Monday, April 16, 2012

Underdog Review by Briana Alessio

Have no fear, Underdog is here!

This lighthearted comedy is one which brings many chuckles throughout.  The opening scene had me captivated right away, narrated by Jason Lee (who voiced the one and only Underdog himself), which gave a retro throwback to the 1960s cartoon. 

For such an underrated Disney film, I thought the cast was pretty stellar.  In one of the first scenes we see Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage, AND Patrick Warburton.  Mind blowing!  Belushi has appeared in a few TV shows, also starring in his own, According to Jim.  Dinklage is one of my favorite current actors, who stars on HBO’s Game of Thrones (not recommended for young audiences).  And we all love Warburton for voicing the lovable Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove, and for telling us how to prepare for our flight on Soarin’ in Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Also in this film we have the aforementioned Jason Lee who starred in the quirky TV show My Name Is Earl.  The delightful Miss Amy Adams voices Polly, the female pooch who captures the eye of Shoeshine (although Polly admires Underdog) and is unaware that this is the same canine.  Do I make sense? 

Looking back at the cartoon, it seems like a very well cast film.  Dinklage and Warburton were absolutely believable as Dr. Simon Barsinister and Cad.  Although I did not have the privilege of witnessing the cartoon when it aired, I can see that director Frederik Du Chau did the best job he possibly could in casting the right actors.  Also must give props to young actors Alex Neuberger and Taylor Momsen, who portrayed Jack and Molly.

I also must make mention of the adorable reference to Lady and the Tramp, when Polly goes on a date with Underdog (she does not realize it is Shoeshine, as I explained above).  They have a plate of spaghetti in the front of them and there is an absolutely endearing scene where Polly and Underdog/Shoeshine roll the meatball with their noses, back and forth on the plate. 

With almost every film, there is a negative.  The issue I had with it was how they circled around the plot of the film.  After all, there is only so much you can do with a live action film based on a canine superhero.  I love dogs with every bit of my soul, but when you are given a live action film where the dogs’ mouths are going to move, you cannot expect much of the storyline to be taken seriously.  And maybe the original cartoon was not to be taken seriously?  I’m used to human superheroes, so this was a whole different style for me.  And even this is not much of an issue.  I find the film to be completely enjoyable. 

Only 84 minutes long, this film is not too short or too long.  It is the perfect length.  Some of the scenes are laugh out loud, thanks to the humorous tone which Lee gave to Shoeshine/Underdog throughout the film, as well as Warburton’s many hysterical moments.  I would definitely recommend it.  Three paws up!

My Rating:  3/5 stars.

Right, I’m going to learn manners from a guy who pees in my white porcelain drinking bowl.

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