Chris’ Movie Review
CaptainUnderpants: The First Movie
Rating: 7/10 (Satisfying)
Recommendation: Pay The 8
I used to read the Captain Underpants books growing and they were fun. They weren’t the greatest but there was creativity and sense of child life fun, but they are also very short.
So the question becomes, how do you make a movie out of such little material? And, most of all, how do you make it good?
Captain Underpants: The First Movie stars Kevin Hart (George), Thomas Middleditch (Harold), Ed Helms (Mr. Krupp/Captain Underpants), and Nick Kroll (Professor Poopypants).
George and Harold are 4th graders (I think, I kind of forgot) that have been friends since kindergarten. They love to hang out, write comics, and, most of all, laugh. But the school they attend is full of dullness and no fun.
Mr. Krupp is the principal of this school and he doesn’t like children having fun or creativity. One day, George and Harold pull the ultimate prank but they caught in the process. Mr. Krupp is about to assign the two to different classes but George hypnotizes the principal and they make him become Captain Underpants.
Now the kids must keep Captain Underpants under control and also defeat a future foe who is out to kill laughter once and for all.
Captain Underpants is one of those movies that, once you see the trailer, you know who the target audience is. It’s not too say adults can’t enjoy kid’s films, I like a lot of them, but this one seemed to be on the more low brow side than usual…. But that’s the point. It’s a Captain Underpants film.
For starters, the voice acting in this movie is really solid. Ed and Nick have a great presence and they act they part so seeminglessly, that you get sucked into the character and not the person behind the mic. But I know what you’re thinking. How does Kevin and Thomas pull off kids’ voices? Well, I’m not sure, but I have a guess.
Kevin and Thomas don’t try to pull off high pitched vocals. They, more or less, just use their normal everyday voices and it’s not distracting. Now what it sounds like, unless it was the theater, is they mixed the sound too cutback on the volume of the main leads. Kevin doesn’t come across as harsh as he usually does and Thomas isn’t as forceful as you’d think he would be. These two voice actors really fit their character type and, to be honest, you won’t even notice that they’re grown adults most of the time because of how well they voice their parts.
Now, one of the more surprising aspects, is the story telling. The runtime of this film is short. It goes for about 80 minutes and that’s it. You’re in and you’re out. And with the comic book being so short itself, this really benefits the film as a whole.
The plot may whiz by but it tells the origin of Captain Underpants, shows a villain’s back story, gives a look into Mr. Krupp’s personal life, and gives you a peak into George and Harold’s humble beginnings.
The film is able to cover all of these elements and it spaces them out properly, giving each section enough time to process through your mind. It’s really quite brilliant, especially when some movies can’t handle a basic character set up. (Cough Life [Earlier this year] Cough). But this movie doesn’t come without it’s flaws.
One of the negatives is the animation. It’s not that great. Maybe it was the texture or designs but the animation isn’t the greatest to look at…but it’s not the worst either. It’s colorful and fast moving but it just doesn’t feel as sharp as it could be. Granted, this movie might have been on the lower side of the budget, there’s even a joke thrown in the middle about it, but this is a DreamWorks film. You’d expect just a little bit better.
The next issue is the comedy. Obviously this is for kids. There is some adult comedy thrown in and you should get some laughs but, at a certain point, the potty jokes get little old. I know, it’s Captain Underpants but they over use the toilet humor just a tad too much. If they cut back on it some, it would’ve been fine. And, yes, I know comedy is subjective. So this may not be an problem with you, which is completely fine as well. It just needs to be pointed out.
Captain Underpants is a movie that’s not that long and, in return, it gets a short review. The film isn’t going to be mind blowing, like most Pixar movies, but nothing about the film is horrible. It gets you in and gets you out. What else could you want as a parent?
The animation isn’t on par as other DreamWorks films, the humor can be a tad annoying, and there are one or two slow scenes. But the voice acting is really good. The story telling is thorough, even with it’s short run time, and this movie feels like a faithful adaptation to the source material. Something not all films get these days.
At the end of the day, as mentioned many times, it’s a Captain Underpants movie. You shouldn’t expect much but the people behind scenes really put some time and effort into this film. And, if you grew up reading the comics or you’re just going because of your kids, you might find yourself enjoying this movie by the very end too.
As usual, thanks for reading!