Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – An Unexpectedly Enjoyable Family Film
By Ranny Levy, Founder/President of KidsFirst!
George Beard and Harold Hutchins are two overly imaginative pranksters who spend hours in a treehouse creating comic books. When their mean principal threatens to separate them into different classes, the mischievous boys accidentally hypnotize him into thinking that he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Benjamin P. comments, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an unexpectedly enjoyable family film filled with inventive animation, hilarious humor and charming characters.” Alejandra G. adds, “I freaked out when I went to see this film because I have been a loyal fan reading all the Captain Underpants stories and books since I was little. I’m so happy that they have brought these books to life and have taken another step to continue the story of the series.” Tristan T. wraps it up with, “What I appreciate about this film is the ongoing theme of friendship and the fun of using your imagination.” See their full reviews below.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is an unexpectedly enjoyable family film filled with inventive animation, hilarious humor and charming characters. An adaptation of the bestselling book series by Dav Pilkey and directed by David Soren, this film chronicles George and Harold, two best friends who love mischief and making comics. Their mean principal Mr. Krupp finally catches them pulling a prank and vows to wipe out their friendship by placing them in separate classes.
George and Harold retaliate by placing Krupp in a trance and they turn him into their signature superhero created for their own comic books, Captain Underpants. George and Harold know how to bring Mr. Krupp back but realize that if they do, he’ll separate them. As Captain Underpants struggles to pretend to be a principal, danger looms over the school in the form of a mysterious new science teacher with an evil hidden agenda.
This film is a pleasant surprise. It dives more into the friendship between George (Kevin Hart) and Harold (Thomas Middleditch) than the books do and sidelines Captain Underpants (Ed Helms) to a smaller role. Readers know and love the character of Captain Underpants and may be angered by this decision. By giving you more exposition about Harold and George, the film makes itself more accessible to those who have not read the books. This film is quite different from the books, but has enough callbacks to its source material to still feel linked to it.
The animation is very colorful, bursting with bright and warm colors that will be very appealing to younger audiences. I appreciate the different animation styles used to showcase George and Harold’s infinite imaginations. It’s very creative and makes it stand out from other animated films.
This film is very funny. It’s surprisingly clever for a movie with “underpants” in the title. It’s a film that will have the whole audience laughing. These laughs are well-earned and come at a good pace.
I give Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie an age rating of 4 to 12 for some crude humor. The lesson is never let anyone change who you are. Our heroes constantly see their ideas and creativity challenged and destroyed by Mr. Krupp. He never lets them be creative and instead resorts to confiscating all their comics because he doesn’t appreciate them. Having an imagination is an important part of growing up and helps George and Harold solve their problems. I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars. It opens in theaters June 2, 2017 so be sure to go check it out.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
By Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
I freaked out when I went to see this film because I have been a loyal fan reading all the Captain Underpants stories and books since I was little. I’m so happy that they have brought these books to life and have taken another step to continue the story of the series. This film is extremely well illustrated. The animations are very well designed and very realistic.
The film is about two overly imaginative children named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s the incredible superhero they created named Captain Underpants. Along with this comes event after event that makes this adventure unforgettable for these children as they accomplish their dreams watching their very own superhero come to life.
My favorite scene is when they first hypnotize the principal and start playing with him. For example, they tell him to turn into a chicken, a dolphin and many more things. While doing this, they have an awesome idea that will change their lives forever. Bring the superhero they made to life and achieve their goal of watching their invention live. So they tell him to turn into Captain Underpants and they freak out and get very excited. I love this scene because it shows the creativity these two kids have and how they think. It also shows how the makers of the film are so creative at developing the storyline. They could have just made the film based on one of the books, but instead, they go out of their way to create a more interesting plot that makes the film truly stand out!
The important message that I gleaned from this film is to never underestimate the power of laughter. We may view a bad situation or a problem with a bad attitude or with sadness. If we deal with the problem with a bad attitude, the result will not be good. But if we look at it from a positive point of view, the result will be better and greater. I believe it’s awesome that they teach little kids this message. It’s something they can learn and grow up with and eventually apply it to their own life! I rate the film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13. You can watch this film in theaters starting June 2 so be sure to check it out!
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
By Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is sure to kick off many kids’ summer breaks with lots of laughs (especially if potty jokes are funny to you). I was never a fan of the Captain Underpants books, so I have to say I am not a big fan of this film. I feel it lacks plot and humor.
What I appreciate about this film is the ongoing theme of friendship and the fun of using your imagination. Best friends, Harold and George grow a strong friendship through making comic books and pulling pranks at their “boring” elementary school. Through some odd force, their comic book hero, Captain Underpants, comes to life. He soon helps the boys rid the school of an even greater threat than their school principal, Professor Poopypants.
This feature animation from DreamWorks has a great voice-over cast. This, by the way, is my favorite part of the film. Kevin Hart plays one of the main characters, George Beard. But, my favorite character is his partner in prank-playing crime, Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch). This character is very relatable, funny and true. And, since I like drawing and illustrating, I found an instant connection with him.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is written by Nicholas Stoller, although it is based on the Epic Novels by Dav Pilkey. You might remember Nicholas Stoller from previous screenplays he has written, including Storks, The Muppets and Gulliver’s Travels – to name a few. The movie is right in line with the books and gives you insight into the concept origin.
My favorite part is Harold and George’s tree-house. This is where the friends spend so much time developing their comic books. It is such a cool tree house with so many moving parts. It made me want to go home and add to my own.
This film is rated PG for mild rude humor. If you are a fan of the Captain Underpants books, you will enjoy this film. I recommend it for ages 4 to 11 and I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. Catch it in theaters everywhere, June 2.