June 18, 2024



Of dad, milk, and plenty of cheese! PAWsome entertainment – Beyond Bollywood

4 min read

Chris Pratt and Samuel L. Jackson seamlessly blend into the world of Garfield, much like a rat to cheese.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 / 5)

The Garfield Movie [2024]

By Mayur Lookhar

With the biggies of Bollywood hibernating, Indian audiences have been privy to humble desi productions and few international films. This Indian summer has largely been about horror and children’s films. If it’s about milking an opportunity, then there’s one cat who does it best – Garfield.

Jim Davis’ cheese aficionado and comic strip icon makes a long-due return to the silver screen, a first since Garfield Fun Fest [2008]. 16 years later, Alcon Entertainment have pressed the much-needed reboot with The Garfield Movie [2024].  Having parted ways with 20th Century Fox, Alcon has joined forced with Sony Pictures for distribution.

At the helm of this revival is Mark Dindal, a renowned animator. For a guy who made his directorial debut with Cats Don’t Dance [1997], Dindal is experienced at telling feline stories.

Driving the narrative forward are the pens of Paul A. Kaplan, Mark Torgove, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter David Reynolds. Together, they craft a screenplay that promises to capture the essence of Garfield’s wit, charm, and mischievous antics, ensuring a delightful cinematic experience for audiences of all ages.

Set in the digital age, the proliferation of food delivery apps has only fueled Garfield’s insatiable gluttony. The indolent feline, notorious for despising Mondays, whiles away the hours devouring cheesy delights and indulging in endless Catflix binges. It’s a life of utter luxury, until one fateful night changes everything.

Garfield (voiced by Chris Pratt) is stunned to find his estranged father, Vic, (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson), reentering his life at the most unexpected moment. Still harboring deep resentment over Vic’s abandonment during his formative years, Garfield’s world is thrown into turmoil.

To add to the complexity, Vic is also contending with his own set of challenges, chief among them being his entanglement with the vain Persian cat, Jinx (voiced by Hannah Waddingham). Garfield must shed his laid-back demeanor if he hopes to extricate himself from his predicament. Can a cat accustomed to a life of luxury truly make such a change?

It’s a challenging journey for Garfield, but viewers wouldn’t mind witnessing him learn some tough lessons along the way. While the early adventure may seem whimsical, after all, this is a cartoon film. Despite its convoluted plot, cats will always be cats. Jim Davis’ portrayal of Garfield closely mirrors a feline’s inherently laid-back nature. So, why should it be different in a comic strip or a film? In the case of Garfield, it’s like live by cheese and die by it. 

As Otto (voiced by Ving Rhames) puts it, “If I were to train you two (Garfield and Vic), it would take 17 years for you to be ready.” The discarded bull from Lactose Farms simply can’t afford to wait any longer, or he risks never reuniting with his beloved cow, Ethel (voiced by Alicia Grace Turrell).

The Otto-Ethel subplot adds a delightful romantic element, but at its core, The Garfield Movie [2024] primarily revolves around the reunion between father and son, focusing on the healing of fractured familial bonds.

Chris Pratt

Here, the voice casting of Chris Pratt and Samuel L. Jackson proves to be a masterstroke. Having previously collaborated in Marvel films, the duo is adept at infusing humor into their performances, even when their characters have differing opinions. Pratt’s tone captures the pompous, laidback, and gluttonous attitude of Garfield accurately. Pratt’s character becomes more likable in his bittersweet interactions with Otto, often feeling frustrated with the bull for his long pauses.

Samuel L. Jackson portrays Vic with an understated tone, as the father often finds himself taking a backseat to his son’s cocky attitude. Jackson, however, elevates the emotional intensity when he recounts his version of events from years ago. They may have their differences, but their shared cheesy cravings and signature whiskers remain unchanged.

Though Odie doesn’t have much voice, but the pet dog of Garfield is as loyal as one can be.

If you thought that Garfield is pompous, then wait till you meet Jinx. The Persian cat can be overbearing in her tone, but that’s the nature of this feline, who can be very intimating when angry. Waddingham not only lends her voice but also infuses heart and soul into this sinister yet compelling character. Jeez, that sneering laugh just doesn’t leave your conscience. Jinx’s accomplices are Roland, a British-accented Shar Pei and a mean Whippet called Nolan.

Whether feline or human, the primary antagonists here are female characters. Marge Malone (voiced by Cecily Strong) is portrayed as a tough-as-nails Animal Control Officer at Lactose Farms. Not exactly the weakest link, but Marge fails to make a significant impression.

The constant thread throughout the film is cheesy food. In the beginning, Garfield is seen munching on cheesy pizzas and lasagnas. The middle section depicts plenty of cheese at Lactose Farms, yet Garfield and his companions are barely scraping by. The climax is truly fantastical. How often do you see food being used as a measure of defense? Didn’t we say before, Garfield lives by cheese and dies by it?

After a promising start, Garfield loses some momentum, especially due to the lackluster action at Lactose Farms. However, things pick up after a certain revelation. From that point on, it’s not just wholesome but PAWsome entertainment as Garfield and company take us on a delightful ride.

Garfield is an icon for cheese aficionados, but all the fun in The Garfield Movie might compel even a lactose-intolerant being to say ‘cheese’.

The Garfield Movie is set to be released in India on 17 May.

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