I have a problem here that I’m not exactly sure how to remedy. Reviewing Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is something that is going to be very difficult, because the film incredibly similar to the first Garfield film. In fact, they are similar enough that they might as well be the same cat–err, review.
Funnily enough, Garfield (Bill Murray) does get a twin in the sequel to Garfield: The Movie. The twin is called Prince (Tim Curry), and looks exactly the same as Garfield does. Their personalities are nothing alike, and they live in separate parts of the world. So why does this matter? Well, unlike the first film, conflict occurs earlier on in the film, rather than waiting until 2/3 of it is finished.
Liz and Jon are now a couple. Jon (Breckin Meyer) is thinking about proposing to her. When Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt) comes over, she tells Jon that she is leaving for London. Jon decides to follow her, as he believes that London will be a good place to propose. Garfield and Odie decide to stow away in Jon’s luggage and come to England as well.
Once arriving in London, we diverge from the humans in order to see the animals take over. Garfield escapes the hotel that Jon is staying at and roams around the streets of London. Prince, who has just inherited his late owner’s estate, has been thrown out of his castle by a man named Lord Dargis (Billy Connolly). Effectively, after some time, the two cats switch places, and take turns living the life of the other.
Well, that seems like an improvement right away, doesn’t it? Since the previous film spent enough time establishing characters, we don’t have to take that kind of time again. Instead, director Tim Hill hopes that you’ve already seen Garfield: The Movie, so that you will be all caught up when beginning A Tail of Two Kitties.
The plot is actually more complicated this time around, perhaps in hoping that the children who watched the first film will be able to grasp something slightly more complicated now that they’ve aged two years. Having two different perspectives–splitting focus between Garfield and Prince–creates an interesting juxtaposition between the characters. While both cats look identical, and are indistinguishable by the humans, we get to listen to them speak. Their personalities are something we get to learn about right off the bat: Garfield is the smug cat with the big heart and stomach, while Prince is the royal cat, who must always have something to keep him entertained. The cats are doppelgänger of one another, and having two differing personalities certainly makes the film more interesting, for a while anyway.
Because we don’t get a lot of character development, it makes it hard to care for the characters within the film. Not with the American cast of Garfield, Odie, Jon and Liz, no, they’re fine. I’m talking primarily at the characters from England. In the first film, we got too much development, or at least, we spent to long focusing on development. Here, we get almost no development to begin with, and only minimal development after the initial series of events takes place. As a result, we get bored with characters not ever-changing, even when that’s exactly what you would expect.
Take, for example, Prince. He’s finds himself no longer in royal quarters, and you would expect that he’d have to adapt to Jon’s way of life. Here is the big development that occurs while he’s away from home: he finds out that he likes lasagna. Garfield also doesn’t change at all, and stays the same cat he’s always been, just with better room service.
Another thing that hasn’t changed in two years is the CGI work, except it’s even more apparent this time around. It looks exactly the same as it did in the first film, only this time, we have two Garfield models to stare at throughout the film. The animations are still fine, but the pseudo-realistic look that they attempted doesn’t look real enough to work.
Still to be praised is the voice work, this time with many more talking animals. Bill Murray still fits the character of Garfield almost perfectly, while Tim Curry plays Prince well too. The supporting cast of animals, (and there are a lot of them), all have solid voices as well, even if the dialogue isn’t intelligent or insightful in any way.
As before, you need to take the target audience into account when looking at the film. The script isn’t any good, but it isn’t supposed to make you question anything. The film is there strictly to entertain younger audience members, and maybe give their parents something that will keep them awake. It does this.
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties is just about identical to the film preceding it. It improves in one area, its pacing, while regressing in terms of overall story. Since we don’t care much about the overseas cast, that storyline falls apart more than one featuring just Garfield, a character that we have grown to love not just because the first film gave us so much time with him, but also because of the already-established comic strip. On the whole, it’ll entertain the children, and might also entertain their parents.