Tra La Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! From 12 award-winning books written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, translated into 20 languages with over 70 million sales worldwide comes Captain Underpants’ first outing onto the big screen, but does it live up to the popularity of the novels?
When I was a kid I dreamt of being a super hero, but never did I dream of making my head teacher a superhero! But if I would have, I would have turned them into Captain Underpants, an incredibly enthusiastic and incredibly dim witted superhero! Why you may ask? Well, we join George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch), best friends and elementary students that are very creative and imaginative, first meeting each other in kindergarten and realising that they shared the same exact sense of humour. They enjoy creating and illustrating comic books in their tree house and their all-time favourite creation is – you guessed it – “Captain Underpants”, whose origin story is shown to us in the beginning of the movie.
They spend their days creating these comic books with great imagination, acting out scenes they want to include and pulling pranks on the faculty of their school, mainly Principal Krupp (Ed Helms). Krupp believes that these two are a menace and he makes it his goal to put an end to their shenanigans by trying to gain evidence of their pranks and spilt them apart for good. He is unable to catch them in the act, enduring their misadventures until the school tell-tale Milton (Jordan Peele) records them messing with his project for the science fair. Krupp sees this as the opportunity to move them into separate classes and spilt them up forever, effectively destroying their friendship. There’s little hope, but in an act of desperation, George tries to hypnotise Krupp using a Hypnotic-Ring that he found in his cereal box. Against all the odds, it actually works and they managed to hypnotise him. What begins is slapstick at its best and barrels of laughs when the two pranksters come up with the idea to turn him into Captain Underpants!
Then the zany, manic script transpires, never leaving any holes in the plot or questions that are unanswered, just lots of potty talk. Realising that this is a film and not a book and building on that notion adds to the appeal and its sustainability. The film format can explore so much more story, especially when it comes to Captain Underpants’ well known arch-villain Professor Poopy Pants (voiced by Nick Kroll). Professor Poopy Pants also appears in the book series, but here we see more of a back story and build-up of his character and why he is the main villain, highlighting again why the book-to-film format works well.
I will be honest, I was not entirely looking forward to seeing this film with my family, but the trailer looked very funny (if not a little too childish for myself) and on the upside, the running time was only an hour and half to give some quiet time out in the summer holidays. Well, boy was I wrong! An entertaining, fun and charming movie with laughs galore to be had for adults and children alike. I could not help but enjoy this film immensely, bringing out the inner child in myself. The film is directed by David Soren (Turbo) who gives us an animation with jokes and sight gags that hit the humour levels with genius comedic timing.
The film, scripted by Nicolas Stoller (Storks, Bad Neighbours series) brings us exceptionally all-round lovable characters and stories just like in the books, but exploring the characters more in depth on the big screen. Kids can see George and Harold’s character and mischievousness, but not forgetting their imagination (like their own) of creating their captain underpants comics and the writing and illustration that go into them, which is key for parents to unleash their kid’s imagination and curriculum understanding. Also, the subtle anti-bullying message in the film was good to see with so many kids been bullied in schools today.
Parents will relate to the mischievousness of George and Harold, thinking “Blimey they are a right handful!”, while at the same time cracking a few smiles and laughs remembering the mischief that we got up to when we were kids. What more can I say that it’s a real breath of fresh air, and I hope it lives up to its title, namely that it is the first epic movie! Whether you have never heard of the books or you totally love them , give this animation a try – you will never look at underpants the same ever again!
Author: Paul, York Store