Garfield’s Pet Force
Garfield’s Pet Force 2009
I was doing a random search on Netflix trying to find something that I hadn’t covered yet and didn’t have to pay for and one of the movies that came up was this straight-to-video kid’s movie. And one of the biggest selling points for me was that it was just over an hour long. Now, when I was a kid I liked Garfield pretty well, it was the era when Garfield and Friends played on TV and I typically watched it every time it was on, but ever since I was an adult and the seemingly awful live action Garfield movies came out, my opinion of Garfield has gone way down. So my expectations for this movie were pretty low. There was a small amount of interesting meta humor, but for the most part it was a pretty dull and uninteresting take on superheroes with Garfield characters, including several that I had never heard of before.
This movie is somewhat of a Spider-verse style story way before Spider-verse and way simpler. The Pet Force is a superhero version of Garfield and his friends that live inside the comic book universe while the normal version of Garfield lives in the cartoon universe. Apparently this is the third movie in a trilogy that started with Garfield going between the cartoon world and the real world. This one is where things get switched back and forth with between the comic strip world and the comic book world. And of course, the comic book world has pretty much all of the same characters only in different roles. Jon is the emperor of the planet Dorkus, and Garfield and his friends are all superheroes that are basically just their regular heads on extremely muscular bodies. And Nermal looks the same but is a speedster. The rest of the human characters are an odd mix. Many of them look like normal cartoon caricatures of people, but there’s a couple that are pushed to the extreme that look really horrifying.
The voice work in the film is pretty standard. Garfield and his superhero counterpart Garzooka are voiced by veteran voice actor Frank Welker who does a good job at mimicking the original Garfield voice by Lorenzo Music, but his Garzooka voice sounds like the narrator from Super Friends. It was also an odd disconnect to hear Nermal’s voice sound more like a boy when his appearance in the 80’s/90’s series was voiced by a woman and had very feminine tendencies, but apparently Nermal’s always been a boy kitten who just happened to be preoccupied with being cute. Here, he’s more of a comic book nerd who helps give some of the exposition when the two worlds come together. Like with a lot of nostalgia, it’s difficult to get used to new versions of characters when it’s so easy to compare them to the old ones, but everyone does a decent job here. The animation is what’s now the standard of fully CGI but has an overall cheap and not very detailed look to it.
The story itself is pretty basic and gets rushed through pretty quickly. There’s a scrambler gun that takes two things and mixes them up, which is generally shown by having two characters swap heads. Plus, there’s the added bonus that anyone who gets scrambled by the gun also mindlessly obeys the user of the gun because of course they do. A woman named Vetvix comes in with her minions and agrees to marry Jon and immediately uses the event as an excuse to steal the scrambler gun and try to take over the universe. The Pet Force comes in but most of them get scrambled except for Garzooka who is given a serum that can turn those with the same DNA in the cartoon universe into replacement Pet Force members. After that, it’s a basic universe hopping team up with some twists and turns and eventually the cartoon Garfield ends up stepping up to the challenge to save the day.
The humor throughout was pretty basic for a kid’s cartoon. There were a few surprising meta style jokes like Garfield pointing out that he can’t be tortured because of cartoon physics, and Nermal goes through a short list of Marvel and DC speedster names including the Whizzer. But the rest were pretty basic Garfield style jokes about him being fat and lazy or standard cartoon slapstick. There was a moment of bizarre body horror when Vetvix uses the super scrambler on the cartoon world Pet Force to turn them into a giant ball of heads, arms, and legs in weird positions. There were a few other weird things throughout that might have made more sense with the context of the first two films but there wasn’t anything in the description of the movie that made it sound like anything except for a stand alone movie. All in all, it might be ok for kids, but the story was simple, the humor was basic, and the action was nothing out of the ordinary. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.