Flat­u­lent, but not fatu­ous hol­i­day fun

Kapiti Observer - - CONVERSATIONS -

The hu­mour is broad, the an­i­ma­tion chunky and the vo­cal per­for­mances over-the-top, the per­fect com­bi­na­tion for the books’ mostavid au­di­ence.


Tweens George Beard and Harold Hutchins are in­sep­a­ra­ble.

When not found shar­ing a class­room at Pi­qua, Ohio’s Jerome Hor­witz El­e­men­tary, the pair are holed up in their neigh­bour­hood tree­house work­ing on the lat­est edi­tion of their comic book Cap­tain Underpants.

The duo’s skills com­ple­ment one an­other – George is a ter­rific sto­ry­teller, Harold an ex­cel­lent artist. They also share a pas­sion for pranks, much to the cha­grin of their prin­ci­pal Mr Krupp.

To his con­tin­ued frus­tra­tion, he’s yet to catch them in the act, even though he knows they’re re­spon­si­ble for a se­ries of heinous acts against him and other staff.

How­ever, he may at last have caught them red-handed.

Af­ter a manda­tory Satur­day sci­ence day ends in dis­as­ter when a toi­let­ing in­ven­tion goes hay­wire, Krupp dis­cov­ers a hid­den cam­era has cap­tured George and Harold’s tam­per­ing.

Pre­pared to throw the book at them and en­sure the rest of their ed­u­ca­tion is car­ried out in sep­a­rate class­rooms, Krupp is low­er­ing the boom when he’s dis­tracted by Harold’s hypno-ring. Not only does it put the prin­ci­pal in a trance, but it also al­lows them to bring their some­what flawed su­per­hero to life.

Ar­riv­ing 20 years af­ter Dav Pilkey cre­ated the first of his 12 much-loved and high­ly­con­tro­ver­sial (they are banned by many US schools be­cause of their anti-au­thor­i­tar­ian lean­ings) books, David Soren’s ( Turbo) in­au­gu­ral an­i­mated adap­ta­tion is both a de­light­ful primer and solid school hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ment.

Like last year’s The Peanuts Movie, this does a ter­rific job of cap­tur­ing the spirit and style of its source ma­te­rial. The hu­mour is broad, the an­i­ma­tion chunky and the vo­cal per­for­mances over-thetop, the per­fect com­bi­na­tion for the books’ most-avid au­di­ence.

Kevin Hart ( The Se­cret Life of Pets), Ed Helms ( The Hang­over) and Kris­ten Schaal ( Flight of the Con­chords) are among those de­liv­er­ing Ni­cholas Stoller’s (the most re­cent Mup­pet movies) well­honed and hi­lar­i­ous di­a­logue.

The con­stant potty hu­mour may test some older ac­com­pa­ny­ing view­ers’ tol­er­ance (much fun is made of a key char­ac­ter’s sca­to­log­i­cally ori­en­tated name) and the film’s flights of fancy aren’t for ev­ery­one, but there’s an aw­ful lot to like about this Su­per­bad for pri­mary school­ers.

And amongst the ref­er­ences to a Whoopee Cush­ion Orches­tra and Pro­fes­sor Poopy Pants, there’s some clever use of dif­fer­ent an­i­ma­tion styles, sub­ver­sion of comic-book tropes and a timely dis­cus­sion on the value mod­ern so­ci­ety places on ed­u­ca­tion.

Flat­u­lent, but not fatu­ous fun. – James Croot

Cap­tain Underpants is both a de­light­ful primer to the book se­ries and solid school hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ment.

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