After months of leaving fans of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series in anticipation, DreamWorks Animation finally released its first official trailer for Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Currently, trailer can be viewed on DreamWorksTV and Movieclips Trailers YouTube channels.
Buzz about this book adaptation can be tracked as far as January 2014, when actors such as Kevin Hart and Ed Helms began announcing their involvement in the film. In December 2016, Entertainment Weekly unveiled the film’s first teaser image which showcased the designs of the book series main trio.
The trailer released last Wednesday offers various reassuring hints of the film’s loyalty to Pilkey’s series. Its CGI animation seamlessly mirrors the series’ famed illustrations with its character designs; the quick glimpses of the school’s design in the trailer are also true to the art of the story, proven by the pro-authority pictures shown on the walls of principal Mr. Krupp’s office.
The representation of the characters is admirable as well. Ed Helms does well at emphasizing the stricter, authoritative tones of Mr. Krupp while playing on the charismatic and kindhearted naivety of Captain Underpants. Despite personal unsureness of the studio’s choice of having two adult actors play the lead kid roles, the vocal stylings of Kevin Hart as George Beard and Thomas Middleditch as Harold Hutchins pleasantly compliment the imaginative, humorous personalities meant for these best friend pranksters.
The reveal that characters Professor Poopypants (voiced by Nick Kroll) and tattletale Melvin (voiced by Jordan Peele) are in the film, too, adds more theorizing material around how their roles can influence the film’s arc.
The trailer also does well to highlight the quirky surrealism audience can expect in the world of Captain Underpants. The relatable struggle of George and Harold’s friendship being threatened by having to be in separate classes is counteracted by the solution of successfully hypnotizing their principal. Captain Underpants’ quest to make the world a better place is counteracted by the people he crosses getting justifiably confused and uncomfortable by a man prancing about in his underwear and curtain cape.
What is most notable of this movie is its title. The choice to have “The First Epic Movie” as part of the tagline alludes to DreamWorks’ intent of making Captain Underpants into its next big animated franchise. Hopefully the execution of this film will spawn enough sequels to spotlight memorable characters, like the Wicked Wedgie Woman and the Bionic Booger Boy, and the grossly silly adventures Pilkey gave Captain Underpants fans everywhere.