by Charles Kirkland, Jr.
The super-popular book and the superhero both come to life, sorta, in the new animated film, Captain Underpants, The First Epic Movie.
George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch) are buddies and have been since the first day they could remember in Kindergarten. They live next door to each other and are fourth graders at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School where it is the job of the cruel staff to rob the students of any and all joy in their lives. The principal even scheduled the annual inventor’s showcase for all day on Saturday (gasp!). George and Harold are super creative and have attained legendary status for their ability to constantly prank the staff of their school. Their favorite target is the school’s principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms). Principal Krupp has a sneaky suspicion that George and Harold are to blame but he has no proof.
George and Harold share a tree house where they create their favorite comic book, Captain Underpants. One day, at the inventor showcase (on a Saturday, mind you), George and Harold prank their adversary Melvin (Jordan Peele) and his automatic toilet. Much to their dismay, Melvin has a turtle with a baby cam in it that catches them red-handed. As a result, Mr. Krupp promises to separate the boys into different classrooms and thereby ending their friendship. In a last ditch, desperate effort to save themselves, George attempts to hypnotize Mr. Krupp with a toy plastic ring. It works! In the ultimate prank, George and Harold hypnotize Mr. Krupp into being Captain Underpants! Their friendship is saved and everything is alright now…until Professor P (Nick Kroll) comes along. (If you read the book series, you know what the P stands for.)
Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie is the highly anticipated movie adaptation of the popular, loved and criticized book series by Dav Pilkey. As creative as the book series is, the movie is more so. It uses a couple of different types of animation throughout the story including sock puppets to move the story along. George and Harold break the third wall as many times as Deadpool and are just as funny and nowhere near as foul-mouthed. This movie covers three of the first four books of the series and leaves plenty of room for a sequel.
Director David Soren (Turbo) does well in his sophomore feature film along with veteran writer Nicholas Stoller in bringing this long-awaited piece to life and make it better than expected. Rated PG for mild rude humor, Underpants is a wild comic ride fun enough for the whole family.