With Christmas almost upon us, you may have already finished your holiday shopping, but for those of you who wait until the last minute - like me - the studios are still releasing DVDs, including Underdog - which hits stores today, Sunday, December 23rd.
Underdog, a live-action adaptation of the popular cartoon from a decade long before I was born, stars Jason Lee as the voice of the bloodhound hero, who, after being fired from his bomb sniffing job due to his lack of smell, gets captured by an evil scientist and turned into an English-speaking, car-lifting, gravity-defying hero. Nevermind the fact that Lee's narration sounds an awful lot like something out of "My Name is Earl", or that the special effects aren't nearly as good as what Babe succeeded in doing 12 years ago, or that the movie is, after all, something that should have probably been left as a cartoon... For what it's worth, Underdog is pretty harmless entertainment that should appeal to young boys, and could serve as a proper stocking stuffer as a result.
Underdog isn't particularly funny, and it is frustrating to see Lee - an actor so many people like for his utter sarcasm and distinct voice - once again muting himself in a kid's movie (don't forget he also stars in Alvin and the Chipmunks, which is in theaters now). There's nothing particularly amazing about the movie, though, considering the movie is about a flying dog, the action scenes are decent, I guess. Still, it's hard not to look at this movie from an adult's perspective, and I've heard several older people complaining about how the movie destroyed their childhood show. But, there's nothing here to tell me that little kids - especially boys - will not at least get a gentle kick out of this fun, harmless movie. And as kids' movies go, parents have had to sit through much, much worse.
Underdog isn't the type of movie that fans of the TV show should rush out to buy - or even watch - but for the newest, youngest generation, there's enough here to make Underdog an adequate rental.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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