November 25, 2004

DVD Review: Garfield Holiday Celebrations

It wouldn't be the holiday's without the Garfield specials. I don't remember when it was that I first saw these shows, but I always looked forward to them each year. This DVD collects the Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials all in one place. Now I don't have to sit through commercials, plus I can watch them whenever I want without having to wait for the holiday's to role around each year.

The three specials all feature a simple story, very much in the tradition from it's origins on the funny pages. In addition to the simplistic story, they each employ a minimalistic approach to the animation. The backgrounds are basic, movements are kept to a minimum, the colors are bright and colorful. They do add music to the Garfield world, each special features some original songs combining Garfield's innate character traits with the subject of the holiday.

The first episode presented is Halloween. The tale follows Garfield as he plans the evening's festivities, keeping purely focused on the gathering of candy, candy, candy, candy... ahem, and getting as much of it as he can, to the point of employing Odie in his schemes. They go searching through Jon's old stuff in search of a costume, settling on a pirate look. Night falls and Garfield and Odie make their way out to capture their spoils. Their greed gets the best of them as they try for another section of town, only to get wrapped up in a ghostly adventure which shows them the true meaning of friendship, and how greed is not a good thing. The whole thing is told with Garfield's dry, sarcastic wit delivered by Lorenzo Music.

Next up is the Thanksgiving episode. This time around we get more of Jon, as he takes Garfield to the vet. He wheedles a date out of the veterinarian, who will always be the object of his affections. Garfield's biggest problem is dealing with a diet, it severely impacts one of his favorite pastimes, eating! Anyway, the day comes and Jon is making dinner, which for a bachelor living alone with two pets is no easy feat. He ends up enlisting help from his family, specifically his grandmother. The gang learns about being thankful for what one has.

Closing out the disk is my favorite of the bunch, the Christmas special. This one features the sweetest story involving Garfield, Odie, Jon, and Jon's entire family. The gang travels out to the Arbuckle farm for Christmas where they busy themselves with cooking a large meal, trimming the tree, and getting the gifts together, before learning that the holiday isn't about getting the gifts as Garfield so wanted to believe, but in the togetherness of family and how sometimes the simplest of gifts can have the greatest impact on your loved ones. And let's not forget it still has that trademark Garfield sarcasm.

Video. All three shows are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. They look pretty good, not perfect, but that is probably due to the source materials which I don't believe were in the best of shape. Still, this is the best that I have ever seen these shows and am glad to have them all here.

Audio. The soundtrack is in it's original mono, there is also a Spanish mono track. Sounds good, levels are high, not like some mono tracks I've heard where there isn't enough volume. These are dialog driven shows and sound very good.

Extras. Sadly, none.

Bottomline. I have always loved the Garfield character, and these shows just bring it all out. The outward sarcasm, but with an underlying sweetness. Always more to him than he is willing to let on. This is a good disk that doesn't cost much and gets you some timeless episodes that will live on for years to come.

Highly Recommended.


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