In Theatres: 
Aug 03, 2007
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 24 Minutes

It seems like the only real smart move in this day and age would be to get the little ones on the bandwagon when it comes to the superhero craze infecting Hollywood. Underdog accomplishes that task, though with little originality considering the formula that exists in this film compared to a film franchise like Superman. Both have flying superheroes who must hide their super identities or face having their loved ones put in harms way, and the similarities don’t end there.  There were aspects of the film that I felt were kind of a let down. It seems that for every other film that I see Patrick Warburton in he just feels underused. His dry witted humor and faceless expressions work but seem almost like overkill considering the string of one liners he has to work with. On the complete opposite end, Peter Dinklage also seems a little overkill as the completely serious, probably far to serious, mad scientist.  It felt like everybody else got the memo that this film was silly and Dinklage came prepared for Shakespeare. Finally, Jason Lee seemed as if he phoned this one in. Why studio’s insist on bringing just anyone in for voice over work is beyond me. Lee delivers his lines without enthusiasm or craft, not that the kids care, but I felt like I was hearing an extended episode of My Name Is Earl. Where’s Frank Welker when you need him?

Okay. So why should you see this film? What’s good about it you ask? Despite the above mentioned discrepancies there is enough to love about Underdog.  The stroke of genius in this film is the decision to use real animals instead of going crazy with CGI. Unlike films like Scooby Doo and Garfield, Underdog is easily more accessible considering your more impressed with the movements and adorable expressions on the faces of the real life dogs in the film then being hung up on how fake they would look if they were CGI. The special effects that surround Underdog are almost flawless as well. The director manages to blend the animals well into their movements when they do become CGI or when they speak.

All of that aside you have to keep in mind that this film is aimed at consumers who are fresh to the formula, kids. As a live action superhero film for kids Underdog is a winner. The film seemed to keep the attention of my children as well as the children in the audience, even most of the adults. Like most superhero franchises I guess you have to endure the mostly tiresome feat of introduction before you get a complete film with maybe a bit more substance. Here’s hoping, if there is one, a stronger film in the sequel.

* On a side note I found it odd there was no dedication to the late Wally Cox, the original voice of Underdog.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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