Garfield: The Movie on DVD
Garfield: The Movie is an inappropriate title for this film.
It should have been called A Movie About a Cat Named Garfield,
because the Garfield in the movie isnt the Garfield we grew up with.
Sure hes fat, lazy, selfish, and loves lasagna, but that doesnt
make him Garfield. In fact, this version of the cat has no qualms about running
and jumping all over the house, running from dogs, or dancing up a storm.
As the movie opens, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) goes around and does his
thing for a while, either to show us what a typical morning with him is like,
or to stretch the movie out to 80 minutes, (were not quite sure which).
Jon (Breckin Meyer) comes home just in time to take Garfield to the vet, because
Jon has a crush on the sexy veterinarian (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt).
Thats about the time true Garfield fans start throwing popcorn. In the
comic strip, Jon has little to no luck with women. Period. Now, in this first
act of the movie, Jon gets a date with a major hottie who thinks hes the
greatest. Oh yeah, and the vet asks Jon to take in a mutt named Odie, much to
Garfields chagrin. In the comic strip, Odie doesnt do much other
than take abuse from Garfield, who frequently gets the one-up on him. In the
movie, Odie constantly one-ups Garfield, which has happened no more than a handful
of times in the comic.
So when Odie is dognapped by a nasty trainer looking for his fortune, Garfield
who may have been at fault for Odies disappearance has to
go out on his own to try and rescue the irritating (but somehow lovable) canine.
Its hard to fault a movie that tries desperately to please its target
demographic. There are plenty of kid-friendly jokes here, and most young uns
probably arent as familiar with the cat as some of us. But for adults,
none of the jokes seem to click, and we cant help but be angry with the
filmmakers for so blatantly ignoring the Garfield we know so well.
Bill Murray was probably the only logical choice for the voice of the cat.
After all, the cartoon Garfield was voiced by Lorenzo Music, who also provided
the voice of Peter Venkman in the toon The Real Ghostbusters and Carlton the
Doorman in the old "Rhoda" TV series. And in the movie Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman
was, of course, played by Bill Murray, so it's kind of a case of the "circle
Now, we can understand that certain changes have to be made to bring a comic
strip to the big screen, but they clearly didnt have enough ideas to make
making Garfield worthwhile, so they should have just moved on. But if theyd
done that, we wouldnt have anything to whine about right now. So maybe
its not all for naught.
Garfield: The Movie should be avoided by anyone over the age of 12, and by
anyone who loves the classic cat. If they hadnt changed the characters
almost beyond recognition, the movie could have been a greater success.
20th Century Fox appears to be undergoing some personnel changes. The studio
that for a long time made the best DVDs out there, seems to be turning 180 degrees
around. Films that would normally receive two-disc special editions are often
only single discs, and in the case of films like Man on Fire and Garfield, have
little to no extras at all. What you do get, however, is an Inside Look,
which is a shameless promotion of other titles soon to be released by Fox.
That being said, this is a pretty lame DVD. The disc features both 1.85:1 anamorphic
widescreen and full screen transfers, and while the colors are pretty darn sharp,
the picture looks extremely soft and is beaten down by the occasional grain-filled
scene. Detail of the characters, and particularly the CGI Garfield, is good
but the fleshtones on the actors are pretty dull.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, but theres not much going on.
Dialogue and score seem to use mostly the center channel, while sound effects
occasionally use the other two front speakers. Surround use is pretty much nonexistent.
Extras include nothing more than the aforementioned Inside Look,
in which we get to watch for four minutes as Chris Wedge (director of Ice Age)
talks about his upcoming project, Robots. We have to say that the movie actually
looks pretty good, but we object to our DVDs used solely for marketing purposes
when we dont even get a lousy audio commentary. Fox better get their act
together, or therell be plenty of bad DVD reviews to come.
Garfield: The Movie, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
80 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Breckin Meyer, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Stephen Tobolowsky and Bill Murray
Produced by John Davis
Written by Joel Cohen & Alec Sokolow, Directed by Pete Hewitt
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