Underdog is Underwhelming

December 14, 2006

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When a live-action adaptation of the '60s cartoon Underdog was announced, I'd foolishly assumed this would be live-action to the degree that Rocky & Bullwinkle was, with live humans and cartoon animals. It now looks to be (and IMDB confirms) more of an Air Bud, with a standard dog putting on a little outfit and pulling off amazing feats.

What really annoys me about this isn't that it's breaking the sanctity of Underdog canon. It's that I imagine these changes are being made to somehow make it more feasible to the American public. Some studio guys were probably pitched the idea, they talked it over, and came back with a note something like this...

MEMO: Love the idea of remaking something--people love to remember things over having new thoughts--but have some changes. Not sure audiences will buy the concept of an anthropomorphized dog who shines shoes and rhymes. Superman Returns was hot this year, so what if it's just that with a dog? (Is that dog from Frasier available? Seen the show, seems like he may already have superpowers. Look into.) Instead of shining shoes, make dog's name Shoeshine, and the story is of his friendship with a young boy. Idea: could we just buy My Dog Skip and CGI a little costume for the dog, put out a new poster? Please make changes discussed here, making sure it's too dumbed-down for either adult or child to find absolutely anything redeeming in it outside of just seeing what a dog looks like in a costume. Add a baby. Another idea just came to me: he should have a puppy at the end so we can use a new dog for the sequel, in case this one starts making too many demands. Thanks!

Poster under the cut.

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Read More: comic, poster, superman
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