The Garfield films get a lot of hate and I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s just the normal backlash at the kids films with CG characters….I don’t know. What I do know is that when the first Garfield film came out, I was hooked. I’m a lifelong fan of the character and I loved what Iwas seeing. It was funny and sassy and it really FELT like Garfield (apparently a lot of people disagred). My main complain was that the dog Odie, was real and not CG (not enough budget for him to also be a cartoon apparently)
I was shocked when I heard there would be a sequel.
Hill has taken a lot of the critisisms from the first movie and addressed them. Odie is still not a cartoon, but there’s WAY less of him. Garfield dosen’t dance (except for a goofy bit at the end) and there’s more of him. Twice as much in fact.
It’s a stimple twin swapping story, Garfield takes the place of one of the royal cats of England, trying to save the family manor. Our villian, in a brilliant bit of casting, is Billy Connally who manages not to die in a film for once.
I kind of feel bad for Hill on this one, because while he crafts a funny and entertaining film, this one seemed doomed from the start with the bad press fro mteh first and Bill Murry’s reluctance to come in for the voice – I think the studio expected this to do meger numbers. The movie deserves better. Hill treats the material with respect and is more than just a hired gun on this one. Seriously, if you have good memories of watchign the Garfield holiday specials on TV, you should check this out – especially if you have kids!
The Muppet Movie is absolutely my favorite of all the Muppet films. It’s the perfect dead-on take on Henson’s creations. But it might surprise you to know that Muppets From Space is a fast second place – none of the others even come close.
In the era after Henson’s death until the time Disney finally bought the property, the Muppers kind of meandered, not sure how to proceed. We had a couple half hearted sequals – adaptions of Treasure Island and a Christmas Carol, as well as the ill-fated Muppts Tonight show that ABC never gave a chance (yanking it after only four episodes).
I like Muppets from space because it features the Muppets just being themselves- it’s thier downtime, thier personal adventures – soemthing I always found more interesting than the skits themselves. I find the story of Gonzo discovering that he is infact an alien to be a brilliant revelation, and the journey to find his alien tribe to be hilarious.
It’s also here where we see Tim Hill’s skill in making the inanimate characters lifelike. He understands how to shoot them so you believe it…and he gets the heart of the characters.
Don’t just stream this on Netflix by the way, find this on DVD if you can. It features Hill, along with Gonzo and Rizzo commenting on the film MST3K style and is one of the best riffs ever.
This time around I feel like I need to do a little introduction before diving into this director’s spotlight…in the past we’ve covered genre directors and more familiar names, but Hill isn’t quite the household name as some.
Over the years I’ve frequently heard him referred to as a hack director. I’m not sure I can argue that. I don’t know.
What I do know is that Tim hill consistently puts out family films that I genuinely enjoy…enough that I seek his name out and go out of my way to catch his movies. If he’s a hack, he’s MY hack, and he’s tackled some of my favorite franchises, showing skill and a wicked sense of humor. He’s one of the driving forces behind Spongebob which give you an idea of his humor, but it’s his live action work I want to explore.
That’s why I want to spend a little time looking back on his work – to shine a light on a director I really enjoy and perhaps even to mount a bit of a defense against the popular opinions.