The Garfield Movie Review | A perfectly fine, if uninspired, animated flick

the garfield movie review
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Chris Pratt voices the famous tabby cat Garfield, in a brand new animation. Here’s our The Garfield Movie review. 

The 24th of May in the year of 2024 will be a lovely day. If 2023 was all about Barbenheimer – the weird, but wonderful combination of Barbie and Oppenheimer – 2024 is the year of… Garfuriosa. 

We’ll work on the title, but The Garfield Movie and Furiosa, two very different films, are arriving in cinemas on the same day. The Garfield Movie, Mark Dindal’s family-friendly animated adventure may have fewer cars, less action and no fake noses, but there’s much to enjoy here, especially for the kiddos. 

Naturally, the film follows the titular tabby (and a little tubby) cat, Garfield, talking in the voice of Chris Pratt here. He is abandoned by his father Vic (Samuel L Jackson) as a kitten, but he spies a lonely human, Jon (Nicholas Hoult) across the street, eating a solitary pizza. 

It’s not long before Garfield and Jon are living together and even have a dog, Odie. Garfield and Odie are later swept up in a pretty unbelievable adventure that includes a bull, a gang of ex-con cats and Snoop Dogg as a cat.

the garfield movie cartoon cats
Credit: Sony Pictures

The Garfield Movie doesn’t offer anything particularly groundbreaking or revelatory, but there’s something comforting about a film like this. You may know every beat of the story, every plot twist and turn, but everything is executed competently. 

The voice cast is probably the film’s strongest asset. After voicing Mario in last year’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Emmett in the two excellent The LEGO Movie films, Pratt is more than qualified to voice an orange cat. There’s nothing specifically wrong with Pratt’s voice performance, but for the most part, it just sounds like Chris Pratt voicing a cartoon cat. Not that The Garfield Movie strives for very high levels of realism, purposely so, but Pratt seems to be on autopilot here. 

Others fare better. Hanna Waddingham is an absolute joy as Jinx, an evil Persian cat with a grudge, and Samuel L Jackson makes for a convincing Garfield senior. Hoult, though, is a strange choice for Jon, whom the narrative mostly abandons pretty quickly. The script by Paul A Kaplan, Mark Torgove and David Reynolds tries to keep him involved, but The Garfield Movie excels when it focuses on slapstick comedy. 

The Garfield Movie faces the same issue as Disney’s Wish. In an era where we have films like Into The Spider-Verse, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers, the bar for conventional kids’ animation has been raised. In the inevitable comparison, Dindal’s animation feels a little stilted and uninspired. 

Don’t get me wrong, little Garfield eyeing up Jon’s pizza at the beginning and sitting in a take-away box of lasagna is enough to melt anyone’s heart, but The Garfield Movie swaps artistry for cute, individual moments. The story has heart to it and the ending is beautiful, but everything here seems like recycled material.

But I’ll repeat what I said earlier: The Garfield Movie is a strangely comforting film. It’s the kind of film that kids may obsess over and probably demand you to play over and over again. They’ll love Garfield and Odie and the physical comedy will make them cry with laughter. The Garfield Movie isn’t aimed at me, I found it flawed and unoriginal, but the kids at my screening loved it. Is there a higher compliment than that? 

The Garfield Movie is in cinemas 24th May. 

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