Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie 2017
This was a movie that I never planned on watching in theaters and somehow kept forgetting to add to my big list of superhero movies. But I never forgot about it and had actually heard quite good things about it, at least in the very general sense without revealing anything of the plot. When I finally watched it, I was quite surprised at the direction this movie went as it was equal parts Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, Deadpool, all mixed with a kid’s imagination on a PG level. It was fun, it was silly, it was absurd, it made me laugh quite a bit and was really a joy to behold despite not really having any deep down morale or message.
The two main characters are George and Harold and are a couple of perpetual pranksters. They even have their own nameplates engraved on the two seats in front of the principal’s office. They also happen to be best friends and Harold is an artist and George is a writer. They write comic books about Captain Underpants and end up hypnotizing the mean principal into thinking that he’s the titular superhero using a cereal box hypno ring mainly in order to get out of trouble and not be separated into different classrooms.
What works best about this film is the imaginative and random humor. It’s similar to Family Guy or Deadpool with a lot of fourth wall breaking, freeze moments, and treks into different styles of animation like sock puppet theater and a flip book. George also likes to throw in random dolphins into their drawn stories and it honestly seems like it’s their imagination that works its way into the movie itself as fantastical things start happening in the movie but the movie treats them as if they are real. From the initial moment where the cereal box hypno ring actually works on the principal to the introduction of an evil scientist who poses as a science teacher. It even expands to an actual fight between a giant toilet robot and the hypnotized Captain Underpants who gains actual super powers.
One of the more interesting things about this movie is that there is often an underlying moral or lesson to the story of a kid’s movie. But here, there’s not really any big lesson to learn. The two heroes of the story George and Harold have the typical viewpoint that school is boring and lifeless and their pranks liven it up with practically no consequences outside of the anger of the Principal Krupp. But once they hypnotize Krupp into becoming Captain Underpants pretending to be Krupp, they essentially face zero consequences as he turns the school grounds into a carnival, or when Krupp first becomes the Captain and jumps from roof to roof to fight a giant, inflatable gorilla while the kids chase him with a construction crane. There are no injuries, even though multiple characters get hit by a car for comedic effect. Ultimately, the only real lesson that the two characters learn is that Krupp is more or less a real person with real feelings which they do one nice thing by setting him up with the lunch lady who has a crush on him.
The comedy overall works quite well despite, or even possibly because of the childlike potty humor. The main villain of the movie is a villain because of the laughter inspired by his name Professor Peepee Diarrheastein Poopypants Esquire. The principal has an obvious toupee, there’s a robotic toilet that eventually grows to gigantic proportions as the Professor tries to remove the humor out of everyone’s brains. One of the pranks involves getting the school band to do an entire rendition of the 1812 Overture completely in farts. It’s childish, it’s juvenile, but within the context of the movie, it absolutely fits.
There’s also a superhero element to the movie, but for the most part, it’s just the imagined superhero. While Krupp is hypnotized into thinking he’s Captain Underpants, he engages in plenty of dangerous behaviors and even inadvertently stops a couple bank robbers wearing the obvious striped shirts and robber masks. During the first encounter with the giant toilet robot, the action scene was turned into a joke with a flip-book style animation drawn by the two kids. Once Captain Underpants gains actual super powers, there is a single action scene that is quite fun and entertaining with a shrinking/enlarging ray gun. All in all, it was a very fun movie that made me laugh plenty of times over the course of the movie. It’s nothing too deep, but it’s not really meant to be. I’m not sure if this would work as well in a sequel, but the origin was plenty of fun. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.