- Peter Hewitt
- Reviewed by
- José Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Tuesday, August 10, 2004
When an adorable dog named Odie is brought home, Garfield (voice of Bill Murray) sees his life turned upside down. Not only is he no longer Jon’s (Breckin Meyer) favorite pet, but he can’t stand to have a dog around the house, for purely selfish reasons. Even less when he knows Jon got it from lovely vet Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), whom he has always had a crush on. But when Odie is kidnapped by a pathetic television star (Stephen Tobolowsky), Garfield feels responsible and sets out to rescue him.
I have to admit I didn’t find the movie to be the absolute disaster most critics claimed it to be. Sure, it’s bad, but it does have its moments. As a matter of fact, it has a lot of good moments and a lot of qualities. It’s just too bad the movie could not keep up with the good pace and turned into a Hollywood cliché with action scenes, over-the-top moments and even a villain. Yes, a villain. That’s unheard of in the Garfield universe.
When the credits start to roll, a totally out-of-place rock tune plays in the background. From that point on I knew the movie was in trouble. And it hadn’t even started! But then I was surprised to find that the first half hour is actually pretty good. It focuses mostly on Garfield’s daily life and stays true to the character as it was created. The cynicism is there, the irreverence is there, the sarcasm is there, and I loved it.
But then, well, the filmmakers had to insert some sort of plot, and that’s when things go numb. Yes, Garfield never ceases to be himself even when out in the city, but it just doesn’t feel right. The plot is ridiculous and just doesn’t work. Then again, if you asked me for a better premise, I could not give you a proper answer. As I said in the beginning, Garfield isn’t about plot, it’s about personality.
That said, I did laugh out loud a couple of times during the movie, both involving Garfield throwing Odie out of his comfortable chair. I would also have loved a moment or two involving Garfield’s little bear, which he idolizes, but that never happened.
The filmmakers also made a controversial decision in making Garfield the only 100% computer-generated animal in the movie. I think the movie does not have a problem in that respect. We go along with it, and, if you ask me, the special effects work is really good.
Oh, and yes, there are also humans in the movie, but they are merely background types and do what they’re required to do... move the plot forward. But Bill Murray’s voice work is extraordinary, and what little of the movie works has to do in a big way with him. Garfield has many one-liners and they’re all delivered with perfect comic timing by Murray.
I don’t know... it was a bad idea, but if they had to go along with it the movie could’ve been better.
“I hate Mondays.”
CriticSociety en Twitter | CriticSociety en Facebook
Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter
Other reviews of Garfield (2004): Groucho