s familiar traits. But it’s better than the accent mess-up he had with Mario in last year’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Even a seasoned voice-acting talent like Samuel L. Jackson, whose Frozone from The Incredibles films is arguably his best work, succumbs due to the lack of content. And the less we talk about how it wastes cameos like that of Snoop Dogg, the better it is.

The Garfield Movie is a generic film that leaves you wishing it kept things simple by sticking to its strengths. Instead, we get multiple subplots and digressions making it a convoluted mess that even Garfield will think twice before consuming.

The Garfield Movie is currently running in theatres

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