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Captain Underpants – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  June 2, 2017
Rating:  PG
Run Time:  1 hours 29 minutes
After Credit Scene:  During the credits, not after
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  7.5 out of 10

A Non-Spoiler Review

An animated hero movie we can laugh at.  Of the summer movies I’ve reviewed so far, this movie was the most fun to watch.

George (voiced by Kevin Hart) and Harold (voiced by Thomas Middleditch) are best friends and attend elementary school.  Typical boys, they are always looking for a practical joke with their target mostly being the school principal, Mr. Krupp (voiced by Ed Helms).  Mr. Krupp is determined to end their antics and break-up their friendship, but the boys aren’t having any of it.  They accidently find a way of turning Mr. Krupp into their comic book super hero, “Captain Underpants!”  What is a hero without monsters and a villain that he must defeat?  The story develops from there.

What works:     As I mentioned, this movie is fun for adults to watch, although I have a feeling dads will have more of a connection to the story than moms.  George and Harold’s story is funny and the trouble they get themselves into will certainly resonate with kids.  In fact there were a few times that the story took me back to my own childhood memories and I chuckled aloud.  The boys love comic books and I think this will appeal to both kids, “hoodies”, and parents that appreciate comic books.  The voice acting is great as one would expect with a Dreamworks film.  Jordan Peele (Melvin) and Nick Kroll (Professor P.) also provide a solid performance.  For kids, this is potty humor that they can laugh at along with their parents.  Despite the idea of an adult in his underwear is the costume for our hero, it works because this is the vision of these two boys which I think is probably spot on for kids of that age.

What doesn’t work:  The target audience appears to be boys between the ages 5 – 12 years young as well as dads.  That isn’t to say that girls and moms won’t like the movie, but I do feel they will be in the minority as the movie really didn’t attempt to pull in a girl’s point of view.  I also feel that the writers hurt themselves with such a narrow target as once kids leave elementary school, these types of stories become “uncool” and most adults are not seeking an animated film such as this to watch in a theater.  Although the writing is very good, kids under the age of 8 are not going to be fully engaged throughout the film.  There are a few flat points in the film that are great for character development, but kids of that age need more stimulation to remain engaged in the film.  This was evident to me as those kids in the theater with me took these times to leave the theater presumably to use the bathroom or for a visit to concessions as well as being curious to who/what was around them.

Overall this is a good film, but with a very limited target audience.  I enjoyed Captain Underpants and recommend it to any parent that doesn’t mind the premise that a grown man in a red cape and tighty-whities is the hero of the film.  Although I would love to see a sequel, the box office numbers may not bring confidence to Dreamworks for that to happen.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give this one a 7.5.  A kids combo is in order for this film.  It’s a better film than I expected, but it fails to capture its audience throughout the film.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

Capt Underpants poster

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Trailer Snark (March 31, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Ghost in the Shell (Paramount) – Action/Crime/Drama
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, suggestive content and some disturbing images
Tag Line: None
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Katano
Plot: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Running Time: 107 minutes

Chris: I have never read the source material, but the trailer looks to be action packed and further cements Scarlet Johansson as a certified female action star.
Jim: Looks freaky-interesting, but I’m a bigger fan of actress Scarlett than I am of action hero Scarlett. We’ll see.

The Boss Baby (Twentieth Century Fox) – Animation/Family
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Born leader.
Starring: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi
Plot: A suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Co.
Running Time: 97 minutes

Jim: A mashup of every animated comedy in the last 20 years, but looks amusing enough to rent.
Chris: Mildly entertaining trailer, but I have been overloaded on kiddie animation thanks for my better half. 🙂

The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus Features) – Biography/Drama/History
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking
Tag Line: They gave all they had to save all they could.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh
Plot: The Zookeeper’s Wife tells the account of keepers of the Warsaw Zoo, Antonina and Jan Zabinski, who helped save hundreds of people and animals during the German invasion.
Running Time: 124 minutes

Chris: Ripe with Schindler’s List type themes, and based on a true story.  This is my kind of historical movie.  I am sure it will be moving, and hopefully honors the people whose story it is.
Jim: No disrespect for the source material intended, but this looks like The Pianist meets We Bought A Zoo. I don’t know, maybe I just see too many movies. That said, it could be something to see.

Tickets Purchased:  One for The Zookeeper’s Wife (Chris) while Jim stays home and rents The Girl on the Train.

zoo

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Trailer Snark (November 4, 2016 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Doctor Strange (Disney) – Action/Fantasy/Adventure
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action throughout, and an intense crash sequence
Tag Line:  Open your mind.  Change your reality.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton
Plot: A former neurosurgeon embarks on a journey of healing only to be drawn into the world of the mystic arts.
Running Time: 115 minutes

Jessica: HECK YEAH!!! This is what Im seeing this week, no question. I know nothing of the source materials, but it looks amazing and Marvel has a stellar track record in my book!
Jim: Not being a comic book follower, I don’t get the chills from this that fans have been getting, but it looks intriguing. That, and Benedict Cumberbatch rocks!
Chris:  It’s a Marvel movie….of course I want to see it.  And though Ken and Rob are absent from this week’s trailer reviews, It would be safe to speak for them as well.

Trolls (Dreamworks) – Family/Animation
Rated PG for some mild rude humor
Tag Line: Find your happy place
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Russel Brand
Plot: After the Bergens invade Troll Village, Poppy, the happiest Troll ever born, and the curmudgeonly Branch set off on a journey to rescue her friends.
Running Time: 92 minutes

Chris:  I knew it…Russel Brand is a troll!  Pass.
Jessica: Good lord no.
Jim: Despite the surfeit of animated flicks, this looks amusing  enough to be watchable. Have to admit I like the Timberlake tune.

Loving (Focus Features) – Biography/Drama
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements
Tag Line: All love is created equal.
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton
Plot: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.
Running Time: 123 minutes

Jim: Looks well-acted and absorbing.
Chris:  One of the most important civil rights cases in our nation’s history.  How can that not be compelling fare for the big screen?
Jessica: This looks truly amazing and I have definite plans to check this out.

Hacksaw Ridge (Summit Entertainment) – Biography/Drama
Rated R for intense prolonged realistically graphic sequences of war violence including grisly bloody images
Tag Line: When the order came to retreat, one man stayed.
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington
Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Running Time: 131 minutes

Jessica: This looks intriguing, I’d watch this at home.
Jim: Wow. This looks incredible. Interesting that Mel Gibson isn’t mentioned by name.
Chris: This has to be one of the most unique war stories I have ever heard of…..and the fact that it is based fully on the real life story of this incredible young man.  Count me in!

Peter and the Farm (Magnolia Pictures) – Documentary
Not Rated
Tag Line: None
Starring:  Peter Dunning
Plot: A documentary on Peter Dunning, the proprietor of Mile Hill Farm in Vermont who has isolated himself away from his family and often suggests to the filmmakers to make his own suicide a narrative device.
Running Time: 91 minutes

Chris:  An exploration of mental illness or an indictment of society?  I am not really sure, but the trailer managed to grip me hard.
Jessica: Well then, this looks…interestingly intense. I’m curious.
Jim: Ohhhh-kaaaay. I dunno…

Tickets Purchased:  Two for Doctor Strange (Jessica and Chris) and One for Hacksaw Ridge (Jim)

Does that make him the magical version of The Punisher?
Does that make him the magical version of The Punisher?