Monday, December 26, 2016

Another Breed of Superhero: First Look at DreamWorks' 'Captain Underpants'

Have no fear, your first look at DreamWorks' other 2017 release is here.

Captain Underpants...

Who would've thought, right? I bet many aren't digging the idea of a movie based on the Dav Pilkey book series, others probably aren't shocked that DreamWorks opted to adapt them. Even though DreamWorks has shown for over eight years that they can tell good stories that don't fall back on cheap toilet humor and such, some people out there still believe that every new DreamWorks movie is a fartfest. Captain Underpants moving forward more than "confirms" that for them.

For those not in the know, Captain Underpants is exactly what it says on the box. Two fourth graders hypnotize their school principal, whose is described as tyrannical, into becoming a superhero. A big man with no powers who is only wearing a curtain cape and underpants. It's as ridiculous as it looks, folks. Being a 90s kid, I remember the books being a big staple at every book fair at my elementary school. It was a big deal back then, and other schools weren't as welcoming to the series as mine was. They went as far as banning them, due to their fear of them being inappropriate for young readers and also fearing that they would encourage them to... Yes, disobey authorities.

It has quite a history, and it actually kind of seems like prime material to turn into a silly animated comedy. The first look at the film, provided by Entertainment Weekly, shows something that I think actually has some potential...

No different from the style used in Blue Sky's The Peanuts Movie, what they've got here looks pretty good and is pretty much the illustrations of the books brought to the big screen. What wasn't stated in the report is this: DreamWorks actually outsourced this production to Mikros, who have houses in Canada and France. A smart idea in hindsight, because spending Trolls money ($125 million) on this kind of movie isn't a good idea.

That's not all, though. Director David Soren (who directed DreamWorks' Turbo) said that the film will not only be irreverent like the books, but it will also have a lot of fun with its own visuals: Stylized CG isn't the only thing you'll see in it, you'll also see traditionally animated (!) scenes that will look like comic book panels come to life, and also sock puppets of all things, and more. A real mixed-media kind of animated feature.

Soren also revealed that the story will feel like something made by the two fourth grade protagonists. Back when it was announced, my question has always been, will DreamWorks be able to keep the series' style funny and not cringeworthy for a whole 90-or-so minutes? Unlike some of the DreamWorks movies of the 2000s, Captain Underpants isn't a series that uses toilet humor to get a laugh. It's a series that is pretty much built around grossness, I mean c'mon... That's in the title alone! Just looks at the volume titles, too. The movie could be like the cinematic equivalent of a Ren & Stimpy episode. In another way, it could subvert superhero movies, since those have been dominating.

I know, it's the last thing feature animation in America needs, but it's here, so I say... Might as well hope for the best. With the first look now out, I wonder when the teaser will surface?

What say you?

1 comment:

  1. The books were very self aware, constantly breaking the 4th wall and making fun of how silly the how idea of the series is. I hope the film keeps that stuff.