Underdog is a treat for the young and the old. As long as you don’t care how many times it’s been told. It’s yet another failed attempt by Disney to adapt an old Saturday-morning cartoon. Underdog is the only animated animal superhero lucky enough to get his own movie. I guess we’ll have to wait for the Mighty Mouse, Atom Ant, or Super Chicken movie. Since my mom enjoyed the 60’s series growing up, my brother and I decided to see the movie with her. Even though Underdog is basically Superman with a dog (Krypto?), we did enjoy it when it first came out. Despite all the changes and Disneyfication of the simple superhero story.
Underdog is a little more concerned with a “boy and his dog” story. Shoeshine is just a regular Beagle given that name after licking a shoe. When he gains superpowers, Shoeshine adopts the name Underdog, learns to rhyme, and fights some crime. Since he isn’t anthropomorphic, Underdog has a whiny teenager by his side named Jack. He has a standard deceased mom and a distant dad who used to be a cop played by Jim Belushi. The same year he did Alvin and the Chipmunks, Jason Lee voiced Underdog. He feels just as miscast here as he was there. The high pitched Underdog doesn’t exactly sound right with his My Name is Earl voice.
His reporter love interest Polly Purebred is also a regular Cavalier King Charles Spaniel now belonging to a high school reporter named Molly played by Taylor Momsen. Amy Adams ironically voices Polly several years before she played Lois Lane. Wolf gangster Riff Raff is also changed to a bully Rottweiler voiced by Brad Garrett. Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton are really trying their hardest as the wicked scientist Dr. Simon Barsinister and his dimwitted lackey Cad respectively. Just like Superman, Underdog stops petty crime, flies with Polly, loses his powers, and saves his city from destruction. It’s derivative, but at least his theme song is still catchy. There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!