David Soren’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” is an animated tale full of potty jokes and fart humor, as well as vibrant and fantastic animation that honors the source material. With a flair for the childish that will delight any fans of the books, the movie dives headfirst into immaturity with relish.
The “Captain Underpants” books have never been the classiest pieces of fiction. With a sense of humor that never rises above one or two intellectual jokes per 20 toilet cracks, Dav Pilkey somehow catapulted the “Captain Underpants” series into every elementary school classroom. This brand of humor has now appeared on the big screen, animated by Dreamworks to mimic Pilkey’s illustrations.
Now, it’s worth noting that this reviewer read nearly all of the “Captain Underpants” books. Please take this into account, as the reader will likely enjoy the movie more if they too are familiar with its source material.
Ed Helms plays Principal Krupp, an elementary school teacher who has a distaste for anything joyful. Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch voice George and Harold, a pair of young boys who delight in pranking their classmates and teachers, laughing at potty humor and creating comic books. When Mr. Krupp finds out about the boys’ attempts to sabotage a science fair, he puts them in separate classes. This brings the boys to hypnotize him into becoming the titular superhero.
Nick Kroll lends his talents to the role of Professor Poopypants (yes, really), comes to the school as a new science teacher. The central conflict of the film revolves around the professor, and his hatred of anyone who laughs at his name, which becomes a problem after the boys write a comic with him as a punch line. He constantly condemns the sounds of children’s laughter, and hates any humor he comes across. He is, in essence, a symbol of those who see the name “Captain Underpants” and rolls their eyes.
The voice talent is fresh and exciting. Ed Helms puts his heart and soul into the role. The characters are driven by humor, but the two protagonists are endearing as they drive the film forward.
The greatest accomplishment of this film is its animation. Vibrant, bright and beautiful, the colorful world of the film is a feast for the eyes. “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” makes sure to bring as much life and energy to its setting and art style as it does to its characters.
Should the reader see this movie? This reviewer had nothing but a smile on his face in the theater. The film elicited memories of childhood, innocent fart jokes and laughter in his mind. It treated its source material with respect and admiration, while still remaining aware of its debase nature at heart.
“Captain Underpants” is a narrative meant to do nothing more than encourage the audience members to laugh. Anybody looking for a relaxing movie that seeks to celebrate the majesty of being a child, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” has it. Anyone who cannot stand the idea of a grown man in underpants thinking he is a superhero, maybe watch “Schindler’s List” or something more grown-up. “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” can be found on Netflix.