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Underdog (2007)

1 rating: 3.0
Action & Adventure and Kids & Family movie directed by Frederik Du Chau

What happens when mad scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage) and a former police beagle Shoeshine (voiced by Jason Lee) are involved in a fiery lab accident? A dog with superpowers is born (soon to be dubbed Underdog) and Dr. Barsinister becomes … see full wiki

Tags: Movie
Director: Frederik Du Chau
1 review about Underdog (2007)

Furry Family Fun

  • Nov 22, 2007
Rating:
+3
When I first heard that Disney was going to be putting out a live action version of "Underdog," I cringed at the thought. How could one make a live action film based on a cartoon who's key character was A) a dog, B) interacted freely with humans and other animals and C) was definitely a product of its times? Sure, the "Scooby-Doo" films have been out for awhile, but Scooby (and his cousins) were the only animals that interacted with anyone and their update was a fair success. Although Disney's answer wasn't 100% perfect, it was definitely a good response.

What the writers did was simplify the original tale somewhat. Instead of having Underdog interact with humans by being a shoeshine boy, he became an out-of-luck former police dog who's picked up by the caring-but-tense family of James Belushi and Alex Neuberger. They name him "Shoeshine." They also made the rest of the animals, namely Polly and Riff-Raff, only interact with Underdog and not the humans. Lastly, they firmly planted this film in 2007 by updating the lingo, the music, and the science that created Underdog.

Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage) and Cad (Patrick Warburton) are along for the ride and just like in the old TV show, they are Underdog's primary adversaries. Jason Lee provides the voice of the super pup, and gives him a refreshing update that I'm sure will tick off fans of the original cartoon.

The story, as mentioned earlier, is based around a not-so-hot police dog who's literally laughed off of the force by his comrades. He's picked up by Barsinister and Cad and becomes Underdog through a lab accident. He escapes from Barsinister and is picked up by another has-been cop, James Belushi. He's taken in by Belushi and his son and begins to form a strong bond with the boy. The rest of the story centers around Barsinister trying to capture Underdog to use his powers to take over the city and, eventually, the world. Along the way Shoeshine/Underdog falls for Polly, his new family gets closer, and he struggles with a catchphrase.

Sure, the story is simplistic and entirely unbelievable, but this is still a very good film to take your children to. I don't recall any harsh language but there is a little bit of violence and some puppy peril. At one point a particular pup gets into a deadly situation that might scare very young children. Just know that all turns out well in the end and I promise that your kids will be smiling before the movie is over.

This isn't a great film, but it is a very good family flick. The cast do an excellent job with what they have to work with and the special effects are of a similar (but slightly better) grade as those in other recent live-action flicks that involve CGI characters. I'm especially fond of Underdog's take-offs when he heads to the air.

Fans of the original series will probably cry foul over what has happened to their beloved Underdog. They do have a legitimate gripe but this film wasn't made to recall a ton of memories. It was made to draw in a modern crowd of youngsters and their families (some of which may not have even heard of the original show). The bottomline is this: It's a good family show that is enjoyable for both kids and their parents. Haggle over the changes if you must, but in the end, Disney has a winner with "Underdog."

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