The ‘Captain Underpants’ novels were some of the very few books that I willingly read as a child. The fantastic sense of silliness, the eye catching comic book style and the over the top adventures all appealed to me. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was reading them, and maybe a little late for a film adaptation? However, with some research it’s clear to see that as I stopped reading author Dav Pilkey kept writing. Now with a total of twelve Captain Underpants books written it makes much more sense to see ‘Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie’.
The first thing I have to mention is the animation itself. Resembling the striking style of the novels the film is incredibly visually appealing. It looks like a mix between any of Pixar’s most recent movies with Blue Sky Studio’s ‘The Peanuts Movie’. It suits the tone of the film perfectly and contributed to it’s effortless charm. The performances here only further this charm. Ed Helms plays the titular superhero in a wonderfully whimsical fashion however never steals the show. It was actually the creators of Captain Underpants, George & Harold who impressed me most. Often breaking the fourth wall this pair are voiced by Kevin Hart & Thomas Middleditch. This duo have a great chemistry which results in a really joyous central friendship to anchor the film. In addition to these easily likeable protagonists, Nick Kroll injects a whole load of fun into the proceedings with his villain, Professor Poopypants.
In terms of the narrative it could have been lifted straight off the pages of Pilkey’s novels. It continuously reminded me of fun elements of the books and the way these are brought to life on the big screen is always entertaining. It also contains some refreshing messages that all ages can learn from. These messages aren’t hammered home either, they just weave their way naturally into the story making for a nicely rounded narrative. Don’t worry though this is by no means a fairy tale, unless you know any with quite a much potty humour. Yes of course there is stacks of laughs included too. Much like the content of the story there is comedy for all tastes here. From those who appreciate gags about social commentary, more physical comedy or simply people amused by the humble whoopee cushion you’ll be guaranteed a laugh somewhere along the line.
At a brief ninety minutes ‘Captain Underpants’ never overstays his welcome. Instead he fills his time on screen in the presence of several really watchable characters, a spirited story, and despite Professor Poopypant’s best efforts, a lot of laughter. Nostalgia will come flooding back for those who are familiar with the source material but it’s completely accessible to younger fans who are maybe experiencing this hero for the first time. Frustrated parents getting their knickers in a twist with nothing to occupy the kids with over summer shouldn’t’ worry, Captain Underpants to the rescue.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What’s been your favourite animation of 2017 so far?
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