The Garfield Movie Review

This is everything that people feared the Super Mario Movie would be: a boring mess that completely misses the point of the character.

The Garfield Movie (2024)

PLOT: After Garfield’s unexpected reunion with his long-lost father, ragged alley cat Vic, he and his canine friend Odie are forced from their perfectly pampered lives to join Vic on a risky heist.

REVIEW: Hollywood has been in this phase for a while now where they’re afraid of new IP. So they’re scouring past properties to see if they can breathe new life into them. Attach a popular actor and just see what happens. But after the controversy surrounding Chris Pratt‘s casting in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, I don’t think any of us expected him to take the voice role for another famous character. But here we are in 2024 and Chris Pratt is voicing Garfield and it’s every bit of the mess that you would think.

The Garfield Movie is part origin story, part heist film, and part family comedy. But it hardly ever knows what it wants to be. We see early on that Garfield is abandoned by his father, but it’s pretty clear right away that this wasn’t intentional. So the entire crux of the film is a misunderstanding that you’re privy to from minute one. When things switch to heist mode, the clunkiness of the storytelling rears its ugly head. Scenes feel completely disconnected from one moment to the next, leaving a rather disjointed viewing experience. And as soon as you think it’s completely targeted at very young kids, they throw in a random sex joke. I’m really not sure who this is supposed to be for.

Jon Arbuckle (Nicholas Hoult), Garfield (Chris Pratt), and Odie (Harvey Guillen) in The Garfield Movie (2024).

The problem isn’t outright with Pratt as the character but rather the character of Garfield himself. Anyone who knows Garfield knows at least two things: he likes to eat (with a particular love for lasagna) and he’s extremely lazy. So to see Garfield being so proactive, instead of Odie having to prod him along, felt really disconnected from the 45 years of the character that came before. It also felt weird to see him going such long periods without eating or even bringing up food. He should constantly be getting distracted on the heist with temptation yet he manages it fine. His abandonment defines him more than anything.

I didn’t have a problem with Pratt’s version of Mario but there’s just nothing to his Garfield. It just sounds like Pratt. I get it, not everyone needs to sound like Bill Murray to embody the character but he doesn’t have the right brand of sarcasm. There were some lines that could have worked with different delivery but fell flat with Pratt’s overly enthusiastic energy. Feels very anti-Garfield. Samuel L. Jackson is practically sleepwalking through his role as Vic. Go watch The Incredibles if you want to hear Jackson actually giving it his all in animated form.

Odie (Harvey Guillen), Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), and Garfield (Chris Pratt) in The Garfield Movie (2024).

Ving Rhames as Otto provided the only few chuckles of the movie, as we finally get that right tone of dry humor perfect for a Garfield movie. I liked both Harvey Guillen‘s Odie and Nicholas Hoult‘s Jon Arbuckle but they both feel underutilized. Heck, I would say Jon is a complete footnote in the story, and seemingly replaced by Vic. I’m not sure why they would mess with the dynamics in the first film, but that’s just one of many reasons why this doesn’t work. The animation itself feels dated and boring. Not everything needs to look like Spiderverse but a little bit of creativity would have gone a long way. Nearly every frame is lacking in energy and it makes the whole movie feel rather lifeless.

To no one’s surprise, The Garfield Movie is a boring mess that completely misses the point of the character. I was surprised this got a theatrical release as it feels like a streaming movie in every sense. The animation feels cheap, and most of the performances fall flat. When done right, animation can transport you into a world of wonder and magic. And when they’re done wrong, they look like this. Pratt haters will be feasting on this one. Which is good, because Garfield sure as hell isn’t.

THE GARFIELD MOVIE IS PLAYING IN THEATERS ON MAY 24, 2024.

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About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.