American astronaut Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker lands on Planet 51 thinking he's the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds that this planet is inhabited by little green people who are happily living in a white picket fence world, and whose only fear is that it will be overrun by alien invaders...like Chuck!
A bomb-sniffing beagle is fired from the mayor's office for a faux pas. That night a mad scientist dognaps him and injects him with an elixir. The dog escapes, but now has superpowers. He's adopted by a security guard - an ex-cop, who's a widower with a moody teen son, Jack. The boy discovers that the dog, named Shoeshine by dad, has super powers, but it's their little secret. While Underdog saves people in distress, the mad scientist and his underling continue their plot to catch him and take over the city. There's also a girl Jack likes who has a dog that Shoeshine takes a shine to. Will every dog have his day? Written by
You know, the old Underdog cartoons were a favorite of mine when I was little. I much preferred them to its counterparts in Rocky & Bulwinkle, Dudley Doright, and Fractured Fairy Tales. I really had forgotten what it was that I had loved so much about those old, cheaply animated cartoons.
Then I saw this movie, and it actually reminded me about what I had liked so much -- the rhyming couplets of Underdog's speech, the inability for Polly Purebred to recognize that Shoeshine is Underdog, and one other thing which I will leave as a surprise (it's a bit of dialogue at the end of the film).
Obviously, I disagree with many other reviewers here. Clearly, this has been marketed to kids, with the hope that nostalgic parents will be willing to cart the kids to the theater to see it. Four adults went with three children in my group, and all of us enjoyed the movie.
First, let me say that it is rare to find a great movie for all ages. It's hard to find any sort of action/superhero genre movie that is not peppered with profanity, sexual innuendo, or potty humor. Underdog is almost nil on all those counts. What exists in this movie is far from the usual garbage that attempts to pass as humor. All of us felt comfortable with our children (age ranges 4 - 10) seeing this.
I didn't mind the fact that the movie is not animated. The CGI stuff that animates the dogs' mouths does not trouble me. I mean, does anyone expect that this is going to be nominated for any Oscars? Sometimes movies exist just for escapist entertainment.
For me, the movie hearkened back to the original cartoon as much as it could without looking stupid. Obviously, Underdog's alter-ego is not literally a clothed dog working as a shoeshine boy. But I think that what the writers and director did was fine. As a fan of the original series, I was not disappointed.
I also liked Jason Lee's voice for Underdog. The script was humorous without being gross, and it clearly was geared for children. Simon Barsinister is an adequate villain, but rather upstaged by Patrick Warburton as the witless Cad.
Like I said, others may disagree with me, but I think this is one that I'd buy on DVD to have in my child's library of movies. It's nice to know that there is something that kids can watch without having to be subjected to profanity or sexuality in everything that comes across the screen.
It seems to me that most of the other reviewers have expected way too much or else have turned a too-critical eye on this pleasantly distracting bit of entertainment. As I said before, it evoked a lot of memories for me of the original, and I even liked the new spin on the theme song.
Guys, every movie does not have to be Schindler's List, Lord of the Rings, Titantic, or some such other movie with critical acclaim.
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