"GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Breckin Meyer as JON ARBUCKLE
Jennifer Love Hewitt as LIZ
Billy Connolly as DARGIS
Bill Murray as GARFIELD
Ian Abercrombie as SMITHEE
Roger Rees as MR. HOBBS
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Tim Hill
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My opinion of “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” is similar to my opinion of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Beginning.”
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You don’t see the connection? Let me explain.
When the first “Garfield” came out two years ago, I was sorely disappointed. Not only was the new, “improved” CGI Garfield nasty looking, but the movie stomped over all I ever loved about the comic strip. Of course, after seeing the film and doing my research, I realized that the current comic strip version of Garfield stomps all over the classic Garfield I loved in the early 80s.
Similarly, the “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” remake in 2003 was an abomination. It trampled the memory of Tobe Hooper’s original film by making it less suspenseful, more overtly violent and not nearly as powerful as its predecessor.
When the latest “Texas Chain Saw” film came out this fall, I found I liked it better than the original remake. It wasn’t that this new “Chain Saw” was any great shakes, but at least it wasn’t crushing something I really loved. The same thing happened with this “Garfield” sequel.
I can now accept the fact that Odie is a regular dog and not the caricature he is in the comics. I can now accept the fact that Breckin Meyer plays the lamest Jon ever. I can now accept the fact that, while beautiful and fun to watch, Jennifer Love Hewitt is a far cry from the cranky and sharp-witted vet from the comic strips.
In short, I have digested the “Garfield” movies and can now accept them for what they are.
With that said, “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” isn’t a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not even really a movie aimed at an adult’s humor. It is strictly a kids’ film, featuring furry little animals and slapstick comedy to keep their attention-deficit minds awake.
The story follows Jon (and stowaways Garfield and Odie) as he follows Liz to London so he can propose. The pets hitch a ride in the luggage and get mixed up in a land dispute over a castle in England. Living at the castle is an identical fat, orange cat named Prince. He is the sole heir to the royal fortune. However, mean cousin Dargis (Billy Connolly) is scheming to get him out of the picture. Garfield accidentally switches places with Prince, and they both struggle to set things right before Dargis can take over.
It’s a rough plot, ripping off the Mark Twain classic “The Prince and the Pauper” with about as much finesse as any mid-ranked sit-com might muster. But after the atrocity that was “Garfield: The Movie,” I find myself much more forgiving and able to lower my expectations to the point this is at least watchable.
The DVD comes with an extended version which adds an addition eight minutes to the original feature running times. Mercifully, this still comes in at less than 90 minutes, so all is not lost. The DVD includes both the widescreen version and the fullscreen version, as well as a music video, an exclusive comic strip and some instructions from creator Jim Davis on how to draw the characters from Garfield’s world.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1) and full frame (1.33:1). French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.