The Unbeatables (Underdogs)

The Unbeatables, aka Underdogs, aka Metegol. You might know this movie by one of its names.

It was of course first called Metegol in Argentina, where the film was made and released back in July of 2013! It had the distinction of being the most expensive Argentinian film ever at $21 million, and most expensive animated film in all of Latin America. Given the American budgets on these things, that is a pretty crazy fact.

Needless to say, it did well enough to release internationally. The Unbeatables came out in the UK in August of 2014, same plot and everything, just nice English voices to make the populace happy.

And that is why I am watching this version of the movie. Despite being available for a long time, it isn’t hitting USA theaters until mid August 2015, a whole year after the British counterpart. It was pushed back several times over a year. Well, screw that. If I can legally watch and buy a movie already out, many months before it comes out here with just more American voices instead of British voices, there is really no reason to wait.

Soccer PLayerrs
No matter the nationality, we can all agree on their fabulous hair.

In a small village in, I dunno, let’s say Mexico, there is a boy who really loves foosball. Young Amadeo (Rupert Grint) works at a small cafe/bar where he cleans and plays foosball all day long. In fact, he got pretty dang good at it. He can score in so many ways, can flip the ball through the air, and you know, other shenanigans. Others do not share his passion, so he gave all of his players a name and personality and often puts them in their own soccer based stories.

Then he met Laura (Eve Posonby), who likes things, and likes foosball, and even maybe likes Amadeo. Then he met Flash (Anthony Head), a pompous boy who never loses and is a soccer star. Well, he sees Laura and also wants to impress her, so he challenges the loser Amadeo. And sure enough, Amadeo wins. This is Flash’s first real loss in anything, so he runs from the town.

Now years later, the town is close to dying, but Amadeo is still there playing foosball and Laura is about to leave. WAIT JUST A SECOND. Flash is back, now a world famous soccer star. The BEST star. Rich beyond imagination. Rich enough to buy his birth town and build the biggest stadium ever there.

Well, the villagers don’t want their town to get demolished. And so eventually Amadeo challenges Flash to a game. If Amadeo wins, he will leave the town forever. Great! Just they aren’t good at real soccer which is what Amadeo has demanded to enact his revenge.

If only…if only there was some nice tear magic out there, that would bring his foosball players back to life, and help him solve his many problems and save the day. If only.

Featuring the voice work of Rob Brydon, Ralf Little, Alistair McGowan, Peter Serafinowicz, and Alex Norton.

Basically, everyone is Pinocchio, but no where close to being real men.

“You can trust me I used to work with FIFA.” That’s an actual quote from this movie and it really made me laugh. I know there has been talk about FIFA being corrupt for years, with the Qatar mess, but it still feels even better to hear that joke after all of the indictments.

The trailers for the US version, Underdogs, are shit. I have seen two of them and they made me immediately hate the film. The animation was odd, the plot was pretty dumb, and, well, yeah. It was very stupid sounding, no way around those words. Surprisingly and thankfully, there was a lot more to the movie than the trailers showcased. That is usually the case, but there are also trailers who show everything and it really felt like one of those moments.

The animation at first bugged me as well, but while watching it, they had clear distinction between the foosball players and people, making them both feel unique in their world. The players had a completely different clunky style that made their existence a bit jarring, but something that made a lot of sense in the film.

Again, a lot more happens in this film than just the “play soccer for the town”, and I am a bit worried some of the other side plots or jokes will get cut from the American version of the story. I might edit this review in the future after watching the new version to see if it deserves the same grade, so as for now, The Unbeatables and not Underdogs is surprisingly worth a watch.

3 out of 4.


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