Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, which seems six hours long, subtitled, and shot in black and white, is an animated cow pasture. Or rather, a partly animated barnyard: Garfield (animated) is a slithery, repellent digital fatso, as grotesque, fluorescent, and artificial as a Cheeto at Three Mile Island. In his first scene, he break dances. In his next scene, he croons "Cat Scratch Fever." He works so frantically I believe it's the only recorded instance of a computer-animated feline with a case of flop sweat.
The Lion King, this jerk ain't.
The sad thing is, his appearance is much improved since the last Garfield picture. But then an air of laziness pervades these movies - why animate Garfield, for instance, but no other animals? His human (nondigital) handlers aren't any more happy, he's miserable. Here, lending the voice of Garfield again, he sounds like a Bill Murray imitator, probably fascinated a studio would go through the trouble of getting him (for two movies now) and allow for none of the improvisational leeway afforded Robin Williams (Aladdin) and Eddie Murphy (Shrek). But then, this is a flick so lacking imagination in the big production number between Garfield and his pals, they dream of baking a two-cheese lasagna.
Only two cheeses.
Even the title's wrong: Garfield goes to England, gets mistaken for a royal cat. That's Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, not Dickens. Not like it matters when you can practically see the wranglers making the heads of the animals bob and look off-camera with a wave of raw meat. Did I mention it's the only movie where I've genuinely feared for my sanity during the screening? The kids around me cried and kicked my seat and got up and sat down while their parents snored away.
To be fair, Garfield was cool.
Sort of. Twenty years ago. His hating Mondays and loving lasagna was common knowledge. He was a pioneer. His smart-aleck routine is the foundation of every clever-computer-animated-animal movie, from Over the Hedge to The Wild. It's a legacy he should be forced to atone for. Suggested punishments will be welcome at the following e-mail.
Contact Christopher Borrelli at: firstname.lastname@example.org