The Garfield Movie Review

Garfield has made his way to cinemas in an animated film called ‘The Garfield Movie’ from Sony Pictures. Chris Pratt voices the titular cat, and is joined by several other celebrities as is tradition for a film aimed at a younger audience. It’s a soulless piece of film, blowing past anything Garfield related to rip off ‘Mission Impossible’ with an uninspired animation style. It’s a fine watch for children, but there are films that will be more formative for them to be watching. 

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Chris Pratt over the years has dabbled into voice acting, hoping to develop his talent. Each time he’s failed to adapt his voice, doing minor tweaks but mostly keeping it firmly comfortable. In ‘The Garfield Movie’, Pratt doesn’t even try anything at all, failing to demonstrate any vocal range or distinct emotion. It’s like he’s become the embodiment of Garfield, lazy.

The other voice actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Cecily Strong, and others all show up, but, like Pratt, they don’t give any performances that rise above their nromal speaking voice. It’s a tremendous lack of effort, and one that shouldn’t just be written off because “it’s a kids movie.” The weirdest piece of casting is the inclusion of Snoop Dogg voice came as a Chilled Cat, that serves no point and definitely doesn’t belong in a movie aimed at chidlren. 

The plot sees Garfield team up and reconnect with his father after years of estrangement, and while there is a well-intentioned message about seeing things from another’s perspective or what it has to say to children who themselves separed from their father, there’s nothing here that will leave any message. No film has to leave a message of course, but there was potential here for Garfield to leave a lasting impression on younger audiences. 

Instead, the film zips on at a fast pace, not dwelling on or developing any unique ideas. This even goes for the titular cat too. Garfield is well-known for hating Mondays, loving lasagne and being an all-around lazy lump of fur, but those traits are simply given lip-service and then brushed aside for a generic heist plot that any feline or indeed animal could go on. Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield, invented a host of characters in his Garfield canon that could have been pulled on, yet Sony opted not to do this. 

And, unfortunately for Sony, other animated animals have already beaten them to the punch with a very similar heist about breaking into a maximum security facility. Aardman Animations brought ‘Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’ to Netflix last December, and, despite being a “kids” movie, it tackles the same basic idea in a much more hilarious and inventive manner, complete with fantastic animation and voice acting.

It’s well known that Sony has announced a bid with Apollo Global Management to buy Paramount, but from watching this film, it wouldn’t be surprising if members in the audience thought that the merger had already happened. Not only is there a blatant ‘Mission Impossible’ scenario, but the studio also decide to reference ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ with music, a Tom Cruise name drop and drones, which entirely misses the point of ‘Top Gun Maverick’. These are also references that would fly over kids heads, though a small moment of reprieve for the adults, as they’re reminded of better films. 

And, unfortunately for Sony Pictures, another animated animal film already beat them to the punch with a ‘Mission Impossible’ style heist. Aardman Animations brought ‘Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget’ to Netflix last December, and, despite being a “kids” movie, it tackles the same basic idea in a much more hilarious and inventive manner, complete with fantastic animation and voice acting.

Sony Pictures Animation has outdone themselves in recent years with the ‘Spider-Verse’ series of films, pioneering animation that’s sent shockwaves across the industry. Well, toss out all that innovation for dull and safe animation. It’s incredibly basic, limited animation pulling out no fresh ideas or searching for a new way to propel the medium forward. After the two ‘Spider-Verse’ films, this is a step back for the department.   

Overall, watching ‘The Garfield Movie’ feels very much like watching a cat cough up a furball onto the bed. It shows a terrible lack of imagination and effort in all areas, seemingly disowning the Garfield brand as soon as it can. It’ll likely be fine for younger kids unfamiliar with the brand, but it’s nothing that adults will enjoy, especially when other films do the same concept better.

Kieran Burt

My name is Kieran and I am based in the UK. I love writing about all things science fiction and fantasy, particularly Star Wars and Marvel. When I’m not writing or watching anything sci-fi related, you can probably find me exploring the open worlds of alternate lands through my Xbox.

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