The Following Preview… #75: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Source: DreamWorks Animation

Based on the worldwide sensation and bestselling book series, and boasting an A-list cast of comedy superstars headed by Kevin Hart and Ed Helms, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.

As a kid growing up in the 90s, the Captain Underpants books were always the one book series I would always look forward to. Yeah, it has a lot of grossout humor, I mean, my god, the dude’s name is Captain Underpants and I just went off on a movie recently for throwing in pointless grossout humor but in this case, the books were intentionally doing it on purpose, they weren’t throwing it in to a big pivotal scene like that movie I just mentioned did. And it was just a fun over the top concept and Dav Pilkey’s illustrations and his creative way of telling the story really did a good job of bringing this character to life.

And now, nearly 20 years after his creation, there’s a movie coming out and after all the bitching and complaining that I’ve done about DreamWorks Animation in the past, I have to say…I’m REALLY looking forward to this now after seeing this new trailer.

I mean, I can’t believe I’m saying this but this is the most excited I’ve been for a DreamWorks animated movie since How To Train Your Dragon 2, that’s how long I’ve been mostly disappointed by what this studio has put out although I liked Penguins Of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda 3.

What sold me on the trailer immediately is the art style, it looks exactly live Dav Pilkey’s illustrations coming to life on the big screen in their over the top glory and in DreamWorks style animation, with a little bit of a Peanuts Movie type of style thrown in there a bit. What happened during the production is that DreamWorks Animation’s reorganization in early 2015, the studio announced that the film will be produced outside of the studio’s pipeline at a significantly lower cost. It will instead be animated at Mikros Image in Montreal, Canada, and it will look differently than most of DWA’s films. And for the most part, it definitely does look different which, so far, works to the film’s advantage.

The over the top humor and the scripting looks promising, this is written by Nicholas Stoller, who has more of a strong reputation to his name having written great stuff like the Neighbors movies, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Storks, the two recent Muppets movies, he’s got a strong repertoire to his name and that’s got my interest definitely peaked.

One downside that I’m seeing so far is with the voice cast. And don’t get me wrong, this is a really good voice cast, Ed Helms as Captain Underpants, that’s pitch perfect casting for an animated version of this, Nick Kroll playing the bad guy has the potential to be really good, Kristen Schaal is also in this as is Jordan Peele. The real problem is this movie trying to convince me that Kevin Hart & Thomas Middleditch are playing junior high school students. Middleditch can kind of get away with it but Hart will have a little harder time trying to convince me he can play this role but honestly, it’s Kevin Hart, he’s made me laugh a lot recently so if he brings his A game to the role I won’t mind so much.

If there’s something that definitively has me worried about this, it is the fact that it is DreamWorks Animation and recently, it seems like DreamWorks has been pandering a lot towards kids and not going for an overall engaging universally appealing movie, when I look at movies like Turbo, Trolls, Home or hell, The Boss Baby coming up, all I can think to myself is, “these are clearly made for kids but we want to trick adults into thinking it’s for them too so here’s an adult joke.” The thing that made DreamWorks Animation the success that it was, was that they could tell these stories made strictly for kids and find ways to make them appeal to adults as well. With a story that’s literally called Captain Underpants, I should know what I’m going in for. I just hope it doesn’t alienate its’ audience by going strictly for being just another ‘this is for the kids’ movie and leave the adult fans, which there are surprisingly a lot of, out in the cold. Maybe that’s why they have the “From the studio that brought you Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, & Madagascar” at the beginning of the trailer to convince the audience that maybe this will be a lot different than their other movies. And that could go either way, it could work to their advantage or it could fail miserably, we’ll have to wait and see.

Regardless, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie definitely looks like it’s done the best job of bringing Dav Pilkey’s books to life with some pretty solid animation, a lot of funny over the top moments, and a solid voice cast. Whether or not that leads to a great movie when it comes out on June 2nd only time will tell but for now, this is the most excited I’ve been for a DreamWorks animated movie since How To Train Your Dragon 2, I’m really looking forward to this movie a lot….hell, I’m looking forward to this more than Wonder Woman, that’s how excited I am.

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