Release Date: August 3, 2007

Movie of the Day for Tuesday, July 17, 2007
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The puppy fits right in.

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As a child growing up in the 1970s, I watched *a lot* of cartoons. Sure, other kids might have found The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family and other live-action programs to be a lot of fun, but I was always happy when I was watching either Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry or Underdog. In fact, when I consider the many, many animated series I have watched through the years, Underdog ranks as one of my three favorites. What could make for better television than a superhero dog? For my money, nothing. And I've always felt a bit sorry for those who missed the show in its heyday, because its format was frenetic and the stories were clever.

The central character in Underdog was one Shoeshine Boy, a humble but lovable young beagle whose alter ego was the magnificent underdog. He faced such villains as Simon Barsinister, Riff Raff and Overcat as they put the TV reporter Sweet Polly Purebred in peril. Usually, Underdog caused a fair amount of collateral damage, but he got the job done.

For the movie adaptation of the character, things will change a bit. Rather than appearing as a cartoon character, Underdog will be a live action, real-life dog. And where cartoon Underdog received his powers from a pill that he kept in a ring, the movie Underdog will be transformed in an accident that occurs in the lab of the aforementioned villain Barsinister. This ordinary beagle, who was a boy's pet, now has amazing powers and the ability to speak. He vows that he will protect the citizens of Capitol City, and must put his powers in action when Barsinister and his henchman Cad threaten to destroy the town.

Although there is almost no chance that the film could possibly live up to the glory of the cartoon, the trailers so far have taken precisely the right tone. The movie has an excellent cast, including the great Jason Lee as Underdog. While we've been on the Lee bandwagon since he started working with Kevin Smith, we've appreciated him over the years in other projects such as Almost Famous, My Name Is Earl and as the villain Syndrome in Pixar's The Incredibles. He'll be nearly ideal for the joyous, upbeat voice of Underdog. Polly Purebred, who is a cocker spaniel in the film, will be voiced by Amy Adams, who we loved in Junebug. And adding great comedy value are Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton, who portray Simon Barsinister and Cad, respectively. The movie's creators have obviously put a lot of thought and care into achieving just the right mood and sense of whimsy with the project, so we're cautiously optimistic. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Underdog
Main Cast Jason Lee, Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage
Supporting Cast John Slattery, Patrick Warburton, Brad Garrett, Amy Adams
Director Frederik Du Chau
Screenwriter Adam Rifkin, Joe Piscatella, Craig A. Williams
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site http://www.disney.com/underdog
Rating PG
Screen Count 3,013
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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