Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their archnemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home to win the love of his life.
Hadley Belle Miller
George and Harold are two imaginative pranksters who make the depressing Jerome Horwitz School a better place. They hypnotize their nemesis, the mean-spirited principal Mr. Krupp. He transforms into the incredibly clueless yet kind-hearted and enthusiastic superhero named Captain Underpants. Even without the mean principal, they discover that having Captain Underpants comes at a steep price. Meanwhile, Professor Poopypants tries to eliminate laughter with the school snitch Melvin, and George and Harold discover that there may be more to Mr. Krupp than they had originally thought.Written by
The First Big Screen Adventure of Captain Underpants is Beautiful, Funny and Pretty Weird
*Minor Spoilers Ahead* George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) are two elementary school kids that write and animate comic books in their tree house. Their favourite character is Captain Underpants and we get an introduction to his comic origin in the beginning. Moving back to George and Harold, their friendship is as close as it gets and they spend their days making these comics and pulling pranks on the faculty. To any adult looking in, they're a pain to deal with but they bring life to their dull and dreary environment. Principal Krupp (Ed Helms) definitely is in the camp that believes that these two are a menace and he makes it his goal to put an end to their shenanigans. He's unable to catch them in the act so he has to endure their constant misadventures until the school tattletale Milton (Jordan Peele) records them messing with his project for the science fair. Krupp sees this as the opportunity to move them into separate classes, effectively destroying their friendship. There's little hope but in an act of desperation, George tries to hypnotize Krupp using a Hypno-Ring that he found in his cereal. Against all the odds, it actually works and he falls under their command. They come up with the idea to turn him into Captain Underpants. It works but Krupp gallops out of the office to fight evil with George and Harold running behind him trying to get a handle on the situation.
I got a chance to read a few of the books when I was younger and while they're very much geared towards kids, the books were pretty funny and surprisingly creative. To my surprise, they change the story around a little but Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is very faithful to Dave Pilkey's work. The characters all have the same spirit, the message of the books carry over and perhaps most importantly, the movie shares the same adventurous sense of humour. I was laughing constantly in this movie despite being an adult and most of the kids in the theatre were laughing along with me. The movie has a very fast pace and the jokes are firing at a mile a minute clip. On the downside though, although I thought this was one of the funniest animated movies I've seen in a while, it is definitely more geared towards kids. There's a lot of potty humour and while they pay respect to the Captain Underpants books by including so much of it, there's only so many times you can laugh at Professor Poopypants as an adult. I was familiar with the material so I knew what to expect but to the uninitiated it might be a tad jarring. Some great kids movies include some jokes to tide the adults over, this movie has some meta humour but there's not as much as I would have liked.
While the plot of the movie is pretty simple and it's carried by the comedy, the animation is awesome. Dreamworks really did a great job of following the art style of the books but presenting a great looking movie. It reminded me a lot of the Peanuts Movie that was put out by Blue Sky Studio in 2015 (I mean that as a big compliment). It's hard to find a balance between calling back to the source yet compete in a crowded big budget animated movie market. Dreamworks normally deliver solid entertainment but I was pretty blown away by what they accomplished with this property.
Looking at the voice acting talent, you've got some big names filling these roles which is typical of Dreamworks. I wasn't sure that Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch would work given that their characters are supposed to be kids. But they were both really good and they both flawlessly delivered the jokes yet brought warmth to their characters. Ed Helms was impressive as Principal Krupp/Captain Underpants. I wouldn't have though he'd be a talented voice actor but he definitely got the job done. Nick Kroll is fresh off Sausage Party and after this I think he's definitely becoming an authority in this area. Jordan Peele and Kristen Schaal round out a solid voice cast and they were good in their supportive roles.
I think my favourite part of this movie was the fact that it wasn't afraid to be really weird. They don't just stick to conventional animation or conventional storytelling. We get portions of the story told through George and Harold's comics, sock puppets and regular puppets. They have different animation asides and they even incorporate one of my favourite parts of the books in something that was completely unexpected (I can't spoil what). They also have parts where they break 4th wall and explain things to the audience directly. I loved those aspects of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie and it helped make things different and memorable.
This movie won't be everyone's favourite movie and I can completely understand that. This is going to work for kids and adults who remember these books but this movie also puts in way more effort than it had to. The movie even has a decent message of friendship and trying to look at issues from different sides. This isn't Dreamworks best movie (I would still give that to the original How to Train Your Dragon) but I would put among their best movies ever. If you're a fan of Captain Underpants you're going to love this and I think you'll get enough out of this that it won't be a pain to see this with the kids.
44 of 73 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this