Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Captain Underpants Adoption Movie Review

George and Harold lift the spirits of the other fourth-graders at the otherwise glum Jerome Horwitz Elementary School. However, their pranks have raised the ire of no-nonsense Principal Krupp. Krupp decides that to end the boys pranks, he must end their friendship, and he gleefully decrees that they will be sent to separate classes. Harold surprises himself by successfully hypnotizing Principal Krupp, and orders Krupp to turn into Captain Underpants, a superhero that George and Harold have created. Krupp does so, but the boys quickly find out that it’s a liability to have a powerless superhero running around town. In the meantime, the school comes under the threat of a villainous professor who hopes to remove all laughter from the world.


 The Adoption Connection

There isn’t an adoption theme in the film. Some kids who have had to move abruptly – including those who have moved for foster care – may relate to the painful prospect of having an adult purposely act to terminate a close friendship. The film also suggests that friendships die when people are separated by long distances; kids who live away from their birth families might need to be reassured and shown that distance doesn’t terminate relationships.

Strong Points

George and Harold have a strong friendship. They collaborate creatively with each other (on comic books, as well as mischief). When the Professor tries to take away their joy, their close friendship and shared memories help them find their laughter again. Although they’ve worried that their friendship would be ended by distance, they overcome that fear by creating a Verbal Declaration of Friendship, by which they promise to remain friends.
When George and Harold sneak into Professor Krupp’s house, they intend to find things about him to mock, but instead they are struck with compassion and sadness for the lonely life he lives. Eventually, they agree that it feels good to do something nice for him.

The film conveys that it’s better to be able to laugh at oneself, rather than to be crushed by the laughter of others, even if others are cruel.


The principal is cruel; he delights in ending the boys’ friendship, tells them that their parents are failures, and has a sign on his desk that reads “Hope dies here.” Another villainous teacher locks children in a cage.

Some parents might object to the potty humor in the film; the villain’s full name is Professor Pee-Pee Diarrheastein Poopypants, and he attempts to secure his victory with a giant mutated toilet. When Principal Krupp is transformed into Captain Underpants, he strips to his jockey shorts and a cape.

Although they bring humor to a dismal place, some of George’s and Harold’s pranks do appear to cross a line.  

Some characters get hit by cars, but they appear to be alright.

One child is portrayed, and used, as a villain, largely because he does not understand humor.


Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a silly film about two close, but mischievous, friends. There are some themes that could be hard for some children who have been in foster care or who have been abused, but for most kids, and the issue that might be hardest for most kids is the prospect of relationships with close friends ending because of distance. The film does show that the kids are able to remain friends, and kids watching can be inspired by Harold’s and George’s declaration of friendship, reminding themselves that distance doesn’t have to end relationships. For most kids, though, I can see this being a fun movie, so long as parents don’t mind the mischief or potty humor. This one seems best-suited for kids ages 8-11.

Questions for Discussion

Which friends do you have that can help you cheer up when you’re sad?

What memories do you have that you can look back on and laugh?

Which friendships have you been able to keep over long distances?

If you could choose one thing for your principal to do, what would it be?

Are you able to laugh at yourself?

What’s the funniest thing you can think of?

If you could make a Verbal Declaration of Friendship with anyone, who would it be, and what would you say?

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