Underdog (2007)

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Released 19-Feb-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Featurette
Music Video
Bonus Episode-Original TV series
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 78:3
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:33) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Frederik Du Chau
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Jason Lee
Peter Dinklage
James Belushi
Patrick Warburton
Alex Neuberger
Taylor Momsen
Case ?
RPI ? Music Randy Edelman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Polish
Czech
Hungarian
Hebrew
Slovak
Russian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Estonian
Ukranian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

"There's no need to fear, Underdog is here"

    Some time ago I reviewed a DVD set of an old cartoon series, Underdog, so I was pleased to see a big screen version being released last year. Now that film has come to DVD here in Region 4 I was keen to review it and I am not disappointed. This was one of the first films that I took my two young boys to at the cinema and they both had a ball. In some ways this is an 'old fashioned' kids movie, one that does not rely upon pratfalls or adult-oriented jokes and is not completely animated (although obviously the flying dog does involve CGI to some extent). It reminds me of the classic Disney kids films of my childhood. It may not please older fans of the original series although I think it makes for a fine children's film.

    The film follows the story of how a humble police sniffer dog becomes a canine superhero. Shoeshine/Underdog (voiced by Jason Lee) starts the movie as a remarkably unsuccessful police dog who makes an embarrassing blunder and ends up running away. He is picked up on the street by Cad (Patrick Warburton), the less than brainy henchman of evil genius Simon Barsinister (Peter Dinklage). Barsinister is conducting experiments on runaway dogs to try and combine human and canine DNA. When they try to use Shoeshine/Underdog for an experiment an accident occurs which results in the dog being impregnated with a mixture of drugs and Barsinister being severely disfigured during the resultant fire. He swears revenge on the dog and the city. Meanwhile, the dog escapes and is taken in by ex-policeman, Dan Unger (James Belushi) and his teenage son, Jack (Alex Neuberger). They decide to call him Shoeshine due to his habit of licking shoes. It quickly becomes obvious to Jack that Shoeshine has super-powers such as the ability to talk and fly. He convinces Shoeshine to use his powers to help people by becoming Underdog!

    This is an fun, exciting adventure suitable for young kids which is not an easy thing to find in live-action movies these days. The acting is nothing to write home about but the CGI work on the dog is well combined with live dog footage and there is lots of humour and some excellent action sequences. The movie starts a little slowly for the youngest children, however the dog action soon speeds things up as the movie continues. It is no Citizen Kane from a movie-making perspective but is an enjoyable kids movie.

    Recommended for the kids.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise or grain of any description. The shadow detail was excellent.

    The colour was fantastic with incredible richness and depth of colour. There were no colour blemishes of any kind.

    I did not notice any artefacts.

    There are 12 sets of subtitles on this disc. They are English, English for the Hearing Impaired and ten other languages.

    The layer change occurs at 47:33 and is not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains four audio options; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s, a Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s, a Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and a Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Randy Edelman does the job without being overly impressive or annoying.

    The surround speakers were quite well used during action sequences and for directional voices and traffic sounds.

    The subwoofer was also quite well used for explosions and various thuds and thumps.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu design is well done, utilising a paw print motif for the cursor and including amusing animation and dialogue.

Deleted Scenes (8:07)

    16x9 enhanced. This includes 6 scenes, none of which are overly exciting, along with an optional directors introduction for each scene.

Bloopers (1:37)

    Yawn...

Sit.Stay.Act. Diary of a Dog Actor (5:47)

    Overly complicated in terms of DVD mastering, this short featurette includes a branching facility which allows you to jump out of this featurette to five other shorter ones using your remote. This main featurette includes a voiceover by Jason Lee as Underdog talking about the film. As it plays a dog icon appears which leads to the other featurettes. This featurette discusses the old TV show, animal training and stunts. The others are:

  1. (1:06) - Cast & crew talking about the old cartoon
  2. (1:30) - Making of dog scene
  3. (1:49) - Working with dogs
  4. (3:03) - CGI & voice work for the dogs
  5. (1:38) - Working with a real dog on a flying rig

Music Video - Kyle Massey 'Underdog Raps' (2:40)

    Non-16x9 enhanced, with 5.1 sound.

Safe Waif (4:40)

    A great extra, this is the original Underdog cartoon from the 1960's, restored and looking very good. It is 16x9 enhanced with black bars at the sides.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis Region 4 gets the nod for including English subtitles.

Summary

    A fun, old-fashioned kids movie.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    An average set of extras, highlighted by an episode of the original animated series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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