As a kid, I read Garfield on a daily basis. I collected the little books they would put out every so often (still have most of them). The cartoon show, Garfield & Friends; I always found funny & I even went to the first movie though I found it a little puzzling (like why would you animate Garfield but have a real live Odie, doesn’t make much sense). In my head, I had even teased the idea of owning the Volume sets of Garfield & Friends. So when this title came across my desk, I wa… a little interested to say the least.
Garfield & Friends was essentially 2-3 shorts per show; 1 with Garfield, 1 with the U.S. Acres gang (another Jim Davis cartoon that was never quite as funny), and then usually another little short of Garfield acting out maybe a previous comicstrip or singing a silly song. It made for a pretty tight 22 minutes. So this particular dvd, you get 13 shorts all involving Odie (and most involving Garfield since Odie really can’t speak). This is puzzling since the Volume sets are already out there and this just seems like a budget minded – money grab. Sure, they pick good episodes to show off Odie. But let’s remember the star was and always is Garfield; Odie was second fiddle and was just a compliment to the main cat. Garfield & Friends succeeds on the dry humor approach. Truth be told, I did not find myself laughing as much as I had hoped. All of the funny moments were with Garfield on the screen, not Odie which is unfortunate for this particular disc.
The video is the standard tv definition 1:33 to 1. The picture unfortunately is abysmal. They looked like they were ripped from VHS masters (or perhaps copies) with lots of grain and specs throughout. My only guess is that the episodes were not well preserved and therefore not much could be done with them. Perhaps these need to be watched on a smaller tv; but it was honestly very hard to watch and appreciate.
The audio is the original as well, which is good old Mono (English & Spanish). It’s what you would expect from a cartoon show in the late 80’s and early 90’s. All in the center channel, and nothing really strong even during action sequences. It’s serviceable, but certainly nothing special (subtitles are provided for English and Spanish as well).
Automatic Trailers: There are trailers when you start the disc for the new Care Bear movie (*looks nervously at his upcoming reviewer queue*), Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties DVD, a smattering of other Fox cartoons available on DVD and then something that might or might not be interesting; Garfield the Comics coming to DVD in Fall 2007. I’ll reserve judgment.
Outside of that, not a single extra can be found. According to Amazon; you are supposed to get a mini-beanie plush Odie toy but somehow mine is missing. Not sure if I should blame Fox or blame my webmaster. I’ll let you know. A full color two sided insert is included for Episode Selection purposes and is appreciated. Another thing of note, could we get rid of the show opener for every episode? When the episodes are 8-9 minutes long; a one minute opener is very tiresome. I know what you are going to say; that Garfield says something smart and unique at the end of each opener. Okay, then make it a five second clip to start the show. It has the title, we know what we are watching and we don’t miss anything!
This is another instance of something I want to like very badly. I loved the show as a kid, and had even teased the idea of buying Volume Sets. Somehow the dry humor didn’t save this release. The video was hard to look at and sound was there but nothing exciting. The episode selection while staying on topic was mostly boring. This was mostly a budget minded grab trying to get some parent to buy it for their children (especially with the little Mini-Beanie that has gone missing). I had hoped it would have been a good introduction to the long standing series. Instead; I feel flat and can’t recommend this disk unless Odie is your favorite character. Or if you don’t want to shuffle thru the 5 Volumes of previously released material trying to find him.
The Fairy Dogmother
Odie the Amazing
Odielock and the Three Cats
Moo Cow Mutt
All About Odie
Ode to Odie
Special Features List
- Automatic Trailers