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Film / Garfield

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A Live-Action Adaptation of the popular comic strip Garfield. It was released in 2004 by 20th Century Fox. It starred Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, Breckin Meyer as Jon, and Jennifer Love Hewitt as Liz. It was directed by Pete Hewitt. note 

The plot deals with Garfield, as lazy and fat as ever, being the extreme Jerkass and Deadpan Snarker he is. Jon Arbuckle buys a dog named Odie because his extreme crush, Liz Wilson told him to. Needless to say, Garfield doesn't like this, but then Odie gets kidnapped by a villain named "Happy Chapman" (Stephen Tobolowsky). Garfield sets out on an adventure to rescue Odie...and get back to his beloved chair! The plot borrows crucial elements from the 1982 animated half-hour Here Comes Garfield, such as the animal kennel and Garfield having to go rescue Odie.


The movie was followed with a sequel in 2006, called Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties. In it, Liz goes to England to make a speech, and while she, Jon, and Garfield are there, Garfield gets his life mixed up with that of an English cat named Prince (voiced by Tim Curry). But the dastardly Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly) wants the cat out of the picture so he can inherit Carlyle Castle.

After 20th Century Fox asked Jim Davis for the commencement of animated Garfield movies, there were also three CGI Direct-to-Video Non Serial Movies from 2007, 2008, and 2009: Garfield Gets Real, about Garfield getting sick of his job as a comic strip character and escaping to the real world (but then regretting it), Garfield's Fun Fest, about Garfield trying to get Arlene back from a cat named "Ramone", and Garfield's Pet Force, a spin off showing the characters as superheroes.


After Fox's film rights to the character expired, it was announced in 2016 that Garfield would have its film franchise rebooted at Alcon Entertainment. The new franchise will consist entirely of CGI-animation, rather than the live-action/CGI hybrid style of the Fox film series. Jim Davis, who had no involvement in Fox's franchise, will be executive producer of that series.

The live-action movies contain examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Especially in the second movie, where Garfield busts out some serious dance moves. It's a stark contrast to his usual laziness in the comics.
  • Adaptational Badass: Jon, especially as in both movies' climax he punches out the Big Bad. Even so in the second movie he resorts to using a bow-and-arrow to save Liz.
  • Adaptational Dye Job:
    • Garfield's black stripes are changed to darker shades of orange.
    • Arlene in the comics is pink, while Arlene in the first movie is gray (since the cat that plays Arlene is a Russian Blue).
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Liz in the comic strip was mostly an Ice Queen who had no interest in dating Jon (at least before July 2006). In the movies, she's a sweetheart who doesn't hesitate to date Jon at all. She's also the one who gave Odie to Jon, while in the comics it was Lyman.
  • Adaptational Personality Change: Nermal went from "the cutest cat in the world" who rubs it in Garfield's face to his best friend who points out the obvious.
  • Adaptational Species Change: A mild one concerning breed. In the comics, Odie was considered to be a beagle mix (with Garfield snidely commenting that he was also part brick). In the live-action movies, he's a wirehaired dachshund.
    • Same with Nermal. He was a gray tabby kitten in the comics, while he's a Siamese cat in the first movie.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Flemish version of the first movie has Laat Me Vrij (Set Me Free) by X!NK.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Used at one point in A Tail Of Two Kitties:
    Ferret: Okay everyone, I've got good news and bad news. Which do you want first?
    Everyone: Bad news.
    Ferret: Okay, the bad news is that Prince is floating away in the river.
    Bulldog: Then what's the good news?
    Ferret: He was in a lovely picnic basket!
  • Big Bad: Happy Chapman in the first film and Lord Dargis in the second.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Happy Chapman's former cat leads the cats, dogs, and rats to the train station to deal with Chapman. Garfield himself leads the attack after they arrive.
  • British Royal Guards: Garfield comes across one during A Tail of Two Kitties and tried to get him to crack. He fails. Then Odie pees on the man's trousers. That gets him to crack.
    Garfield: [frantically running away as the soldier chases after him] The British are coming! The British are coming!
  • Car Cushion: Doubly subverted in the first movie. Garfield's so heavy he falls straight through the ceiling of the truck. Into lasagna.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Nermal says this in the first movie when Garfield locks Odie outside.
    Arlene: That Garfield is such a pig!
    Nermal: Garfield's a pig?
  • Contrived Coincidence: The plot of the second film hinges on a few: Prince just happens to wash up near Jon and get mistaken for Garfield; Smithee just happens to come across Garfield and mistake him for Prince; Liz just happens to be visiting the Carlyle Estate during the climax. Any one of those things not happening would have completely derailed it.
  • Cosmic Deadline: A villainous example: in order for Carlyle Estate to pass on to him, Lord Dargis has to get rid of Prince before the lawyers arrive to sign the deeds over to Prince. He thinks he's succeeded, and has a massive Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes Prince is still alive.
  • Creator Cameo: The train conductor who yells "ALL ABOARD!!" when Happy Chapman enters his train is none other than Jim Davis.
  • Dartboard of Hate: In Tale of 2 Kitties; The greedy Lord Dargis is throwing darts at a portrait of Prince (who looks exactly like Garfield) when the phone rings. As Dargis answers the phone, a goat places a mousetrap next to his darts. Then Dargis hangs up and reaches for another dart, only for the mousetrap to snap his hand, and he screams in pain.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Happy Chapman. While he may look like he lives up to his name, in reality he is very arrogant, allergic to cats, and wants a dog to star in his show to overshadow his more successful twin brother newscaster Walter.
    Happy Chapman: Oh, please, what a know-it-all! And everybody always said I was the handsome one, I was the smart one, and I was born first. But there you are "live from the Hague". And here I am working with this sack of dander on a dead-end regional morning show.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Garfield's destruction of Jon's living room in the first movie. At the end, a large shelf falls and perfectly misses Garfield.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In the second film, when Jon explains the mix-up between Garfield and Prince to Smithee:
    Smithy: Are you saying you have a cat that's Prince's Doppelgänger?
    Jon: No, I'm saying they look exactly alike, and there's a chance they may have gotten mixed up.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Or rather, the cat bites back. Persnikitty (real name Sir Roland) led the escaped animals from the pound to attack Happy Chapman.
  • Dog Stereotype: Downplayed with Luca. For the first part of the movie, he acts as the usual tough and aggressive guard Doberman pinscher, ready to maul Garfield for taunting him. But for the second part of the movie, he interacts a little bit with Garfield without jumping at him.
  • Evil Chancellor: Lord Dargis in the second film. He's (perhaps justifiably) outraged when his aunt Eleanor leaves her entire estate to her cat rather than him, and resolves to get Prince out of the way before the deeds can be signed over to him.
  • Evil Counterpart: Happy Chapman appears to be this to Garfield character Binky the Clown, as both characters are kid's show hosts, except Chapman is eviler.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The first movie opens up with the song "Holla" By Baha Men, which contains the uncensored lyrics; "Drop the top and dance all night"
  • Groin Attack: Dargis is subjected to one in the second film. From a rottweiler, no less.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dargis tries to train his rottweiler, Rommel, to seek out Prince (actually Garfield) and savage him to death. Winston the English bulldog intercepts Rommel before he can do so and retrains him to attack Dargis' trousers, leading to the aforementioned Groin Attack.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: The first movie came out at a time when in the comic, Liz looked down on Jon, when somehow she's madly in love with him in the movie. The comic would later follow suit.
    • Mostly averted, as the film seemed to focus more on Garfield, especially in his efforts to rescue Odie.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Garfield treats Odie horribly throughout the film, but when Happy Chapman tortures Odie with a Shock Collar, Garfield is visibly disgusted by Chapman's actions.
    Garfield: Poor Odie. He faces a life of torture, neglect and degradation. Hey, nobody gets to mistreat my dog like that except me!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Garfield, just as he is in the comics.
    • Luca the Doberman pinscher in the first movie. He's been eager to maul Garfield for the latter's taunting, but even he cheers when Garfield comes back to the cul-de-sac as a hero.
  • Large Ham: Bill Murray as Garfield. Oh, so much.
  • Lets See YOU Do Better: A Collectors Edition DVD of the first movie has a tool for making your own Garfield strips.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: But with a CGI Garfield.
  • Mirror Routine: In A Tale of Two Kitties, Garfield and Prince do this when they finally meet, over a hedge arch. They desynchronize once Garfield tries some wicked dance moves, but he's so focused on said dance moves that he doesn't realize, and it's only once he breathes in Prince's face, causing him to faint, that the routine falls apart.
    Garfield: Ha! I knew you weren't me!
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Throughout the second film, Smithee the butler is ordered around and bullied by Lord Dargis, before finally being convinced to go on a vacation so Dargis can have one last go at killing Prince without Smithee being around to see it. At the end of the film, it's Smithee who calls the police on Dargis, and as Dargis is being dragged away yelling for Smithee to back him up, Smithee just cheerily waves him off.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Happy Chapman when Jon declines his TV promotion for Odie after he wins the dog show—though Chapman does pretend to be good with rejection.
  • Not So Above It All: Preston the uptight macaw in the second movie (at least the end of it).
    Preston: I refuse to partake in this sinful display of hedonism! (sees some nuts in a bowl) Ooh, those nuts look good.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: In the first movie, Garfield stumbles out the window of a tall building, and survives by landing in a lasagna truck. Ignore the fact that he hit the solid metal top of it first, which would be a solid floor with an impact equal to having hit the ground, if not more so. (Justified, as he is a cat.)
  • Plot Hole: A minor one. At the climax of the second film, when Dargis finally realizes there are two identical cats, Garfield breaks the fourth wall and quips, "For those of you keeping score at home, that's eighteen lives". Except it isn't, because Garfield had stated earlier in the film that he'd already lost a few of his.
  • Prince and Pauper: The main plot of A Tail Of Two Kitties. For bonus points, the "prince" cat is actually named Prince. The UK version was even called The Prince and the Paw-per.
  • Punny Name: The second film (set in London, as a reminder) has a character named Abby Westminster.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: In the first Garfield movie, Garfield turns on the TV and the Black Eyed Peas' "Hey Mama" starts playing, which makes Odie dance. The song played again during the contest, this time on the radio.
  • Retcon: Jon buys Odie from a pet shop in the first movie, when in the comic strip, Jon's former roommate Lyman gave him to him.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: The first movie's trailer.
  • Rousing Speech: Garfield gives one to the Carlyle Castle animals in the second film to encourage them to... make a perfect lasagne. This is Garfield we're talking about, after all.
  • Shout-Out: The first movie has ones to Apocalypse Now, Cape Fear, The Lion King, Jerry Maguire, Apollo 13, and Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: In the first movie. Liz says the reason why she has a crush on Jon since high school because he has always been nicer than the other boys.
    Jon: Liz, I have a confession... It's not really a confession, it's more of an admission. It's a... you know, it's like a declaration. I have a....
    Liz: I love it when you do that!
    Jon: Do what?
    Liz: Y'know, trip over yourself. It's cute... It's one of the reasons why I had a crush on you in high-school.
    Jon: You had a crush on me?
    Liz: Yeah... I thought you were really cute, decent, not like all those other jerks.
  • Sphere Eyes: Garfield only. Which is slightly creepy to some, even for a CGI talking animal in a live action movie.
  • Starring Special Effects: Garfield is CGI in a live-action setting.
  • The Trope Formerly Known as X: "Obviously that cat is not Prince." "He's not even the cat formerly known as Prince."
  • Villainous Breakdown: By the time Garfield, Prince, and the Carlisle Castle animals are finished with Lord Dargis, he's reduced to a gibbering wreck.
    Lord Dargis: It was the animals, you know. They were plotting against me. Ask Smithy, he'll vouch for me. SMITHYYY!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Even after Odie comes outside to comfort Garfield (who is locked out for the night), Garfield leaves him outside and locks the pet-door, causing Odie to run away. Arlene, Nermal, and Luca the Doberman pinscher call Garfield out on this.
  • You Won't Like How I Taste: Subverted. When encountering a mob of rats in the first movie, Garfield tries persuading them not to eat him because he's too fat for them. They just reply that fat's good enough for them.

The CGI movies contain examples of:


Example of: