Monday, August 13, 2007

(Our Unconcerned Underdog, Boo, above)

The Underdog Movie: Was it brilliant, resiliant, heartrending, inspirational? Honestly no...but
By Diana L. Chapman

I liked it anyway.
Underdog was fun-loving, family-oriented, even enjoyable at times movie and for those enamored with canines -- particularly beagles -- it will give you a good chuckle or two.
In particular, it's deliciously snappy for parents looking for a fairly clean-shaven movie in a world dominated by U.S. culture where everything has to be snazzy --from commercials on down--and sprinkled with sexual innuendos, rough language and endless shootouts, an innocent world getting erased quickly day-by-day, moment-by-moment by just by turning on the good 'ol tube.
So despite the critics wham-bams that the movie is literally for the dogs, I'd ask you to think again, hang up the leash for abit and relax. Admittedly, it's roughly the same plot as the same old very bad, simple cartoon. Featuring the voice of comedian Jason Lee in the title role, the Underdog opens with a mad scientist, Simon Bar Sinister (played by Peter Dinklage) wanting to rule the world who accidentally energizes a test lab beagle with super powers such as talking in English (with a bit of Chihuahua-speak splashed in among other doggie languages), and the extraordinary abilities of Superman, including the ability to fly like a rocket and talk in ryhme.
Created as a Superman cartoon spoof in 1964 -- followed by a nine-year-run -- the "Look in the sky. It's a plane! It's a bird. No, it's a frog," would blast into televisions across America as an animated crowd of onlookers stared up at the flying Underdog, a far-from-perfect super hero, who often crash-landed in prat
For whatever reason, no matter how silly, I loved this show as a kid and obviously so did thousands of other American youngsters. It didn't seem to matter much that the punchy little beagle -- who had a reporter girlfriend, a spaniel named Polly Purebred, had the flattest, worst animation of nearly all time.
The truth was, thousands of youths loved this simple, bark-bark concept of a pet dog fighting the big, bad -- real bad -- criminal. 'Twas the saintly, but silly good canine verses the very, beastly human villain.
So sometimes, you have to dismiss what the critics say, because it's not the critics who would be interested (unless they are ages 12 on down) and some parents are just thrilled to get a lot of giggles out of the movie -- no matter how stupid -- which we did.
Anyone who has a canine friend, can really understand when the Underdog (known in his non-super-hero life as just a little imp of a creature named Shoeshine) believes he could perhaps now with super powers hypnotize his new owner, Cad(Patrick Warburton ) a kid whose mother has died and whose father, Dan Unger, (Jim Belushi) a former cop, is now raising his son alone.
Naturally, a great divide exists between the father and son, which is why the symbolic rift needs the nursing from "little 'ol me, Underdog." Now that he believes he has hypnotic powers, Underdog mouths to Cad: "Give the dog your food. Give the dog your food. Give your dog your food."
That's the way most dogs look at you when you're eating. Unfortunately for Shoeshine, aka Underdog, it's the one thing apparently Shoeshine/Underdog cannot accomplish -- a hypnotic stance that gets absolutely no chomps from Cad.
The Underdog speaks in rhyme and in his flying sequences across the sky -- the cartoon ditty, used in the movie as well, soared through American livingrooms.
"When criminals in this world appear,
And break the laws that they should fear,
And frighten all who see or hear,
The cry goes up both far and near for
Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! Underdog!
Speed of lightning! Roar of Thunder!
Fighting all who rob and plunder!
Underdog! Underdog! Underdog! "
Don't take it too barking seriously. It's meant to be fun -- and your young children will think so too.
Yap. Yap. The Underdog is a movie with a lot of bark, but not a lot of bite. But my snap back to that would be: So, what's so wrong with that?
Rated PG, and hopefully still playing at a theater, somewhere near you.