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Fox Home Entertainment presents
Garfield Gets Real (2007)

“Well, breakfast is nearly ready. We’ll eat as soon as I rouse Mr. Grumpy.”
- Jon (Wally Wingert)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: July 11, 2008

Stars: Frank Welker
Other Stars: Gregg Berger, Wally Wingert, Jason Marsden, Audrey Wasilewsky
Director: Mark A.Z. Dippe

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:17m:46s
Release Date: November 20, 2007
UPC: 024543477181
Genre: family


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BA-B B+

DVD Review

If you, like most moviegoers, thought the first two “live action” Garfield movies were a complete waste of time and film, then you probably won’t jump at the chance to check out the latest adventures of everyone’s favorite lasagna-loving fat cat. Fortunately, 2007’s Garfield Gets Real has two things going for it that the previous efforts didn’t: it’s actually a feature-length, CGI animated film, and, it went straight-to-DVD instead of littering our multiplexes.

Garfield (Frank Welker) is sick and tired of living in his “cartoon world,” especially with Odie (Gregg Berger) and Jon (Wally Wingert). He even has a job shooting a daily comic strip with Nermal (Jason Marsden) and Arlene (Audrey Wasilewsky). One day, Odie manages to put one of his bones through a hole that has the “real world” on the other side of it. Garfield seizes this opportunity to go there, and jumps through the hole, along with Odie. Unfortunately, Garfield soon realizes that he should have been more careful about what he wished for, as he doesn’t have any of the same luxuries there. When he learns that in this new world they’re searching for his replacement among the comic strips, Garfield realizes its time to head back to his world, a place he never should have left.

It’s kind of sad that it took ditching the live action element to produce an entertaining Garfield movie, but that’s clearly the case. Also gone is Bill Murray as the voice of the big cat, and in is veteran animated voice man Frank Welker. While I love watching Murray in action in nearly everything he does, he never really fit in the previous films, and is a welcome deletion from this one. Welker does a much better job than Murray, thankfully, and the rest of the voice talent is also quite good, especially Jason Marsden as Nermal.

Another surprising reaction is that an all-CGI film is a preference over live action. These days, there’s far too much CGI in most movies, but it turns out, at least in this case, that such a format is much more effective, even believable, than having an animated character interacting with an actual human actor. With Garfield’s entire environment being presented in CGI, we’re allowed to completely immerse ourselves in the story without being distracted by any of the technical inconsistencies that can arise from the use of animation/live action integration via green screen.

Still, the key to any movie’s effectiveness is the story, and the writers have done a solid job here. Instead of a by-the-numbers story involving Garfield’s hunt for missing lasagna or something, these writers obviously had their thinking caps on, giving us a surprisingly deep look at a cartoon character who wants to be something more. Sure, there are plenty of times where it’s clear that the story is being geared towards younger kids, but there’s just enough here to please those of us who have been Garfield fans for many years.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and the CGI animation is eye-popping. The bright colors practically sparkle, with vivid hues on display at all times, and enough zing to catch kids’ eyes and keep them riveted to the screen for just over an hour. While this isn’t Pixar quality material, it could definitely hold its own against similar big-screen fare.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0French, Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: A surprisingly active Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a strong one that is much more enveloping than expected. Quite a bit of the audio stays up front, but when Garfield and Odie are involved in some action scenes, the surrounds spring to life. The dialogue is never an issue, remaining clear at all times.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The New Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!, Firehouse Dog, Strawberry Shortcake: The Sweet Dreams Movie, Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes
7 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Don’t Be Late! – Interactive Game
  2. Punt the Pooch – DVD-ROM Game
  3. Whack-A-WaWa – DVD-ROM Game
Extras Review: The extras include a whopping seven featurettes, beginning with Pencils, Paws and Ink: Creating the Garfield Comic Strip. This six-minute segment follows creator Jim Davis as he goes through his process for writing the Garfield comic strip. In Jim Davis: Raw & Un-Cat, we take a seven-minute look at Garfield Gets Real with Davis, who takes a back seat (for the most part) to producer Dan Chuba in the next featurette, the five-minute piece, The Animation Process, which goes over exactly what the title implies.

During Legends Working Together, we get almost five minutes with the voice talents behind the film, and in Bloopers: The Voice in Our Heads, there are almost two minutes of funny voice over outtakes. Finding Your Voice looks, for six minutes, at director Mark Dippe, and how he gets the voice talent to mesh together into one cohesive unit. Finally, Animating From the Seoul takes four minutes to explain the relationship between the stateside folks behind the film and the animators that reside in Seoul.

Don’t Be Late! is an interactive set-top game during which you have to help Garfield find everything on his list so he isn’t late for work. This isn’t super-challenging, but the kids will enjoy getting to use the DVD player’s remote to point and click on the things that Garfield is looking for.

There’s also a pair of DVD-ROM games: Punch the Pooch and Whack-A-WaWa. In the first, you are Garfield and must kick Odie as far as you can, while in the other game, you’re Odie playing a variation on Whack-A-Mole.

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

The people behind the Garfield franchise have taken a step in the right direction with the direct-to-DVD Garfield Gets Real. Miles beyond the pair of terrible theatrical releases, this CGI-animated movie does a fine job capturing the spirit of what the original comic strip was all about. Fox’s DVD is a nice surprise as well, boasting excellent audio and video presentations, and even some nice extras to keep us interested after the feature.

 


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