Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Film Review
Vocal Cast: Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Kevin Hart
Director: David Soren
Based on Dave Pilkey's phenomenally successful book series, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie actually proves to be the best offering this school holiday period for those looking for a bit of inconsequential fun.
Director David Soren guides this computer-animated outing from Dreamworks into the same kind of territory as the Peanuts Movie in terms of look and feel, with the rounder animation looking squishy and enticing, and enveloping its whole outlook in a familiar and welcoming vibe.
For those unfamiliar with the Captain Underpants book series, the film centres on the inter-racial friendship of a pair of eternal school pranksters George and Harold (comedian Hart and Silicon Valley star Middleditch) and their eternal fight with their school prinicpal (Ed Helms).
When George hypnotises the principal one day into believing he's their mythical hero Captain Underpants, it all gets out of hand. And things are further complicated when a new science teacher comes in, threatening to rid the world of laughter.
Set purely on the madcap scale, with some great interludes that encompass traditional pencil animation to sock puppetry, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is only interested in providing a good time for those watching.
With poop jokes, fart noises and a noteable silliness permeating most of the run, this is actually terrifically zippy fun that skirts with zaniness as much as it tries to push a "laughter is the best medicine" mantra to all of life's ills.
While there are a few moments in the 89 minute run time that lull (predominantly when the message is rammed home a little), most of the target audience will fully get its issues of dealing with school problems, feeling alienated from any but your best friend and the daily grind and living for the weekend.
It helps the writing doesn't dwell too much on any of its more serious edges and there are always amusing moments just seconds away from what transpires. Reverence to the books helps greatly and the general desire to ensure that the audience is amused, while the hearts are occasionally hit by some solid vocal work from Hart, Helms and Middleditch.
You can't help but leave the animated Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie with a smile on your face. It's certainly enough of a success creatively to ensure that a sequel should be on the way, and while you may be uncertain to see what else could be mined a second time around, this is actually first class straight-down-the-line animated fare that deserves your time and money.