Guest Posts

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – A Faithful, Fun Adaptation of The Popular Book Series (Guest Review)

Hi guys, it’s MovieManDan here again. Well, it’s arrived, and while it’s here a few years later than anyone expected it to be, it’s here nonetheless. We finally have a “Captain Underpants” movie in theatres and much to my surprise, it’s not half bad either.

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Plot: George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch) are best friends who spend their days creating comic books and dreaming up pranks. One day they accidentally hypnotize their school principal into believing that he is Captain Underpants, a dimwitted superhero whose costume consists of underwear and a cape. As if this isn’t bad enough, their newest teacher is a disgraced evil scientist bent on exacting his revenge at their school. George, Harold and Captain Underpants must band together to thwart his evil agenda. (Dreamworks)

Review: Thankfully, as mentioned, this movie actually isn’t half bad. It’s a faithful and fun adaptation of the source material – offering just about everything you would get from reading one of these books as a kid.  There’s the fun toilet humor, same lovable characters and a lot of fun to be had.  The animation is great here – nailing the fun look and the feel and different styles from the books and the voice acting is spot on here as well. Kevin Hart, Ed Helms (Captain Underpants), Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll (Professor PoopyPants), Jordan Peele (Melvin) and Kristen Schaal (Edith – the Lunch Lady) make up the cast and they all voiced their characters to perfection.  As someone who read the books as a child, it really feels as though they got the casting and animation style right here as well as the fun tone. It certainly created a nostalgic feeling from beginning to end if nothing else.

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Moving on, the film is short and sweet, running at 89 minutes and never drags as a result. It’s the perfect run-time for a kids movie and it’s more than serviceable as such.  Parents who get dragged along to a screening should easily find enough entertainment whereas they won’t be bored throughout.  Sure, it’s humor (like that of the source material) is aimed strictly at it’s target demographic therefore anyone over the age of 10 may not get as many laughs but that’s okay as the fun and charm of the film should win most over anyway.  Likewise, there are some important messages delivered here as well such as the importance of arts and creativity in the school system and how kids should have a right to use their imaginations in the classroom.

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In terms of actual flaws, there are few.  The film isn’t great by any means and certainly doesn’t stand out as one of the best animated films of the decade but for what it is, it’s more than serviceable. Being out of the target demographic, some of the film’s toilet humor may not have had the same effect but there should still be plenty of fun to be had here. Is it worth watching again? Probably not anytime soon but again, younger audiences may feel differently. With that said, if a decision is made to turn this into a franchise at some point, it may very well succeed as long as the same care and craft is put into it.

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My Verdict: (a light) 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars – “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” is an unexpected breath of fresh air. The trailers were not overly impressive so expectations were low but in reality, it is a surprisingly faithful and fun adaptation of the source material at hand.  They nailed the voice casting here and the animation style is actually faithful to that of the graphic novels for which it is based. Likewise, with a mere 89-minute run-time, the film never drags or overstays it’s welcome. It’s short and sweet but that’s perfectly fine as it’s fitting for the material.  The movie provides a solid dose of entertainment and most kids who see it will have a great time. Being out of the demographic for this one, there is still plenty of fun to be had for others thanks to its general goofiness. If you have kids who are interested in checking this one out – go ahead.

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