I’ve never once been involved with the world of “Captain Underpants,” which is a series of comic books, but I have caught on to its general set-up: two boys hypnotize their angry principal into the heroic but dimwitted superhero Captain Underpants. My friend is a fan of the comics, and I took him to see the movie version, and we both enjoyed it.
Ed Helms, in his first voice role since “The Lorax,” voices the angry principal Mr. Krupp, who is at his wits end with his students George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold’s (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) pranks and happiness. He decides to place them in separate classes, but George manages to hypnotize him with a cereal prize ring. He and Harold both snap their fingers, and he becomes Captain Underpants, a superhero based on the comics they create. And to turn him back into Krupp, he has to get wet. But if it rains, don’t bother snapping.
Captain Underpants becomes a handful to these two, especially when a laughter-hating mad genius named Professor P. (voiced by Nick Kroll) becomes their new science teacher. Actually, he plans to rid the world of laughter, because the P stands for “Poopypants.”
“Captain Underpants” isn’t a perfect animated film, because of how some antics can go a long way. Still, I’ve enjoyed the movie for its heart, humor, and innovation. Unlike “Smurfs: the Lost Village,” it doesn’t rely on one-liners, and it features lots of traditional animation, which is told by George and Harold, in their own “Flip-o-Rama” segments. And I especially admired the scene when they use live action sock puppets to represent their problem of Krupp placing them in separate classes. This has more ideas than that movie did.
The voice acting is also talented and versatile. This never had a TV series, so I guess this is the voice cast Dreamworks Animation imagines. Hart, Helms, Middleditch, and Kroll all shine, and they never condescend. This is fun for both kids and parents; and even those child-less adults who believe in many ideas when it comes to animation. And not just that, but it’s also good-natured.