Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
For a film that begins with a baby being propelled to Earth, from a planet whose inhabitants dress solely in underwear, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is as entertaining a superhero-action feature as any. This animated cinematic experience follows two young jokesters, George and Harold, who write comic books and fight for fun and humour at the gloomiest elementary school of all by pranking teachers, especially the horrible, no-fun Principal Krupp. George hypnotises Krupp to convince him against separating the friends into different classes, but eventually turns him into Captain Underpants. Together, Underpants, an incredibly dim-witted superhero, and the boys fight Professor PP Diarrheastein Poopypants Esquire and the class nerd, Melvin, who want to rid the world of laughter. The movie is more than a potty-humour funfest – rather, it displays a broader message of defeating authorities and reinstalling happiness despite the odds.
Under the direction of David Soren, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch voice George Beard and Harold Hutchinson, and though their voices are surely too old for their animated bodies, they do an excellent job of portraying their characters’ agony, glee and terror. Their talent is matched by the impressive cartoon-like animation, which is even punctuated by comics and flip-o-ramas that frequent the book series the movie is based on. Even the plot of this film is wonderfully unpredictable and wildly imaginative, and there are more than just childish jokes and bathroom references to get the audiences laughing; in fact, the adults laugh just as much as the kids during numerous moments of clever, witty humour.
Uncommon but important lessons are subtly woven into the plot. For example, the boys inform the oft-bullied Professor that “the problem isn’t that people laugh at you, it’s that you can’t laugh at yourself”. Captain Underpants reminds children and grown-ups alike not to take themselves too seriously, but to use laughter to promote kindness, friendship and even education. For it is not until Captain Underpants, acting as the principal, does what may be his most heroic act – reinstating the art programme and hosting a carnival at school – that the students’ faces light up, eager to learn about and explore the world.
Perhaps this movie can best be summed up with a quote from the protagonists themselves: “You know, it feels kind of nice to do something nice for Mr Krupp.”
“Promise we’ll never do it again.” Let’s hope they do.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is released nationwide on 24th July 2017.
Watch the trailer for Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie here: