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‘The Garfield Movie’ is Another Animated Success for Sony 

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Like many of you, I have fond memories of Garfield from my childhood. The local newspaper, a weekly source of news and entertainment in the Kitson household, would arrive at our doorstep, sparking a friendly competition among my siblings and me for the first dibs on the funny pages. Among the classic characters, the grumpy yet endearing lasagna-loving feline always managed to bring a smile to my face. Garfield also had a long-running animated series on television, Garfield and Friends, which we also watched, and it was one of the few times we children didn’t argue. So when The Garfield Movie was announced, I was ready for the newest adventure with one of Jim Davis’ most famous characters.

The Garfield Movie is directed by Mark Dindal, who worked on the animation of some Disney classics, such as The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and The Little Mermaid. Dindal later went on to direct films such as The Emperor’s New School and Chicken Little, both for Disney as well. Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove, and David Reynolds all contributed to the screenplay for this new Sony Pictures film.

Chris Pratt, who dominated the box office in another little animated film, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, is the voice of the sarcastic tabby and is joined by Samuel L. Jackson, Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, and Nicholas Hoult. Should The Garfield Movie be on your to-watch list this Memorial Day weekend? Absolutely!

[Warning: light spoilers from this film are below!]

Garfield gets drawn into someone else’s problem in The Garfield Movie

Despite his tragic beginnings, Garfield (Pratt) has built a pretty good life for himself. Abandoned by his father Vic, a burly street cat voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, Garfield stumbles upon Jon Arbuckle (Nicholas Hoult) in an Italian restaurant, and the two become inseparable. There is a lack of boundaries between Jon and his animals, as he also has an energetic beagle, Odie (Harvey Guillén), giving them just about anything they could possibly ever need.

Spoiled is what comes to mind, and Garfield is fully aware of that. Thousands of dollars are spent on take-out every month, comfortable chairs with large speakers, and the squishiest beds for him and his teddy to fall asleep in. What more could he possibly want?

But then suddenly Garfield and Odie are taken from their pampered life and thrust into the seedy underbelly of the animal kingdom! Kidnapped by the villainous Jinx (Hannah Waddingham), a Persian cat who knows how to hold a grudge, these two friends are reunited with Garfield’s father. 

The Garfield Movie- Garfield and Odie
Garfield (Chris Pratt) and Odie (Harvey Guillén). The Garfield Movie (Sony Pictures).

All three must join together in what has to be the wackiest heist in animated film history, making new allies and even more hi jinx. Can Garfield and Odie help Vic and return home before dinner? Or will these two loveable pets become cat food for the evil and vindictive Jinx? Like a true animated film, The Garfield Movie is tied together well, bringing about some touching moments that will make parents and caretakers of any kind tear up and want to hug their loved ones just a bit closer.

Chris Pratt excels as Garfield

I know the current trend is to hate on Chris Pratt for reasons we don’t need to discuss in this review. That being said, there’s no denying the box-office draw he seems to have in some of his recent film franchises. Just last summer, he dominated the box office in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, with the film gaining almost 1.4 billion dollars. He also was one of the main stars of The Guardians of the Galaxy franchise for Marvel Studios, with the third film being one of the highest from the newest phases of the MCU. Even the recent Jurassic World trilogy did fairly well, with him sharing the spotlight with Bryce Dallas Howard, attracting billions for the studio.

It makes sense that so many films want the actor in their films, as Pratt seems to attract audiences. Thankfully, he’s also great as Garfield in this film, providing plenty of laughs for audiences of all ages to enjoy. I think Chris Pratt is more suited for this role than Mario, as Garfield is more of a character than the plumber. He cheeses it up more as the feline, playing funny, sarcastic, or loveable, depending on what the scene requires, much like his time as Star-Lord or Andy from Parks and Rec.

The Garfield Movie
Garfield (Chris Pratt). The Garfield Movie (Sony Pictures).

When Pratt’s casting as Garfield was first announced, I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure if he could be as iconic as Bill Murray from the early 2000s films, but Pratt makes this character iteration something special. It’s not the same Garfield we know, but he has the same feel and much of the same attitude. He’s softer without being a complete softie.

He’s everything I loved about the comics and cartoons, but I don’t feel like this franchise is treading the same water it has for the past 20 years. Pratt is terrific in the role and I hope The Garfield Movie succeeds, so we can have more films from this franchise.

A heartfelt story in this animated family film brings something for the adults too

As with so many animated films geared towards children, The Garfield Movie has a storyline that might fly over their heads. Part of the film focuses on what it means to love and care for someone, which doesn’t always mean being in that person’s life. I’m sure parents everywhere can understand that. Sometimes, making the best decision for our children isn’t always easy. Love comes with heartbreak, which is the message that stands at the center of The Garfield Movie.

While I am not a parent, I connected with the message and was deeply moved by the story that The Garfield Movie tells. I truly didn’t expect something of that caliber for a film about a sassy, fat cat. Sony brought its A-game with this film, giving both adults and children something they could enjoy. Humor, heart, and a beloved character. What more could you want from a film such as this?

The Garfield Movie is the perfect film to see with your family over Memorial Weekend

My family has a tradition of seeing a film over the long holiday weekend to escape the heat just for a bit. This year, The Garfield Movie would be the type of film we’d want to see because it has something for everyone. The film’s reception in our theater was positive, with most present roaring with laughter from start to finish. Children enjoyed the silly antics of the animated animals, while the deeper story appealed to the adults around me.

My only complaint about the film is that Harvey Guillén felt underutilized for his talent, as Odie doesn’t say much of anything except for barks and whines. But I, and the audience around me enjoyed most of the film, and Sony has another notch in their belt for excellent animated films.

The Garfield Movie arrives in theaters this weekend . If you plan on seeing it, let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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Brian Kitson

Working hard to bring you the latest news and thoughtful analysis of all things nerdy!

Brian Kitson has 358 posts and counting. See all posts by Brian Kitson