He’s orange, he’s fat, he’s computer generated. He’s Garfield, the famous cat of the 80’s, appearing on a big screen near you thanks to the wonders of CGI.
From Garfield’s first line in the movie (his classic 80’s catch phrase, “I hate Mondays”), it becomes apparent to viewers what’s in store — 90 minutes of rehashed comic strip jokes, thinly draped over a paper-thin plot that adults, children, cats and most rocks should have no problem following or predicting.
Breckin Meyer plays Jon, Garfield’s owner. Those familiar with the comic strip will also recognize other classic characters, like Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), Nermal (David Eigenberg), and Odie.
The first thirty minutes of Garfield: The Movie are simply setup for the adventure to follow. Straight from the books, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) is living life as a happily spoiled one-owner pet. Jon has fallen for Liz, Garfield’s veterinarian, and through a simple miscommunication ends up adopting Odie. Garfield spends the first half of the movie trying to get rid of Odie, and the last half of the movie trying to find him once he runs away and ends up being dognapped by an evil local television personality.
While the movie is occasionally funny, for the most part it simply seemed like a collection of scenes, a few of which ended with jokes from the old comics and most that just ended.
When the Garfield trailer hit the Internet last year, the largest complaint from people seemed to be that Garfield was animated while all the other animals were not. That is no longer an issue, as the biggest complaint now is that the CGI simply isn’t that good. Much of it simply looks like a rough draft or work print. Not that a talking cat is the most realistic thing in the first place, but I for one ended up watching for mistakes in the effects (Garfield floating while walking for example) instead of actually watching the film. Since Garfield is the only CGI character he already jumps off the screen — but issues with lighting and movement made him stand out even more.
I grew up on the Three Stooges. Eye pokes, triple-slaps, and ear tugs were no big deal when I was growing up, but nowadays even cartoon-like violence will get you a PG rating. All of the punishment Garfield used to dish out to Odie on a regular basis has been removed and replaced with one-liners, dance routines and product placements.
My 13 year old neice got bored with Garfield: The Movie pretty quckly, as did my 2 1/2 year old son. My guess is, the target audience is somewhere right there in the middle.