Seen September 10th
Earlier today I saw The Emoji Movie, and that made me sad because I worried that kids were being given sub-par family films that were below the standard that they deserved. Fortunately, Captain Underpants came out and all I can do is yell “TRA LA LAAAAAAAAAAAAA”
Captain Underpants (Based on the hit series of books that I haven’t read because I’m stupid) follows George and Harold, two kids who like laughing, pulling pranks and drawing comic books together. Of course, that’s not something that their principal, Mr. Krupp, is fond of and so he decides to put them in separate classes with the ultimate goal of destroying their friendship forever. Faced with the chance of losing each other, George and Harold come up with a plan to prevent Mr. Krupp’s evil plan… by hypnotizing him and turning him into the amazing Captain Underpants! Unfortunately, Captain Underpants is a bit of a handful so while George and Harold attempt to deal with him, a new teacher named Professor P turns up, determined to take laughter away from all the children in school.
From the start of the movie, this film knows exactly what it is. It’s called Captain Underpants, we’re not here to be incredibly serious. It’s fun from the jump, blasting out jokes at lightning speed with some genuinely great animation that feels reminiscent of The Peanuts Movie and it works so well. Everything is pushed as silly as it can go, the dialogue is hilariously silly but it fit’s this strange world that’s being created. All the characters are unique, even background characters have their own little jokes and plotlines that really are fun touches.
The film also jumps around and plays with style incredibly well. We’ll have a scene told like it’s just the pages of a comic book, then go to the normal 3D stuff. There’s a scene done with actual sock puppets that is hilarious and feels like it fits in. The climax of the film is genuinely funny and well done, one of my favorite breakings of the fourth wall in recent years. There are several moments where the main character will just freeze the film, address the audience, even pluck stuff from the frozen scenery and it all feels natural in this setting.
The voice work is incredible, especially Ed Helms who has the task of jumping between Krupp and Captain Underpants and they sound totally different but he makes them both hilarious. Also kinda impressed by Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch who genuinely sound like kids. I’m not sure if that was done in post or they just wore the super tight underpants those recording days, but it worked well for me.
I think my only problem with the movie is that, weirdly, we didn’t get enough time with Captain Underpants. I found his scenes to be the funniest but so often he was being changed back to Krupp just as things were getting weird. Maybe if they do a sequel it can just have Captain Underpants right from the beginning until the very last minute, as much of that glorious insanity as we can handle would be lovely.
This is easily the kind of movie that a child can enjoy and their parent will be laughing right there with them. There aren’t any incredibly sneaky dirty jokes that kids won’t understand, it’s just a well-written comedy with a great cast and some fun animation. I hope this isn’t the only epic movie by Captain Underpants because the children deserve this kind of movie, this is something that everyone should take their child too… or, go to alone if you’re a strange person like me.