The '60s saw the arrival of some really great cartoons; colorful stuff that was silly enough for the kiddies yet sly enough for the grown-ups who happened to be in the room. Over the last several years those classic cartoons have been turned into movies like Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle and (the amazingly bad) Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Or if you prefer lame movies from lame cartoons: Josie and the Pussycats is out there, as are both of the brain-softening Scooby-Doo movies.) Each of these remakes tried to capitalize on the nostalgia value of the brand name while also aiming directly for the new batch of young moviegoers who know nothing of these characters. Each of these movies failed in many regards -- although none of 'em are as obnoxious as that Bullwinkle travesty.

Based on the well-remembered animated series that ran from 1964 to 1973, the new-fangled version of Underdog bares little to no resemblance to its predecessor. Aside from a few proper nouns and some throwaway gags (and the overplayed theme song), this is more of a low-rent mixture of Babe and Superman ... although not nearly as well-produced as those flicks. Director Frederik Du Chau (who, after the execrable Racing Stripes, looks to be Hollywood's go-to guy for low-end talking animal movies) focuses all his energies on the digital lips of his canine co-stars, neglecting to notice that his movie has a boring story, dreary characters and (even at 80-some minutes) next to nothing in the area of forward momentum.
categories Reviews, Cinematical