Underdog Movie Review
This is a LookingForClues movie review of
a great movie for both kids and adults, Underdog!
Haven't seen it? Buy your own copy. It's out on DVD - Own it now!
Plot Synopsis: 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 a man obsessed with revenge and bent on genetically modifying
the entire population of Capital City. An unwitting former policeman Dan (James Belushi)
and his son Jack (Alex Neuberger) adopt Shoeshine in hopes of improving their strained
relationship and what follows is a typical scene of home destruction by a young dog
multiplied exponentially by the incredible strength, speed, and newly developed language
skills of one super dog. Read
Please read our review of Underdog,
below. To own your own copy of the movie, please click on this ad, or click on one
of the other DVDs for sale at Amazon.com.
our exclusive Feature Article:
Here's Why We're To Cheer: UNDERDOG Is Here!
by Lynda Rey 2/13/08
We all have our days of wishing animals can talk. What are they thinking? Do they
sit there wishing we can understand them just the same? How many of us stopped to
stare into the eyes of our furry best friends just to ask aloud, "Just what is going
on in that head of yours?" Obviously, no matter how much we wish otherwise, animals
cannot utter a single word to us. But fortunately, there's always the movies! That's
why films depicting talking animals are always so appealing for adults and children
alike. They're irresistible, and they just keep getting better and better. You just
can't help but love a good-humored family film, especially when it involves the sheer
magic of talking animals. These films are among the biggest of cravings for families
everywhere, namely those crawling with kids.
One of the latter additions to the sweet mix of talking animal films is the one and
the first live-action movie that depicts the classic cartoon superhero of the same
name. And yes, just like the cartoon of old, this modern day Underdog really is a
dog who just happened to have stumbled upon his superhero powers, as well as his power
of speech for humans to understand, at a laboratory accident. It was an experiment
gone wrong in one sense, but so right in another. Shoeshine, Underdog's alternate
identity, was originally a failed police dog without the smarts to get the job done
successfully. But that all changes when he gains those infamous superhero powers reminiscent
of Superman. And though he may have gained so much, the true dog at heart is still
as clumsy as he was when he was just a simple dog, a fact that gave proper homage
to the original cartoon series. Despite the changes from cartoon to live-action, Underdog was
always a dog with a strong spirit that evenly matched his powers, but not at the expense
of his character in heart.
The concept is rather appealing if you ask me. The original cartoon aired before I
was ever alive, but I'm sure that if I was a child of today, I'd embrace it just the
same. Much of the humor is innocently childlike in the film, but still quite enough
to bring out a chuckle or two from the adults just as well. What person wouldn't be
intrigued by a story about a little dog that could? After discovering and learning
to embrace his powers, Shoeshine eventually learns what it means to be a hero and
to sacrifice his own wants for the wellbeing of others. Even without superpowers to
help him, he still learns to gain a genuine confidence in himself against all the
odds. It's a wonderful lesson for the children who watch this film to learn, that
even in the face of adversity you can still be a winner in the end if you hold on
and don't give up. As Underdog himself
says, "It's hard to feel destined for greatness when you keep messing up." But little
does he know, and little do the kids of today know, faith in oneself can make a believer
of anyone, and no matter what sort of underdog you may be, you can still make a difference
in the world.
Of course, one cannot properly praise a film such as this without giving credit to
whom it's due. In this case, that credit must go to the animals, the true stars of
namely the leader of the pack Leo, the beagle chosen to portray our four-legged hero.
His is a touching story, a beagle discovered at a Beagle rescue group, where he was
fortunate enough to be adopted and trained to bring to life the adorable Shoeshine.
But even more adorable is the presence of the female star Polly, who was brought to
life by a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Ginger. Apparently, Ginger and Leo had
a genuine onscreen "attraction," and seemingly couldn't get enough of each other.
The result, of course, was a truly sweet onscreen chemistry that you just can't help
but get "awww" over. Let's face it: movies of this genre would not be what they are
today if it wasn't for the hard-working trainers and the lovable animals that steal
Last but not least are the splendidly magical visual effects, as well as the delightful
humor, which the kid in me was rather tickled by. I guess I'm a sucker for innocent,
childish humor. There's a certain purity in it that I for one appreciate from a Disney
movie geared towards our children. The visual effects are as good as they come. Mission
accomplished, for it really does appear that the dogs are talking a whole lot more
convincingly than ever before in past movies. The voices are topnotch as well, especially
by Jason Lee, the actor behind the role of Underdog,
whose voice is rather witty and comical, a perfect completion to the character.
This film's been accused of being forgettable by many critics, and sure, maybe a majority
of the adults out there can agree. But this one's an adventure for the kiddies, ladies
and gentleman, not for us older folk who have to deal with a world a little less adventurous
and intriguing than it is through the eyes of a child. So while we may forget it,
the kids will more than likely love it and that should be all that matters. The DVD
itself is creative in its layout, with Underdog himself,
as voiced by Jason Lee, narrating a very informative behind-the-scenes feature. The
DVD also includes a music video made special for the film, a modern, upbeat version
that's rather catchy and addictive to sing along to. But that's probably the kid in
me again, still smiling at my secret adventure of Underdog.
Lynda is 26 years old, lives in Indiana,
and hopes to one day pursue a career working with animals. She enjoys many forms of
self-expression, including art, poetry, and writing, which is one of the latter additions
to her list of hobbies.
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