Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is directed by David Soren, and is the first big screen adaptation of the extraordinarily silly - tight undie wearing - superhero captain underpants - previously told through comic form. Kevin Hart stars along side Thomas Middleditch as two best friends Harold and George who after hypnotising their dreadful Principal Krupp - convincing him he is their imagined superhero Captain Underpants. Must help him to defeat the new rein of Professor Poopypants.
Bearing in mind the target audience is around the six to eight year old mark, there's plenty of fun to be had with this ridiculous, none the less enjoyable caper. It's a nice reminder that Dream Works still maintain the ability to create a decent kids film, even though the studio may not be as active as it was in the Shrek, Madagascar days.
It finds some humour other than infamous toilet jokes that reoccur throughout the books - and when the genuine jokes crack Captain Underpants provides some fine laughter. This is largely helped by Helms sprite performance as the whitey tight hero who manages to create a convincing super from the otherwise ridiculous, spoofed character.
Perhaps most entertaining of all is the film's alternative spin on the clichéd alter ego story line. Certainly no Clark Kent - Captain Underpants (CU) finds himself changing back into the vicious Principal Krupp, whose sanity is polar opposite to that of his alter ego. The shift between the two makes for the most amusing moments of the film - all polished of with the neat idea of a click of the finger changing him to CU and water converting him back the dreaded Krupp.
What is most unique about Captain Underpants is how animator Ashley-Martin Dunn mixes almost Charlie Brown kind animation with crisp, next gen graphics. Consistently beautiful whilst capturing the perkiness of the books - time is taken to express an emotion with a visual tear drop or illustrating noise through quirky animation. Its emphasises on the school system makes CU as ridiculous as it is relatable.
The problem most dominantly lies with style over substance. Precisely where Guardians Vol 2 fell short, Captain Underpants chooses a semi basic plot, with a constant hit of jokes rather than a layered story. There is some leeway here - as granted, it's a 'kids film' - however CU makes an attempt to explore its story in different dimensions but never follows up and ultimately becomes caught in the middle.
Captain Underpants is a great time for the kids but not a universal family film. It may use toilet humour as its main source of laughter but in the end it's fairly well written. With an orderly plot, quirky animation- Captain Underpants challenges us to explore our childish side with this heroically silly, crayon adventure.
I am going to give Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie.
Pinch of info
Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.