The Garfield Movie Loses Track of Its Main Character

by Jordan Costolo ’25

Now, I’m sure most of you know this staple character of American pop culture, but for the uninitiated, here is a brief summary: Garfield started off as a comic strip published in 1978 about a lazy orange cat and his owner Jon. Since his original creation, however, Garfield has evolved into something much larger. As the strip evolved, there came new additions into the world of the orange feline. Characters such as Odie The Dog, Nermal The Cat, and Pooky (Garfield’s teddy bear), as well as many new gags, such as Garfield’s love for lasagna or distaste for Odie being on the table. As the years went on, Garfield went from just being a comic strip to having books, TV shows, lines and lines of merchandise, and of course, movies.

The Garfield Movie that came out this year is not the first time audiences have seen the fat cat on the silver screen. In 2004, Garfield: The Movie was released, garnering mostly negative reviews, with critics and audiences disliking the movie as a whole. Whether it be for the film’s lazy writing or odd animation, the movie was a box office flop. There was a second attempt to make a Garfield movie two years later in 2006, a sequel titled Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, which was also not much of a success. Now, 18 years later, a third Garfield movie has been released.

The Garfield Movie is a completely original story separate from the other films from the early 2000s, focusing on a completely different side of Garfield then audiences have not seen before: Garfield’s family life. The main plot of the film focuses on Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) and his relationship with his absentee father Vic (voiced by Samuel L Jackson) as they attempt to heist a large quantity of milk. Aside from the obvious inclusion of a father figure, the new movie introduces many other new characters, including Otto a bull, Jinx a villainous cat, and many others. Because of this, as well as the main heist plot, The Garfield Movie feels less like a movie about Garfield and more like one about doing a heist with cats, alongside lots of the jokes and plot points that feel disconnected from the film’s namesake and main character.    One positive aspect of the movie is its animation, a great improvement from the more horrific real people-animation fusion of the 2004 and 2006 efforts. The colors and movements are all clean and well done. Another plus is the voice acting. Some people might be tired of Pratt’s voice after the mass amount of voice acting he has done in the past year or two, but in his voice has enough range and depth to portray a more fully dimensional Garfield.

The Garfield Movie might have the style of a good animated Garfield movie, but virtually none of the substance, humor, or charm that would have given the iconic character the big-screen adaptation that Garfield deserves. Maybe the fourth time will be the charm.

Grade: C