“There’s no need to fear. Underdog (rated PG) is here!” Disney’s latest canine caper, starring Jim Belushi, is here! Based loosely on the Underdog cartoon show from a few decades back, this action-packed adventure aims to please…6-8 year olds, that is. Having grown up watching the cartoon myself, I stepped into the theatre with feeling of nostalgia. A little ways into the film, I felt a twinge of disappointment. The thing I noticed and missed most was the “matter-of-fact” voice of the original Underdog. Jason Lee, the voice of the the new Underdog, was definitely not the best choice for the role. Even then, I somehow waited and waited, hoping Disney wouldn’t let me down.
Once again, Disney is sticking to it’s traditional theme of children who have lost parents. “Underdog” seems to be just another forgettable story of a misunderstood kid (Alex Neuberger) and a frustrated parent (Jim Belushi). The basic plot has been overused in countless movies before. A less than perfect police pooch gets genetically altered by a mad scientist (Peter Dinklage) and ends up with super powers, one of which is the ability to talk. Then, it’s off to save the day. I have to admit, the pooch is somewhat cute and it always amazes me how the animal trainers get the dogs to “act”. Being a dog owner/lover, I got a kick out of some of the doggie jokes. The 6-8 year olds sitting around me were having a blast, laughing at almost everything. Watch out, parents of toddlers — the movie uses some foul language (“stupid” and “shut-up”).
If you have young children, they will definitely enjoy it. Teenagers might find it a little corny. I, however, over-estimated Disney’s ability to completely mesmerize me because a “LionKing,” it was not.
The original Underdog DVD set is available on Amazon, if you have not seen it.
Watch the trailer of Underdog, the movie: