By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Underappreciated in North America but loved elsewhere, Underdogs is a fun computer animated adventure about, what else, the little guy getting the love that he and his friends richly deserves. This tale has a lot of similarity to DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story and if I have to choose which is better, my vote is for the former. In theory, various video releases have been available for a while now, but when looking at release schedules, it’s been pushed back or is not fully out in North America. It’s available through Anchor Bay in the States, and in Canada, according to Tribute.ca, it’s set to hit shelves September 6, 2016 and the long wait is finally over. This movie originally released in 2013 in Argentina. It’s Spanish title is Metegol.
Many releases have come out since then, including a UK one, and to finally get a local release is welcomed. While many a name is changed, no further edits is implied. Amadeo is now Jake, and his love for foozball sets up a bigger game, football (soccer). His rival, Grosso (Ace) returns to their little hometown to take over. When they were kids, these two did not quite see eye-to-eye; one went on to greater things (to become a champion) and the other remained and his life went nowhere (Amadeo). Their dispute happened over a simple game of foosball, and Grosso’s desire for revenge shows how inflated his ego is. Even though he’s loved by the media, there’s a darker desire which shows how ugly he truly is. Some of that still gets conveyed in the translation, but there’s a nuance which always gets lost in the voice direction.
The magic in this film is in how the hardwood players from the table soccer game come alive to help Amadeo. There’s personality in each and every one of these characters. The rivalry between the two sides does not mirror how Amadeo feels towards Grosso. As they both vie for the attention of Laura (Lara), just who gets the girl is too obvious. Although this genre follows a common narrative, the enjoyment factor will vary from product to product and in how well the drama gets developed. With a over-arcing narrative of a man telling his child a fairy tale, the feel good moments is what really defines this film.
I will certainly buy the Blu-ray edition since CGI always looks better in high-definition. I have seen the other presentations on VOD. I suspect this release is the same as Anchor Bay’s. Entertainment One is handling the distribution in Canada. At least this means this product can be found in many a mass merchandising store, but not every company will stock the type of video release I want. Yes, I’m eyeing Walmart. This company is very disappointing in which Blu-ray animated products to carry which I really want to own, so I may have to special order through HMV if they do not have it in stock when Tuesday arrives.