Hello, Spongey here.
After about exactly month’s worth of waiting, it’s time for general review antics. To make up for list, we’ll be doing TWO this week. Yeah, just like Trolls/Doctor Strange, I decided to see and review both the Dreamworks film and the comic book movie.
Weird how that combo happened again.
And of course, we’ll talk about the most anticipated superhero film of the whole summer…
Oh and I’ll see Wonder Woman next. Yeah, his time we have Dreamworks 2nd outing for the year, coming a bit earlier than usual. Usually they will have a serious film to balance out the silly one but not this time.
Unless this ends up being a tear jerking drama, which is of course very likely.
Dreamworks is in a weird place so I can worry about the future some other time. Before I tell you that story, I have to tell you THIS story.
I was actually excited for this one, even back when it was announced. See, this is of course based on the book series by Dav Pilkey.
I was into it as kid, and haven’t gotten a chance to discuss even though I have wanted to maybe do a thing on it, and now I can do so, sort of. It certainly a children’s book series, with the kind of humor you expect from the title.
However, there is a bit more to it than you may think. It ain’t deep or anything but the thing is the book’s are very self aware. It knows exactly what is is and just has fun with it. There’s context fourth wall jokes and silly humor that doesn’t just rely on gross out.
Really, the only time it got too gross, the narrator was called out for it. Yeah, it’s that kind of series. It knew it was dumb and just rolled with it. But in later books it got oddly story focused, with each book having a cliffhanger and the story getting really weird and convoluted.
But in a fun way. The humor was kept in tact, it just had more going on. I’m a bit less nostalgic about those as I grew up during that 3 year gap between books, then that SIX year gap between the next book.
But I got ahold of them eventually, minus the most recent/last one where we find out Harold is gay.
Yes, that happened. Leave it to Captain Underpants to handle this better than most adult stories.
So yeah, this series is pretty interesting and a hit, so finally we have this animated film version. Our director previously did some shorts, and Turbo. Eh. The writer has stuff like Neighbors, Storks, and both modern Muppets movies.
Okay, now we’re talking. We’ll ignore his credit on Zoolander 2. There’s no way I could be further sold on this movie.
…Weird Al did the theme song? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! …Er, with that said, will this be as fun as the Captain himself, or as pleasant as Mr Krupp? Let’s find out.
(Oh and it currently has an 80 something on RT, but that wasn’t revealed til after I did the intro so yeah)
This, is Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
I have to mention that, as Wikipedia put it, Dreamworks produced this outside of the studio’s pipeline at a significantly lower cost, instead having the animation be done by Mikros Image. As a result, it cost less and has a different style.
Thankfully, this was done simply to use the money in the right areas rather than just be lazily like Illumination often does. The animation here is some of the best cartoon-y CGI I’ve seen in awhile, it looks even better than something like Storks.
It’s kind of like The Peanuts Movie, only with a bigger emphasis on the comedy part of it. It sports a very cartoon-y look with the designs and overall character animation. The characters are thankfully easy to look at the animators really have fun with what they can do.
This especially shows with the Captain himself. He does really exaggerated while he’s Captain Underpants, and for Krupp, they really made him look like he just loves how mean he is. It’s a marvel, really.
The backgrounds are kinda there it’s nice contrast to the everything else, and it knows when to calm down, for the most part. There isn’t a whole lot to say. The animation is really cartoon-y in a good way, and it’s really well and nice liking. That’s all I got there.
Two mischievous friends are being split up by their mean principal so George jokingly tries to hypnotize him with a ring. It actually works and they turn him into a superhero they created: Captain Underpants!
However,n”Captain Underpants’ gets out of control and they must wrangle him. To make matters worse, an evil laughter hating professor enters their school with the intent to rid the world of laughter, so now they all must stop him.
As I said before, the books were very self aware. They knew it was silly so they embrace, always breaking the 4th wall and being as silly as possible. This was it’s appeal, along with other things we’ll get into it.
I was a tad worried the “clever” nature of the books may be lost due to the Hollywood system…but I am glad to say that this did not happen. Everything kids and adults enjoyed about the book series is kept intact here.
Things are added to make it more of a movie but these elements are mixed in well and it never distracts from the silly self aware-ness that the books had. The movie is of course a comedy, and how much you like depends on how funny you find it.
Thankfully, I found it funny. They have a lot of fun with the concepts, especially the personalities of the characters. We’ll discuss that further in that section though. There’s plenty of good gags about how different Captain Underpants and Mr Kruppp are , for example.
The toilet humor is also good because it never gets gross and appeals to that child-ish side of you. I mean, an evil toilet robot? T/hat’s amazing! There’s even a funny Uranus joke that’s a plot point!
The self aware humor is also there, thanks to just flat out having George and Harold talk to the audience. And as I said in animation, they use different styles to create humor. A use of puppets got the biggest laugh out of me and the entire thing.
But don’t worry, there is a story and it’s as silly as it needs be. It is grounded in some areas while keeping the silly-ness, like when they have CU dress as Krupp, as a cover. There are some elements put in or expanded on to create more of a real movie.
Mostly, the themes. The books were pretty Pro Fun and always make cracks at people who try to stifle creativity. Dav had a bone to pick, to put it lightly. It never got preachy about it and mostly just used it for humor.
The movie of course makes it more blatantly but in a way that I liked. They show how fun hating Krupp is and how the school really reflects that, as the kids are always bored and not allowed to have fun.
They do their pranks mostly as a protest, and also for fun. It’s built into the story itself so that these themes aren’t too preachy and are well handled. With Poopypants, they also show that you need to be able to poke fun at yourself.
They wisely put in a detail in his backstory to keep this from causing bad implications or the like. This silly film actually carries a simple but good message: Fun is good. Don’t ruin fun. They put in some cliches elements like the friends being split up or how they actually humanize Krupp a bit.
I was worried about those but the first adds stakes and how a nice conclusion. The 2nd is overblown and Krupp is kept over the top angry and just has these moments that make you feel bad for him. Even the small romance is okay.
Bu7t of course, the writing has problems. For one, Captain Underpants isn’t in costume a lot. He’s in it quite a bit of it but mostly disused as Krupp, he’s only Cu in 3 scenes. Those scenes are good and it’s really satisfying when he dons the un dies but some may wish the title character was in it more.
There’s small structure based things, like how Poopypants could have entered the story earlier, and how the all the stuff going on can make it slightly unfocused and the laughs may be fewer.
It’s not a big deal as the story as solid as it needs to be, plus it’s always at least amusing. They did a better job than they needed to, there’s just small fixes they could have made. And while most of the running gags make I in, a few are missing like the Gym Teacher that gets hurt a lot, or how the two were always introduced as “that kid with the X, remember that now” .
Which is odd as they had them literately introduce themselves!
Speaking of the books, it’s faithful in terms fo story. I said they kept the humor intact and story-wise, they combine the Origin of book one, the external conflict of Poppypants, and small references to the toilet one and the one with the “annoyingly long title”. It’s a nice mix even with the new parts I mentioned.
Overall, the writing is decent. It doesn’t reach for new heights and simply revels in it’s silly-ness. As a result, it’s pretty funny and faithful to it’s source materiel whiel adding in the right elements to make a well rounded well.
It’s not amazingly smart, but the script does everything it needs to.
The characters are simple in terms of who they are but the animators and voice actors worked hard to make most of them pretty enjoyable, even if they are simple.
Starting with George and Harold, voiced by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middlenitch, I was worried due them being voiced by obvious adults but while it is a tad odd, they do really well.,They such good chemistry that makes them fun to watch/listen to.
They have solid comedic timing and they do feel like kids, even if they sound way older. I’d say Thomas is a bit better but both are good. In terms of the characters, they can feel same-y as they work better together. They have some differences like how Harold is the artistic one and George is the writer but maybe they could have shown them a bit better.
In the least, they friendship is strong. And let’s say certain scenes support the whole Harold is Gay thing.
Then we have the real star, Captain Underpants/Krupp, voiced by Ed Helms. Helms is the MPV here, being able to be incredibly goofy as the Captain wile also being deliciously mean as Krupp.
Captain Underpants is a dimwitted hero who always tries to do good In his own way and is a lot of fun, especially when pretending to be Krupp. Krupp is really over the top in how mean he is which makes him a lot of fun too.
And as I said, humanizing him a bit does work in the end. I am interested to see how they handle in a sequel, if they do it. (Please do it). These personalizes in the same body create my favorite character.
There’s also the villain Professes Poopypants, voiced by Nick Kroll. He’s of course an over the top unstable villain to the point where he more or less point blank says he’s evil. Kroll has a lot of fun here making him an enjoyable baddie. He even had a good motivation and helps with the moral aspect.
But in terms of Nick Kroll villains, he’s no Douche.
The rest are just there but can be enjoyable like Melvin, voiced by Jordan Peele, the nerdy kid who has no sense of humor and is George and Harold’s biggest enemy. He’s just there to help Poopypants at one point but he’s still fun with his nature.
The rest are the school faculty, who just get minor gags, although Lunch Lady Edith, voiced by Kristen Schall does become a love interest. Shes fine but doesn’t get to do much, meaning Kristen Schaal was wasted.
Nevermind, 0/10 worst movie ever. It’s odd actually, as there’s another character named Edith here that I got her confused for but I got THAT Edith confused with Tara Ribble who was more important in the books. Yeah.
Overall, a small cast but like the rest of the film, the characters are enjoyable and very likable.
Overall, Captain Underpants (The First Epic Movie) is good fun. It brings the book to life with great cartoon-y animation, fun characters wonderfully brought to life by the actors, and a solid sense of fun that celebrates creativity and fun.
They add to the books to make this more of a movie, in a way that still keeps the fun. The script has it’s issues when it comes to structure, and Captain Underpants doesn’t do as much heroing as you may hope (honestly, most of it was in the music video for the theme song), but that can forgiven.
It’s not masterpiece, but it’s not trying to be. It’s meant to be a good silly fun time, and if you have any sense of humor, you will get a kick out of this silly fun movie and all it has to offer. Fans of the books will mostly be pleased too.
It’s a kids movie that kids will love and adults will hopefully enjoy as a kid at hear. Don’t expect the next Zootopia and just have fun, hopefully you shall too. I certainly did.
Finally, another good funny animated comedy. But our next animated film is supposedly a tad more serious, despite being about talking cars. But our next general review will be the one I promised as we discuss another DCEU film.
Here we go again….