Chris Pratt Leads A Lackluster Animated Adventure With Little Appeal


  • The Garfield Movie offers humor but lacks originality, overshadowing the main character with a bland story and better characters.
  • Chris Pratt’s voice performance is decent, but Ving Rhames steals the show as Otto.
  • Despite an emotional father-son storyline, The Garfield Movie feels lackluster and fails to bring anything new to the table.

As one of the most famous fictional cats out there, it’s no surprise that Hollywood is keen to build a franchise on Jim Davis’ Garfield, the lazy lasagna-loving pet who loathes Mondays above all else. Yet, more than ten years after the misfires that were Garfield: The Movie and its 2006 follow-up, which even star Bill Murray has disavowed, the cat’s prospects haven’t exactly improved. The newest attempt at making the character happen, The Garfield Movie, is already at a disadvantage due to its lead star.

Based on Jim Davis’s comic series, Garfield is a new imagining of the lasagna-loving cat and his friends, opting for a fully computer-animated approach. Chris Pratt voices the titular cat, with the film aiming to explore his early days and new misadventures for him, his friends, and his family.


  • There is the occasional genuine bit of humor
  • The voice cast is good

  • The story is lackluster
  • The movie doesn’t offer anything creative or invigorating
  • Garfield is overshadowed by better characters
  • Garfield isn’t a strong enough protagonist

Chris Pratt has received a lot of flack for taking on voice roles for seemingly no reason other than his star power, and his casting as Garfield sparked plenty of memes and eye-rolls (though admittedly, the furor was much smaller than it was when he was cast as Mario). That The Garfield Movie isn’t a particularly strong animated movie isn’t entirely Pratt’s fault, far from it, but it does make me think that, unlike last year’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, this new Sony outing won’t rebound from its initial reception.


Every Chris Pratt Movie Ranked From Worst To Best

From humble beginnings to Hollywood elite, Chris Pratt has rapidly become one of the most commercially successful actors in the history of film.

The Garfield Movie’s Plot Moves Fast & Hits The Expected Beats

The Garfield Movie wastes no time introducing its titular character, from his seemingly bottomless stomach to his tragic origin story, which lays the foundation for the whole plot. When he was a tiny, big-eyed kitten, Garfield was left in an alley by his father, Vic (Samuel L. Jackson), on a dark and stormy night. Naturally, Garfield himself is providing the narration for this intro, a gimmick I found tiring almost immediately. Drawn by the scents of a nearby Italian restaurant, baby Garfield left the alley behind and found his way into the arms of sweet Jon Arbuckle (Nicholas Hoult).

Jon swiftly adopted the cat and so established the status quo comic readers are familiar with. However, it isn’t long before Garfield and innocent pup Odie (Harvey GuillĂ©n) are yanked from their comfortable home and drawn into a mysterious plot, all because of former thief Vic. One of Vic’s past partners in crime, Jinx (Hannah Waddingham), ended up in prison because of his actions, and she’s returned for revenge. Jinx insists Vic and Garfield (with poor Odie along for the ride) must fulfill her chosen form of retribution, which involves stealing a lot of milk.

The Garfield Movie, directed by Mark Dindal and written by Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove, and David Reynolds, keeps a steady pace the whole time, perhaps to ensure younger viewers don’t lose focus too quickly. Much of the plot is centered around the milk heist, and Garfield’s strained relationship with his dad. The father-son storyline forms the core of The Garfield Movie, and it certainly tugs at the heartstrings in exactly the way you’d expect. It’s an effective way for us to gain some compassion for Garfield, since the movie itself isn’t always interested in making him a well-rounded character.

Pratt’s Garfield Is Overshadowed By Stronger Performances (& Characters)

Ving Rhames is especially good as Otto

There aren’t many surprises to be had here, and the straightforward story, while likely working pretty well for its younger audience, won’t excite adult viewers. At times, it feels as though The Garfield Movie is going through the motions, and it fails to offer anything particularly noteworthy about its main character. Maybe the nostalgia is simply lost on me, but I don’t understand the appeal of Garfield as a protagonist, and this movie did little to change my mind.

Maybe I’m asking too much for a family-oriented animated movie, but there are so many titles out there that prove there is more to this medium than what is being offered here.

Performance-wise, Pratt isn’t bad as Garfield. He knows how to find the humor in certain lines and injects some vulnerability into the occasional heavier emotional beat. However, he’s surrounded by a very strong voice cast, and that makes his own simple approach stand out. Waddingham is clearly having a ball as the vengeful Jinx, and Hoult, brief as his part may be, sounds so unlike himself, I didn’t recognize him until I saw his name in the credits.

Jackson is as reliable as always, and Ving Rhames sinks into the role of Otto, a bull Vic, Garfield, and Odie meet while preparing for their heist. Otto is perhaps the most compelling character here, with a sad backstory of his own that could’ve provided a bit more depth to The Garfield Movie if further explored. However, this movie is more focused on the predictable beats of the heist and the predictable comedic beats of Garfield falling flat on his face. Genuine laughs, outside a few clever references that will pass over some kids’ heads, are sparse.

The Garfield Movie is far from an offensively bad take on the character, but it does leave me wondering whether the cat can actually sustain a movie all on his own. Compared to other recent animated movies, and even those still to come in 2024, this effort feels distinctly lackluster, not offering anything original or creatively invigorating. Maybe I’m asking too much for a family-oriented animated movie, but there are so many titles out there that prove there is more to this medium than what is being offered here.

The Garfield Movie releases in theaters on Friday, May 24. It is 101 minutes long and rated PG for action/peril and mild thematic elements.

Source link

Leave a Reply