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Underdog
DVD disk
7 years ago By: Mathew Plale
Underdog order
Director:
Frederik Du Chau

Actors:
Jason Lee
James Belushi
Peter Dinklage

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In this adaptation of the Saturday morning cartoon/comic, a beagle dons a cape and sets out to save Capitol City.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
To many, Underdog was a staple to their Saturday morning. To me, the pooch was/is nothing more than a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. An even younger group will have the beagle as a Walt Disney deflation of their parents’ favorite wet-nosed hero.

In this particular Underdog story (deriving more from the comic than the cartoon), we follow—with pooper-scooper in hand—the canine who, after some genetic tinkering from Dr. Simon Barsinister (go-to dwarf Peter Dinklage) and fumbling sidekick Cad (Patrick Warburton), inherits the speed of a cheetah, flight of an eagle, strength of an elephant, and the voice of a very bored Jason Lee.

Very shortly thereafter, Dan Unger (James Belushi) takes Shoeshine (Underdog when in Clark Kent mode) in, much to the disdain of his son, Jack (Alex Neuberger). And since the movie barely surpasses 80 minutes, he quickly picks up on Shoeshine’s powers, leading to Underdog’s equal amount of arrests and destruction throughout Capitol City, stopping not once to lick his own testicles, likely resting his tongue to perform the cherry stem trick for Polly Purebred (voice of Amy Adams).

It took three (3!) writers to bring Underdog to flesh and fleas for his first feature-length treatment. Scene after scene is hounded (hardy-har) with puppy-puns (“Sherlock Bones” will have you stitching up your ears) that push more of a whimper than a bark. The younger crowd may get a laugh, but the poor parents who ditched their brown-bags for themed lunchbox/thermos set in the ‘60s are left with a smirk at most.

Underdog is a movie that relies heavily on visual effects. And while they showcase imaginatively, they hide a far more satisfying premise: nixing the CG causes Underdog to arrive late for each burglary and assault, leaving production to be scrapped. In the end, you want to rub director Frederik Du Chau’s nose in his own, eh, chili.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes w/ Optional Intros by Director Frederik Du Chau (4:07): We’ve got three scenes here that, as Du Chau explains, don’t enhance the story in any way, shape, or form.

Bloopers (1:36): Painful enough, but a bit light for fans.

Sit. Stay. Act: Diary of a Dog Actor (5:51): Jason Lee puts on the collar once more for this making-of featurette that covers the cartoons, training/other dogs, and more. A “Dig Deeper” sub-feature allows the viewer to get more in-depth coverage throughout.

A Music Video and “Safe Waif”, the first Underdog cartoon round out the disc.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I don't know what I expected going in. Underdog could have failed (which it did) or been a pleasant little surprise to share with the youngsters (which it isn't). Still, the parents who want to share the wonder that is Underdog with their kids may want to give this a rent.
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