“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” stars Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Jordan Peele, and Kristen Schaal. Released on June 2, 2017, the film is about two imaginative students who transform their mean-spirited principal into a comic book superhero that they created.
The film is directed by David Soren, who also directed Turbo, and it is based on the children’s novel of the same name by Dav Pilkey. Oh my gosh, where do I begin with this? Back in my elementary school days, I usually read a couple of books during my spare time, and one of them is none other than Captain Underpants. Now I know what you’re thinking…”What kind of a superhero is that?” Well, he’s a superhero…who saves people…while wearing nothing but a red cape and a pair of underwear. Oh, and he doesn’t have any superpowers. When I found out that DreamWorks Animation is making a theatrical version of Captain Underpants, I was both excited and curious to see how they’re going to make this work. One of the reasons is that we’ve been getting plenty of superhero films that are from either DC or Marvel, and this one looks like it could stand out above the rest if done correctly. Another reason is how they’re going to translate the source material’s style into film. Now that it’s finally released, it’s time to find out if this naked superhero has what it takes to battle DC’s Amazon princess for box office glory.
Like the film, the book has a pretty simple plot: two elementary school friends make comic books and pull pranks at their school, which angers their principal, Mr. Krupp (voiced by Ed Helms). When Krupp decides to separate the two pals, they come up with a plan to hypnotize him into thinking he’s their superhero creation known as Captain Underpants. If you’re expecting it to be like the other DreamWorks Animation films like Shrek or Kung Fu Panda, let me remind you that this isn’t that type of movie. However, if you enjoy or even love the book series when you’re a kid, I can assure you that it won’t disappoint you. In fact, I really enjoyed the heck out of this film. While the film is called “Captain Underpants”, it actually places its main focus on two best friends, George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch). At first, I was a little concerned by the fact that they have two adult actors voicing the kids, but after seeing the film, I got used to it. In fact, it was quite nice to have Kevin Hart voice a character without using his usual “Kevin Hart” ways. Ed Helms was very convincing as Mr. Krupp, aka Captain Underpants, and Nick Kroll shows off his impressive vocal talents once again as the antagonist, Professor Poopypants (try saying that without laughing your butt off), a mad scientist who wants to literally rid the world of laughter. The animation style is quite different compared to the other DreamWorks Animation films, mostly because it was animated by Mikros Image and it had a much lower budget. Anyway, I thought the animation was top-notch in terms of recreating the source material’s character and background designs, especially the imaginative sequences. It’s also very colorful and a bit cartoony, almost in the same veins as the Looney Tunes or Warner Bros. Animation’s Storks. The film also has its share of potty humor, and let me tell you, there is plenty of them to go around, especially the antagonist’s name, and it was hilarious. However, this type of humor isn’t for everybody, including those who wanted smarter comedies, and it can get a bit tiresome by the third act. There were also times where the film places its main focus on the laughs instead of its clever, yet predictable, storytelling.
Overall, “Captain Underpants” is a respectable and well-animated adaptation of Pilkey’s well-known book series. While the story and the potty humor may become a nuisance to certain moviegoers, it definitely has enough enjoyable moments that will impress a lot of fans of the source material and some newcomers as well. If your kid isn’t old enough to see Wonder Woman on the big screen and they want to see a superhero film, I think this would make a good substitute. To be completely honest with you, guys, I think DreamWorks should make a film franchise out of this instead of The Boss Baby. Just saying…