REVIEW: GARFIELD 1 & 2

 

CAST
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Heroes)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Evan Arnold (Spider-Man)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Alan Cumming (Tin Man)
Debra Messing (Along Came Polly)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)
Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) is a happy, fat, and lazy orange cat who lives with his owner and friend, Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) in a cul-de-sac in Muncie, Indiana. Garfield passes his time by annoying Jon and mocking a neighbor Doberman Pinscher, Luca. Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a remarkable mouse, Louis. He also interacts with and occasionally hangs out with his fellow neighborhood cats, including Garfield’s rival Nermal and Garfield’s love interest, Arlene (who are both seen as live-action cats).
Meanwhile, a local television host, Happy Chapman, known for his cat “Persnikitty” is introduced as supposedly a happy man. In reality he is allergic to cats, jealous of his bad-tempered brother Walter J. Chapman, a news reporter, and wants to outwit him in success wise by performing on TV show Good Day New York. Jon has made a habit of bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, hoping to woo vet Dr. Liz Wilson. Jon tries to ask her out, but due to a misunderstanding, he is given custody of a stray dog, Odie. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield is displeased at having to share the house with a dog, of whom Jon grows fond. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in a ruckus there with other animals, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he begins dancing to “Hey Mama” by The Black Eyed Peas.
His impromptu performance is a hit. Happy Chapman, who also is a judge of the dog show is impressed with Odie, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines leaving Happy to apparently be envious of Odie. After Garfield causes a mess inside Jon’s house in a fit of rage, Jon punishes Garfield by making him sleep outside for one night. Odie comes out to comfort Garfield but Garfield, as selfish as he is, reacts by running inside and locking Odie out. Odie runs away, and is picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker. A distraught Jon works with Liz to search for him, while the neighborhood animals shun Garfield for what he did to Odie. Meanwhile, Chapman and his assistant find a “lost dog” found poster Mrs. Baker created, of Odie and recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy’s own.
When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City by train for a big performance on Good Day New York, Garfield, realizing his selfishness, vows to intervene. Garfield leaves his house on a rescue mission for Odie. Meanwhile, Jon finds out Garfield is missing and he and Liz set out find him. Garfield is able to finally make it to the tower with the help of his friend Louis but sneaks in the air vents which are being worked on. Seen as a blockage from one of the workers’ scanners of the vents, Garfield is blown by the vent air, hitting random walls and it finally ends when he smacks his face on the last wall. At Chapman’s studio at Telegraph Tower, Garfield finds Odie captive in a room; Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric discharge that forces him to perform tricks.
Chapman heads for the train station, with Garfield in pursuit. However, an animal control officer snags Garfield as a runaway before he can reach Odie. Meanwhile, Jon contacts Mrs. Baker through her poster, and is told Odie’s real owner had already retrieved him. After learning it was Chapman who took Odie, Jon believes Garfield was taken too and he and Liz race to Telegraph Tower and then to the train station, after learning Chapman has left. Garfield is sprung from the pound by Chapman’s abandoned feline star, the boastful Persnikitty who turns out to be actually named as Sir Roland. At the train station, while the P.A. saying that the Texas Eagle is going to Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, Chapman boards the train, with Odie in the luggage car. Garfield arrives only to see the train depart. As the train speeds away from the station, and seeing a child with a toy train engine (probably the Flying Scotsman in a different shape and size) makes Garfield remembers that his train set at home is similar, so he sneaks into the control room and attempts to stop Odie’s train. The tracks get rearranged, leading to an impending train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency control and causes Chapman’s train to return, and Garfield frees Odie and they exit the train. However, Chapman notices them walk out and gives chase. Chapman corners the two, and threatens Odie with the shock collar, but is greeted by Garfield’s friends and animals from the pound, led by Sir Roland. They swarm and attack Chapman, allowing for Odie to escape.
 Chapman gets up to find the shock collar has been placed on his own neck, from which he receives two powerful jolts. Jon and Liz arrive to reclaim the animals and find Chapman off-balance. Jon punches Chapman for stealing his pets (although Odie was the only who was taken), and leaves with Liz and the two animals. Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as for abducting Odie and Wendell gives chase to the cops. Garfield regains the trust of his animal friends. Back at home, Liz kisses Jon, while Garfield seems to have learned about friendship, love and not to envy others. He then shoves Odie off his chair repeatedly, and the film closes with Garfield singing and dancing to James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)”. He does a split and can’t get it back up without help. As the credits roll over still pictures from the film (in black and white), Garfield is heard in the background asking Odie for ice.
Garfield is still hilariously funny and you’d have to be incredibly sour not to laugh. The special effects are brilliant – not just the CGI Garfield, but the whole facial animation with the other animal characters. The way that Garfield portrays moral developement is also good and I recommend this as a truly delightful family movie.
CAST
Breckin Meyer (Road Trip)
Jennifer Love Hewitt (Ghost Whisperer)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Billy Connolly (The Man Who Sued God)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)
Jane Carr (Austin Powers 2)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Bob Hoskins (Hook)
Tim Curry (IT)
Jane Leeves (Frasier)
Richard E. Grant (Dracula)
Vinnie Jones (Arrow)
Rhys Ifans (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Jon Arbuckle (played by Breckin Meyer) plans to propose to his girlfriend Dr. Liz Wilson (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt), who is going on a business trip to London. Jon follows her to the United Kingdom as a surprise; After escaping from the kennel, Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) and Odie sneak into Jon’s luggage and join him on the trip. Garfield and Odie break out of the hotel room, then get lost.
Meanwhile, at Carlyle Castle in the British countryside, the late Lady Eleanor’s will is read. She leaves all of Carlyle Castle to Prince XII (voiced by Tim Curry), her beloved cat who looks just like Garfield. This upsets the Lady’s nephew, Lord Dargis (played by Billy Connolly), who will now only get the grand estate once Prince is out of the picture. Lord Dargis traps Prince in a picnic basket and throws him into the river. Garfield inadvertently switches places with Prince: Jon finds Prince climbing out of a drain and takes him to the hotel, while Prince’s butler Smithee finds Garfield in the street and takes him to Carlyle Castle.
In the grand estate Garfield now calls home, he receives the royal treatment, including a butler and a team of four-legged servants and followers. Garfield teaches his animal friends to make lasagna, while Prince learns to love it at Jon’s place. Lord Dargis sees Garfield and thinks Prince has come back – if the lawyers see Prince/Garfield they will not sign the estate over to Dargis, who secretly wants to destroy the barnyand and evict/kill the animals to build a country spa. Dargis makes many attempts to get rid of Garfield, one involving a violent but dim-witted Rottweiler, Rommel (voiced by Vinnie Jones).
Eventually Garfield and Prince meet each other for the first time (spoofing the Marx brothers’ mirror gag). Jon, with the help of Odie, discovers the mix-up and goes to the castle, which coincidentally Liz is visiting. Garfield and Prince mess with Dargis, whose plan is exposed, and are seen by the lawyers. Dargis threatens everyone if they don’t sign the papers to him, taking Liz hostage. Garfield, Prince, Odie and Jon save the day, Smithee alerts the authorities, and Dargis is arrested. Garfield, who had been trying to stop Jon from proposing to Liz, has a change of heart: He helps Jon in proposing, and she does accept.
Great for a family film night. Billy Connolly is good in this, but Garfield, as he should be, is the star of the show! loved the ‘lasagna moment’ in the restaurant!
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