February 20, 2005

DVD Review: Garfield - The Movie

Garfield has been a funny pages mainstay for many years, and this past year made the jump to the big screen. I reviewed it back when I saw it in the theater, you can see that review here. Now that I have watched the DVD, I thought I would revisit it. The result is I still like it, flaws and all. Call it a guilty pleasure.

This is not what could be called a good movie, what it is though, is a fun diversion with a character many of us grew up reading. They did a lot of things right with this movie. For one, Garfield is dead on. They did a good job capturing the sarcastic wit and underlying sweetness that has been the trademark for the fat cat. The CG work does a good job of creating a realistic look to how Garfield may move if he were real. The best thing about the portrayal of Garfield was the voice casting. Bill Murray was an inspired choice. The rest of the animal casting was also good, filled with real animals with CG enhanced mouth and body movements.

The human cast was a bit of a mixed bag. Breckin Meyer is an OK choice for Jon Arbuckle, he just never exudes that desperate needy, loser type, moreso he was just lame and kind of flat. Liz, on the other hand is perfect with the lovely, and impossibly dressed for her job, Jennifer Love Hewitt, if ever there was a dream girl for a loser. That brings us to our bad guy, Happy Chapman, played well by Stephen Tobolowsky. A goofy bad guy but is well placed as a guy to dislike.

That brings us to the plot, which is really not much more than a way to string together a bunch of sequences which play out more like comic strips. The format works for the movie, allowing us to see the different sides of Garfield's personality. The story involves Happy Chapman kidnapping Odie for use in a television show and Garfield's attempts to save him.

For more of my review, please use the link above, my feelings regarding the movie really haven't changed since I've seen it. I should get on with if this disk is worth it.

Video. The transfer of this disk looks great. It is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is anamorphically enhanced. The image is sharp, all of the colors are well defined and black levels are deep. I used this disk to test out the display on my new widescreen laptop, and I was not disappointed, both the display and the disk looked great.

Audio. Audio is very good, given to us in Dolby Digital 5.1. There is nice use of the sound field and dialogue is nice and high. This is what I would expect from a big release.

Extras. None. This disk has sadly nothing to offer outside of the film. I would have liked a commentary track, perhaps Bill Murray in character as Garfield, or featurettes on the effort used to translate the strip to the big screen. I should also mention, there have been rumors going around that a two disk set is in the works, so I guess there is still hope.

Bottomline. The movie may only be mediocre, but it looks fantastic. It sure to please the kids, and people like me. I have a hard time completely recommending this disk with the possibility of a double dip on the horizon. If you don't need extras definitely pick this up. It is a fun movie, with good CG work, good voice acting, and of course Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Mildly Recommended.


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