Garfield Gets Real

DVD Reviews | Jan 5th, 2008

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Starring Frank Welker, Gregg Berger, Greg Eagles, Jennifer Darling
Written By: Jim Davis
Directed By: Mark A.Z. Dippe, Kyung Ho Lee
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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“Garfield Gets Real” is the kind of Garfield movie that they should have released in place of the terrible live-action/CGI monstrosities. It’s not going to win any rewards any time soon, but is the closest thing to the comic strip that I have seen so far to date.

The plot follows big fat fatty, Garfield, voiced by Frank Welker of Transformers fame, as he performs the monotonous day-to-day tasks of acting out comic strip panels for people in the real world to read. Garfield and all of his comic counterparts live in the comic world where they pose for comic strips, much like a model would do, which are then transported between dimensions (?) where they are enjoyed everyone in their morning papers. Every newspaper has a camera in it so that the comic characters can spy on their readers while they are reading the funnies. Garfield gets bored with his job and needs a change. Realizing that there is a way to escape his world and enter the real world, Garfield jumps on the opportunity and hilarity ensues.

Even for a cartoon, I sometimes found the plot hard to follow. Jim Davis did a good job of keeping true to the nature of the characters in his comic strip, but piecing together a feasible, somewhat believable story that spanned 74 minutes seemed to be a difficult task for Mr. Davis. The audience was introduced to the notion that the characters in the Sunday morning funnies such as Garfield, Odie and Dagwood live in an entirely different universe than we do, but other than this introduction, we never really learned how or why the two worlds were connected and separated. When Garfield arrives in the “real world” there are still characters in the real world that seem as though they belong in the comic world like the bodybuilding antagonist dogs Hale and Hardy as well as Shecky, Sheila and Waldo…all talking animals in the real world! The whole point of the movie was that Garfield needed a change in his life and that our world, the real world, was his escape, but there really was no separation between the two worlds.

If you can overlook the contradicting storyline, then you will probably manage to get a few laughs from the characters. Frank Welker was top notch as the tubby tabby as were most of the other voice actors. Odie was cute but not annoying as he has been in the past and Hale and Hardy reminded me a lot of “Pumping Up With Hans & Franz” skit from the glory days of Saturday Night Live. The animation was a great stylized mix of CGI and cell-shaded animation that worked well to give the characters a comic book feel without going over the top to make them look realistic.

When you’re done watching the movie, make sure to check out the half ton of features that are included on this DVD. The features range from an inside look at creating the daily “Garfield” comic strip to animating the feature film and even includes a blooper reel and a pair of addictive DVD-ROM games.

I don’t think that “Garfield Gets Real” will be on anyone’s “Best of 2007” lists but plot holes not withstanding; the movie was far from terrible. I enjoyed seeing an animated Garfield world again and I even managed to get quite a few chuckles from it. If you have children, they will probably love this movie. If you have a husband or a wife, brother or sister that you consider an overgrown child, they will probably still enjoy it. If you’re a Transformers fan then…it has Megatron in it!!! Ok…it’s only the guy that did his voice but you get my drift. I’m glad that the fat cat is back in a movie that doesn’t make me want to kill myself this time around.

Pencils, Paws and Ink: Creating the Garfield Comic Strip
Jim Davis: Raw and Un-Cat
The Animation Process
Legends: Working Together
Bloopers: Voices In Our Heads
Finding Your Voice
Animating From the Seoul
Punt A Pooch and Whack-A-Wawa DVD ROM Games

Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound

Widescreen (1.78:1)

English and Spanish

Favorite Scenes: Garfield and Odie making the comic strip, Hale and Hardy giving Garfield some competition for his comic strip, Odie vs. the Chihuahuas
Rating: NR
Running Time: 74 minutes
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