Fourth graders George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch) have been inseparable since they first met in kindergarten and realized they shared a similar sense of humor. The best friends spend much of their free time in their treehouse creating issues of their original comic book, Captain Underpants. They make a perfect team—while George writes the stories, Harold does the illustrations. The hero of their stories is an alien from another planet whose origin story is not unlike that of Superman…if Superman walked around in his tighty-whities and Clark Kent had been raised by dolphins.
George and Harold are constantly pulling pranks at school, so much so that they have reserved seats outside the office of angry principal Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms). The problem for Mr. Krupp is that he never has any hard evidence to prove that the boys are responsible for their mayhem, and must let them go. That is until one fateful day when he catches George and Harold in the act on video, and alerts the boys that he will be assigning them to different classrooms. This is devastating news, and with the fate of their friendship on the line, George and Harold start hatching some plans to obtain and destroy the video evidence. However, in the process they end up hypnotizing their principal, making him believe he is the real-life Captain Underpants.
At first the boys are thrilled and amused by their ability to make their awful principal do whatever they want. However, Captain Underpants is a bit of a dimwit, and while undercover as the principal, he hires the evil Professor Poopypants (Nick Kroll) as the school’s new science teacher. Now the trio must find a way to stop the mad professor before he can unleash his evil plan to wipe out children’s ability to laugh, first from all of those at Jerome Horwitz Elementary, and then from all the children in the world.
Before seeing this film, I was familiar with the fact that there was a series of Captain Underpants children’s books, but I didn’t know anything about the story or the premise. This film had me grinning from ear-to-ear throughout. While the film has a lot of cheap, childish potty humor, it is also a very witty, well-written story centered around two fun characters with an infectiously upbeat, wide-eyed attitude and buddy relationship. George and Harold’s bromance reminded me of what Gus and Shawn in Psych or Turk and J.D. in Scrubs would have been like if those characters had met in kindergarten. The two boys are inseparable, and nothing seems to phase them. They constantly have smiles on their faces, and if something doesn’t go their way, they always seem to have a backup prank/plan to save the day. The character of Captain Underpants is also amusing to watch—he believes he has all these superpowers that can save the day, but he’s really just this dimwitted moron who can’t do much of anything…though that doesn’t seem to affect his upbeat attitude and confidence level. Other entertaining supporting characters include nerdy tattletale Melvin (Jordan Peele), who doesn’t understand George and Harold’s sense of humor, and lunch lady Edith (Kristen Schaal), who’s smitten with Mr. Krupp.
The film is primarily told from George and Harold’s point of view, and the boys often break the fourth wall, talking directly to the camera, giving a bit of a Ferris Bueller-like quality to it, especially since the crux of the story is about these pranksters getting one over on the evil principal who’s trying to prove they are guilty. The film has this really whimsical animation style, which is a bit reminiscent of a 1930s Little Lulu or Steamboat Willie feel mixed with a modern 3D look. The film also utilizes other animation styles when showing the boys’ comic books come to life, animating a big action sequence the boys are recounting, and in a dream sequence when George and Harold are sock puppets. There are also these really fun musical moments that pop up throughout the film—sometimes it’s just a music montage while other times characters break into song.
The visual and aural presentation of this Blu-ray are fantastic. The picture is flawless—colors are rich and vibrant, and there are no signs of grain or artifacts, just a crisp, clear, perfect picture. I watched the Blu-ray and am curious as to how the 4K UHD release could possibly look any better. The audio track is also quite impressive, making great use of the stereo and surround channels to bring the on-screen action to life in your living room. This was especially noticeable when the boys are repeatedly testing Mr. Krupp’s transformation back and forth into Captain Underpants, and again later in the film’s big final face-off with Professor Poopypants. Both the Blu-ray and the DVD disc contain the same set of bonus features, over 30 minutes of promotional featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes, music videos and photo galleries. Most of these features feel more like fluff/ads for the film rather than quality behind-the-scenes bonus material, but it was nice to see something included. I enjoyed the deleted scenes the most, but wish there had been some longer interviews or commentary with the cast and/or the original author of the books.
While I didn’t notice anything in particular that seemed to be geared towards 3D, I really wish Dreamworks/Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment had released a 3D Blu-ray version of this film so that folks like me who love 3D could have seen the film how it played out in its original theatrical format. Unfortunately, like what happened previously with Trolls, it doesn’t look like there is a 3D release of this title anywhere in the world.
The Blu-ray and DVD discs come packed in standard HD keepcase, which contains an insert with a code to redeem for a digital copy of the film. While my review copy didn’t include it, for a limited time, most retail copies of the Blu-ray should also include a cardboard slipcover and a wearable cape.
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Chinese, Indonesian, Malay, Mandarin, Thai, Vietnamese
- 480p / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish Surround Dolby Digital 2.0, French Surround Dolby Digital 2.0
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Closed Captioned
- Digital copy redeemable via iTunes, Google Play or Vudu (UltraViolet)
Digital HD (Code may not be valid after 2019):
- The Really Cool Adventures of Captain Underpants Motion Comic (2:52)
Sock puppet Harold and George intro and narrate this motion version of their first Captain Underpants comic book.
- The Captain Underpants Guide to Being a Hero (3:51)
Popsicle stick cardboard cutouts of Harold and George run through the various rules to being a superhero, and show clips from the film.
- The Professor Poopypants (Totally Original and Supercool) Guide to Being a Villain (3:53)
Popsicle stick cardboard cutouts of Professor Poopypants and sidekick Melvin run through an evil checklist to being a supervillain.
- Missing Underpants: The Deleted Scenes of Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (11:00)
Director David Soren introduces this collection of early storyboard animatic sequences, explaining where each one would have been placed in the film, and why each was ultimately cut. The five scenes include “Krupp’s Option B”, “The Disciplinary Committee”, “The Captain’s Secret Identity!!!”, “The Diabolical Professor Poopypants Comic!”, and “Anti-Humor Boy”.
- Captain Underpants Lyric Video by “Weird Al” Yankovic (2:15)
Song lyrics appear on the screen while “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Captain Underpants Theme plays over clips from the film.
- “A Friend Like You” Lyric Video by Andy Grammer (3:45)
Song lyrics and drawings appear on the screen while the song plays.
- Tighty-Whitey Q&A with the Stars – Part 1 (1:02)
Stars Ed Helms (“Captain Underpants”), Kevin Hart (“George”) and Thomas Middleditch (“Harold”) read and respond to questions written on large pairs of underpants.
- Tighty-Whitey Q&A with the Stars – Part 2 (1:02)
Stars Ed Helms, Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch respond to more questions.
- Kevin Hart and Ed Helms Surprise Fans (2:07)
Stars Kevin Hart & Ed Helms answer questions from some young book fans, intermixed with a lot of film clips.
- Lunch Lady PSA with Kristen Schaal (1:02)
In this promo for the film, actress Kristen Schaal gives a PSA about Lunch Lady Neglect.
- Sock Puppets Real Stars (:27)
Short promo for the film starring the sock puppets.
Use the remote to manually step through these photo galleries or allow the slideshows to auto-advance every 5 seconds. Select from:
- Comic Book Covers (:43)
Gallery includes eight covers of comic books George and Harold create in the film.
- The Art of DreamWorks Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (1:53)
Gallery includes twenty-two full-color concept drawings for scenes from the film.
- Comic Book Covers (:43)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:25)
- The World of DreamWorks Animation
A collection of trailers and music videos from various DreamWorks features. Select from:
- Shrek – “I’m a Believer” Music Video (1:16)
- Madagascar – “I Like to Move It” Music Video (1:03)
- How To Train Your Dragon – “Fly High” Music Video (1:52) & Dragons Continues promo (1:04)
- Kung Fu Panda – “Kung Fu Fighting” Music Video (2:07)
- The Croods – “Shine Your Way” Music Video (3:38) & Trailer (1:00)
- Turbo – “The Snail is Fast” Music Video (1:04) & Trailer (2:267)
- Home – “Feel the Light” Music Video (4:10)
- Sneak Peek (10:56)
Play All or select from trailers for The Boss Baby, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, Spirit & Voltron Legendary Defender, Despicable Me 3, and The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.
I didn’t know much about Captain Underpants going into this film, but I thoroughly enjoyed it—the characters, the humor, the story, the animation style, the music and all. The bromance between George and Harold is so much fun and their always-upbeat attitude and humor is infectious. The Blu-ray presentation looks and sounds amazing, and the discs contain a small assortment of bonus features as well as a digital copy of the film. I can’t recommend this film highly enough—I really hope this is just the first epic adventure with many more to come!