Based on the Captain Underpants children’s books, DreamWorks Animation’s newest 3D-animated film tells the story of two mischievous kids who, in an effort to not be punished by their principal for their continuous pranks, hypnotize him into thinking he’s the amazing Captain Underpants, a superhero they've created in a series of comic books. The story mostly borrows jumbled elements from the graphic novel collection - infusing the movie with a few original ideas here and there.
While technically under the DreamWorks Animation label, very little about this film “feels” like a DreamWorks project, possibly largely due to the outsourcing of animation to Mikros Image Montreal and the movie's surprisingly tight budget of $38 Million (roughly a quarter of that of their last film, Boss Baby). Still, despite these limitations or perhaps because of them, Captain Underpants ends up being one of the studio's most sharply creative films in years. While DreamWorks has repeatedly proven itself capable of colorful landscapes and tight visual distinction, Captain Underpants is the first project that takes full advantage of animation as a creative medium, especially in terms of shot and color language, creative and emotional transition, and exaggeration with a fantastically free-flow cartoony style.
The film's sole, major flaw is a lack of narrative purpose. While Captain Underpants is a comedy (and freakin' hilarious) it's not a dramady. This renders it somewhat weaker in the story department than other DreamWorks Animation hits - though perhaps it's morally salvaged by maintaining a fairly reasonable moral compass for kids. That said, Captain Underpants deserves more attention than it’s currently getting, especially given how strong the film is compared to DreamWorks’ other recent endeavors: It’s funnier and snappier than Kung Fu Panda, more energetic and visually stunning than Trolls, and more tonally consistent than just about everything else they’ve released in the last 10 years. If you’re on the fence, I recommend going to see it.