Underdog - Theater
AndyO review: * 1/2
Metacritic score: 37 (out of 100)
The reason this movie gets one-and-a-half stars instead of one is that my son loved it. So his opinion, you could say, influenced the addition of one-half star.
I love kids' movies. I think the Pixar films are some of the best movies ever. The Shrek films are also very good. But if the writers get lazy, then they're going to lose points. There's a fine line between homage and stealing, and this movie blatantly steals. It's almost as if the filmmakers thought "Hey, a bunch of little kids are seeing this movie -- they won't know." Here are some scenes that they stole and perhaps what the filmmakers were thinking:
Lady and the Tramp:
- The famous eating scene with the spaghetti and meatballs ("Oh, Disney is distributing this movie, we can steal from all those films!")
Superman in general:
- Flying man, flying dog. ("Who will guess where we got this one!?")
- A superhero outfit complete with cape and "U" instead of an "S." ("It's a totally different letter!")
- A way of taking away the dog's power -- like Kryptonite ("It's a pill, not an element. That's not the same at all!")
- The dog has a secret identity ("It's not like we named him Clark Dog... his name's Shoeshine!).
- The dog's love interest is in love with his superhero alter-ego. ("It's not like we named her Lois Dog.)
Superman: The Movie
- When Superman takes Lois flying over Metropolis: "Can you read my mind?" ("Hey, we didn't use the song--and we didn't have the dog start singing those words... there's no similarity here!")
- When Superman goes underground to repair the San Andreas Fault. ("No, our dog takes a stick of high explosives deep into the earth... he's not trying to repair anything!")
- When Superman stops the cat burglar. ("Oh, this will be even better because a dog is saying it!")
- When Superman rescues a cat. ("Can you imagine the laughs? A dog rescuing a cat!")
- The scene where Superman flies into space and then enters the earth's atmosphere. ("Hey, this is a pretty new reference. Plus, this happened in 'Apollo 13.' Plus it's pretty cool watching the dog burning through the atmosphere. Get it! He's a Hot Dog!")
OK, so I think you see what I'm talking about. If there's anything I dislike more in a movie, it's lazy screenwriting. I don't care if it's for a kids' movie or not. It's as if the screenwriters had a bunch of 3x5 cards with all the Superman references, and they pulled out what they wanted.
Of course, the screenwriters might have had a really great script that the director ruined with all these cliches; but we'll never know.
So, what did I like about the film? Jim Belushi and the dog talking effects.