Movies: Garfield’s Pet Force

I don’t remember where we bought the first of Jim Davis’ Pet Force books, but once we read that we had to find and buy the rest. I had never cared for Garfield, and couldn’t understand the appeal of the comics, but Garfield and his friends as superheroes are funny.

When I saw the DVD of Garfield’s Pet Force at Wal-Mart today, I decided the movie would be a perfect rental for a holiday weekend. (So I went put it back on the shelf and went to Blockbuster to rent it.) It’s hard to find a movie that the whole family can enjoy, with plenty of action but not scary, and humor that all ages can appreciate. This one worked very well.

Garfield fans who aren’t Pet Force fans probably wouldn’t appreciate it much. Looking at customer reviews of one of the other CGI Garfield movies released in the last couple years, a user complained that these new Garfield movies just don’t work at all. You can’t take the Garfield from the comics with all his obnoxious habits and attitudes, and combine him with the cartoon style appealing to and suitable for young children, and have something anyone will appreciate. (Well, my younger son might – he likes anything to do with Garfield, whether he understands the humor or not.)

The movie is – like most adaptations from books – different in significant ways. Whether or not you like the movie, you could still enjoy the books. If I had to choose between books and movie, I’d take the books. But the movie is good, just in a different way. This is no doubt in large part because Jim Davis was both the writer and executive producer for the movie himself. He uses the same basic premise as the books, and most of the same characters, but goes off in new directions.

Two paws up!

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