December 18, 2007
| by Marshal Rosenthal
There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here. Bringing this icon to the big screen, I was glad to see they didn’t try and create a computer-generated dog from the get-go. Instead we get a real beagle playing the party of our hero (Shoeshine being his secret identity). Sure special effects are added, since dogs tend not to be able to fly, but there’s enough “reality” to make you buy into the story. And while simplistic, the story does everything it needs to do to entertain without becoming condescending. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy a talking dog who rhymes?
Of all the characters, it’s the bad guys who really shine - the “good” folks are mostly innocuous with the exception of course of our hero Underdog (voiced brilliantly by Jason Lee). The CG for making the dogs “talk”, combined with the physical work needed when you have real dogs interacting with people, is very well done and high-def only accents the care, attention and quality of these effects. The colors are bright and details sharp. While the movie is definitely geared for children (notice all the “cartoonish” violence), adults will enjoy the nostalgia and snide remarks.
Sound is well executed and there’s nice use of surrounds. While PCM will provide stronger bass, use of conventional Dolby Digital is fine. Both insure subtle sounds are as well represented as big effects.
Of the extras, including bloopers and the first Underdog cartoon, the dog “diary” is the most intriguing as it explains how canines are trained to behave on cue. Plus compared to the DVD, there’s an additional cartoon featuring the evil Simon Barsinister and additional deleted scenes.
Considering how many Superhero films we’ve been subjected to lately, don’t you think it’s time they’ve gone to the dogs? Underdog, that is.