Garfield 2

2006-12-31 11:05

Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray) thinks he is the luckiest cat in the world. Lord of his domain, as much lasagne as he can eat, and as much sleep as he can handle – life is good. So when his owner Jon (Breckin Meyer) follows his girlfriend Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt) to London to propose marriage, Garfield knows he must put a stop to this immediately. He and Odie stow away in Jon’s luggage and soon find themselves in merry old England. But before he can interfere with Jon’s plans, he is mistaken for a regal cat named Prince (voiced by Tim Curry) who actually is the luckiest cat in the world. Prince has inherited a huge estate from his dead owner, complete with servants, and Garfield has a grand time playing king. The only problem is the evil Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly), who is next in line for the inheritance, and doesn’t plan on waiting for “Prince” to die of old age.


The great thing about low expectations is that you can sometimes be pleasantly surprised. The original Garfield was hardly a masterpiece, despite all the loot it raked in at the box offices, so you might expect the sequel to be a predictable affair: bigger budget plus the same ideas watered down for less laughs. And you’d be wrong. Here the screenwriters have had the good grace to water down someone else’s ideas (in this case Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper”), and have managed to scrape together an unexpectedly fun, and funny, piece of cinematic fluff.

As with the first film, Garfield 2’s chief delight is in Bill Murray’s deadpan voice performance. The script gives him a little help here and there, with some vaguely witty banter and a couple of decent jokes, but Murray carries the movie single-handed most of the way through. The real humans in the movie, by comparison, are nearly uniformly awful. Only Billy Connolly turns in a passable performance, and even he is well off his peak.

You have to give credit to the animation wizards who sweated for months to insert Murray’s feline counterpart so seamlessly into the film. They have improved on the already impressive original, rendering a character who has the credibility of a real cat and the appeal of a cartoon character. They are also far more ambitious in their staging, putting Garfield and his doppelganger into some very elaborate scenes, and all without ever showing any cracks or seams.

Another impressive aspect is the ambitious animal work in the film. Prince’s estate is home to a whole menagerie of real animals from a bulldog (voiced by Bob Hoskins) to a bull, and even a ferret. These diverse creatures are made to do some quite amazing things, including helping Garfield “make” a dish of lasagne. As far as their facial movements go, the filmmakers did cheat by using digital manipulation, but you can’t fake the big stuff. We’ve seen better of course, Babe springs to mind, but credit should be given where it is due.

Make no mistake, Garfield 2 is still a dumb-as-a-post kiddies movie. The storyline is predictable, the characters are one-dimensional and the humans are out-acted by animals and cartoon characters. But, if you can leave your scorn at the door, it’s a surprisingly amusing outing, and not something you’d have trouble sitting through with the kids. It may be junk, but it’s the gold standard of junk - well made, breezy, and just quirky enough to keep you watching. So go on, take your 7-year-old, they’ll love it.

- Alistair Fairweather
Garfield 2 is a surprisingly witty romp about our rotund feline friend's adventures in Blighty. Who says sequels have to suck?

Mimi 2006/09/22 11:45 AM
Do you have a cat Alistair? If you did you'd know that Garield is a terrible example to all cat owners. He's way to fat - it's actually animal cruelty. I think people should be fined for feeding their animals so much. No wonder you get doggie and kitty weigh-less. It's disgusting! And what self-respecting cat eats lasagne anyway? Garfield needs to go on diet.
Jen 2006/09/22 2:39 PM
to mimi What are you on about Mimi? This is just a fictional story about a fat cat and his life - dont get stressed out for nothing. I am sure the sequel will be great and can not wait to see it. So relax and go to see the movie for a good laugh. That is what it is about AFTER ALL?
Mimi 2006/09/22 3:06 PM
Actually I love Garfield... I didn't think anyone would actually take me seriously. My mistake.
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