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August 3, 2007 |

By Phillip Stephens | Film | August 3, 2007 |

That blockbusters and mainstream fare suck is one of our motifs here at Pajiba. It’s not a terribly original theoretical foundation and can perhaps give way on more than one occasion to pretension, but by Christ, it’s still true! Our objections to “popular” films aren’t just a way of lording our taste or ideas over everyone else; it’s the mentality behind them we hate — that the movie market can be so mindless and cynical as to shovel shit into the theaters with so little pretext for justifying it; to create pointless entertainment to make money is one thing, to be so pitiably bad at it is quite another …

The latest craze that media hacks of all kinds have grabbed hold of is an intellectual copout of the most convenient kind: the remake, either of films that have received the slightest whiff of cultural attention, be they cult or kitsch, or merely anything that exists in cultural conscience — say, an Atari game or popular cartoon, probably something arbitrary and confounding. Mining the vats of nostalgia to bolster your own unwillingness or inability to create new content — that’s the name of the game these days.

Somewhere at what I guess was the midway point in Underdog, I gave up — hurled my popcorn to the floor and marched from the theater. To this day, it’s the only film I’ve completely given up on. And it’s not that I haven’t seen worse, but really, what was the point? Did I really need to finish the movie? Do I really need to reflect and write a review on it? Do I need to tell anyone that Underdog was very, very bad — a parade of dog puns and CGI so clunky they might as well have just made the damn thing a cartoon and saved us the trouble? Does anyone still care enough about an old show about a talking, bipedal beagle that speaks in rhyming couplets and wears a cape that they think it deserved a modern, live-action retread? Did anyone ever care to begin with? Hello!?

No, I didn’t think so. Underdog doesn’t need a review. Why bother when the film will split from theaters and attention spans as fast as Thunderbirds or Baby Geniuses before it? Talking about a film implies that you give two shits about it or the people who might want to see it; if you haven’t figured out that Underdog is the polar opposite of what Pajiba is about … well, more’s the pity. The shameless remake trend has got to stop, and for me, it stops by refusing to dignify offal like this with critical thinking.

Phillip Stephens is the lead critic for Pajiba. He lives in Fayetteville, AR.

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Underdog / Phillip Stephens

Film | August 3, 2007 |

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