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Captain Underpants

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a DreamWorks Animation film based on the Captain Underpants book series by Dav Pilkey. George Beard (Kevin Hart) and Harold Hutchins (Thomas Middleditch) are two scheming fourth graders whose goals are to play pranks, hide in their secret treehouse and write comic books. But when they accidentally turn their megalomaniacal principal Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms) into their comic book character — Captain Underpants — their elementary school life suddenly becomes anything but elementary.

Rounding out the cast is Jordan Peele as Melvin Sneedly, the nerdy nemesis of George and Harold; Kristen Schaal as Edith, the school lunch lady (and Mr. Krupp's love interest); and Nick Kroll as the insidious villain, Professor Poopypants.

Released on June 2, 2017, Captain Underpants is the final DreamWorks Animation film to be distributed by Twentieth Century Fox after the former's acquisition by NBCUniversal and before the latter's acquisition by Disney and its renaming into 20th Century Studios, all DreamWorks Animation movies from How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World onward were distributed by Universal.


Tra-la-la! Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie contains examples of:

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  • Acrofatic: Captain Underpants, even more so than his original iteration from the novels.
  • Actor Allusion: Like the previous two theatrical animated films he has starred in, Nick Kroll reuses a voice he used for one of his live action characters for Professor Poopypants. In this case, Professor Poopypants reuses a voice that's similar to Senor Feeture.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • When Captain Underpants escapes and goes out to fight nonexistent crime, George and Harold realize that that probably won't turn out well and they need to stop him. At the same time, upon seeing their hypnotized principal run around as Captain Underpants, Harold laughs and admits he's "kind of loving this", and George agrees.
    • Near the end, Mr. Krupp reveals that he dug George and Harold's comics out of the garbage, read them and begrudgingly admits that, although they're full of "stupid, juvenile, potty-humor"... he actually thought they were pretty funny.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The film is mainly a combination of the first four books in the series (although a few elements from some of the other books are also included).
    • It's the Captain's origin story from the first book with the fourth book's Professor Poopypants as the main antagonist. The Turbo-Toilet 2000 from the second book also appears as an evolved form of one of Melvin's inventions, and it inadvertently becomes the source of Captain Underpants' superpowers which he gets in the third book (and the schoolchildren also become zombified with the help of cafeteria food). Additionally, the Shrinky-Pig 2000 and the Goosy-Grow 4000 are combined into a single shrink-and-grow invention.
    • Melvin Sneedly being one of the antagonists partially because of being made fun of in George and Harold's comic is similar to to the Bionic Booger Boy arc of books 6 and 7.
    • The story of how George and Harold met in kindergarten is briefly touched on, complete with five-year-old George's ginormous afro from the ninth book.
    • The plot point of Mr. Krupp putting George and Harold in separate classes is similar to the eleventh book when they fail their tests and only George's grade is high enough to move to the fifth grade, much to Krupp's delight.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the book, George and Harold receive the Hypno-Ring by ordering it through the papers, waiting four to six weeks, then coming to Mr. Krupp's office and using it on him. Here, George encounters the Hypno-Ring in Mr. Krupp's office, with it having been one of the things Krupp confiscated from them, and they use it in the same scene that they find it.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the books, the villain was called Pippy Pee Pee Poopypants. Here, however, it's changed to the even more unfortunate Pee Pee Diarrheastein Poopypants Esquire.
    • The original name can be seen for a brief moment in his files when George and Harold read them.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In the books, while one of Melvin Sneedly's inventions made the creation of the Turbo-Toilet 2000 possible, he never went as far as to make the robot toilet himself.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Harold has shades of being a Cloudcuckoolander, with it being framed that the reason he doesn't write the comics is that he doesn't know how to craft a story that makes any sense. There was never any indication of this in the books. A particular quirk of his (constantly trying to insert dolphins everywhere) has no basis whatsoever in the books.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Mevlin's debut was in book two when George and Harold encountered him at the Invention Convention. Here, he's introduced before the Invention Convention is.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • George and Harold. In the books, they play pranks for their own amusement (rather than to lift their fellow students' spirits here), and are more malicious; In the second book, they sabotage every invention at the Invention Convention (rather than simply Melvin's in the movie) as an act of spite for being banned.
    • Mr. Krupp is less of a flat-out evil person in this film, being given both a Freudian Excuse and Character Development.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Melvin doesn't come close to reaching the Impossible Genius he was in the books. For example, in the book's version of the Invention Convention, his project was a printer that could print 2D images into living, sentient beings. Here, his various inventions (along with being things that could more reasonably exist) are all stupid and impractical, like a giant binder designed to hold regular-sized binders. His catchphrase in this film is also him cluelessly stating "I don't get it."
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: Captain Underpants miraculously summons an infinite amount of underwear from nowhere to use as projectiles. He was never shown having this ability in the books.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Instead of being pushed over the edge of madness by George and Harold's cruel comic book, Professor Poopypants is already a villain the moment he becomes a teacher at their school. His backstory reveals he already snapped when the presenters at the World's Greatest Inventor award ceremony were too busy laughing at his name to give him his well-deserved award.
    Professor Poopypants: Hiya, class! I'm your cool new teacher! Not some scary guy with a secret evil agenda!
    • That being said in the book Poopypants became deranged to the point where he attempted murder multiple times and and tried to destroy the galaxy and kill everyone in his final appearance. Here, he merely intends to get rid of laughter and doesn't attempt to murder anyone instead opting to shrink George, Harold and Captain Underpants. He also doesn't get rid of the part of the brain that causes laughter only because humans need it to survive.
    • Downplayed for Melvin, who except for one evil moment in book 7, was normally only a Insufferable Genius but not a villain or evil person by any means and was shown to love his parents. He even became a superhero towards the end of the series and saved George, Harold and Captain Underpants (for self-serving reasons but is still counts). In this movie, he's more than willing to participate in Poopypants scheme for the sake of extra credit and refuses to help George and Harold stop Poopypants.
    • Amplified with the Turbo Toilet 2000, who was the largest and most vicious of the Talking Toilets in the books, but is now a non-sentient mecha controlled by Professor Poopypants.
  • Adapted Out: The three crabby lunch ladies from the first three books are replaced with the kinder Shrinking Violet lunch lady Edith.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Krupp takes a dig at how George and Harold's parents are "complete failures" at raising them during their punishment.
    • None of the school's staff besides Ms. Anthrope notices Poopypants' attack on the school. Averted when the police show up after the attack.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: Much like The Peanuts Movie before it, the style for this film is pretty much a direct translation of Dav Pilkey's art in a CG space.
  • Alternate Continuity: One reason why the first four books are mashed up into this movie.
  • Amusing Injuries: Mr. Krupp is nearly hit by a car shortly after becoming Captain Underpants for the first time.
    Captain Underpants: Why, thank you, vehicle person! (jumps over a fence, followed by a crash and a cat yowl) Ow!
  • Analogy Backfire: Captain Underpants proudly boasts of how he can take to the sky like an ostrich. He's not wrong.
  • And the Adventure Continues: True to the books, the story ends with George and Harold being dragged off on another of Captain Underpants’ misadventures.
  • Anything but That!: Mr. Krupp's punishment for George and Harold is to...put them in separate classes, because he thinks it'll destroy their friendship. Despite the logic that this would only separate George and Harold at school (they live right next to each other and meet in their treehouse after school all the time), they treat this punishment like they did their punishment in the first book, where they had to be Mr. Krupp's servants. At the end, they discuss how silly it was to think about the punishment that way.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Professor Poopypants says that "laughter" is controlled by the cerebellum (though he calls it by a different name). In real life, the cerebellum controls balance and muscle coordination. That's not even covering the ideas that George and Harold's cerebellums take up about 90% of their brain, and that Melvin doesn't have a cerebellum at all. This, however, falls in line with the books' tendencies to make sciencey-type things up in order to set up plot points.
  • Art Shift: The comic book sequences are animated in sketchy hand-drawn animation.
    • When George and Harold are being shot by Poopypants's Anti-Humor ray, we see inside their heads and see their talking brains are also traditionally animated.
    • Harold's worrying about what'll happen if Mr. Krupp puts them in separate classes is presented with sock puppets and a little stop-motion.
  • Author Appeal: In-Universe, Harold and dolphins. Shown by the fact that he keeps putting them in at every opportunity.
  • Bait-and-Switch: After bringing an unconscious Captain (as Krupp) back to his house, George and Harold think that the inside of his house will be very horrific. They then find out that it's actually a dreary but normal-looking house.
  • Batman Gambit: Melvin hid a nanny cam in the Tattle Turtle 200 and set it up near his displays at the Invention Convention, knowing that George and Harold wouldn't be able to resist messing with his inventions for the sake of a good prank.
  • Berserk Button: Laughter for Professor Poopypants. One of the first things he does to show the audience this is lock two little girls in a cage for laughing during their conversation. To make matters worse, he didn't even know what they were laughing about!
  • Big Bad: Professor Poopypants, who in a case of Adaptational Villainy is a bad guy when he immediately first appears.
  • Big Fun: Captain Underpants.
  • Big "NO!": By Ms. Anthrope in the mid-credits scene when she accidentally hangs up the phone after being on hold so long.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The restaurant that Mr. Krupp and Edith go to on their date is called "It's Amore!" Amore is Italian for love.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: When George and Harold introduce their bullying principal Mr. Krupp, their brief show of just how nasty he can be is a handmade comic of him torching a kitten (with a censor bar over it.)
  • Blank White Eyes: Whoever is hit with the anti humor ray gets these.
  • Bookends: The movie's title appears at the beginning (On George and Harold's comic book) and the end of the film.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: On one hand, it is indubitably wrong for Professor Poopypants to want to get rid of laughter, as it is an integral part of happiness. On the other hand, Harold and George learn from the experience that while laughter is fun to have, it is important to be compassionate and recognize the difference between laughing with someone or at someone.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played for Laughs. One of Captain Underpants' superpowers includes unlimited pairs of underpants to fire as projectiles.
    George: I am so glad we gave him that superpower!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Harold and George occasionally talk to the audience, and even freeze-frame the movie at certain moments to discuss what's going on.
  • Brick Joke:
    • During their origin issue, Harold insists that dolphins raised Captain Underpants, even though George protests that that makes no sense. In the Flip-O-Rama segment, Harold once again tries to put dolphins in there, with George being confused why Harold keeps trying to cram dolphins into the movie.
    • Also in the Flip-O-Rama segment, the last thing shown of what's happening to Captain Underpants is Professor Poopypants banging him around like a paddleball. Once we return to the real world, that's exactly what Professor Poopypants is doing.

  • Canon Foreigner: Edith the lunch lady is the only original character for the film.
  • Cape Snag: Captain Underpants tries to fly out the school window... only for the window to close on his cape, leaving him dangling. After a few struggles, the hem of the cape rips, and Captain Underpants falls to the ground.
    Poopypants: I bet he thought that was gonna be cooler!
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Poopypants displays all the signs of "don't trust this guy" when he introduces himself, but he takes it to a further level at the climax where he even emulates the comic book version of himself by George and Harold, dressing up like him and boasting that now they're getting the supervillain they wanted.
  • Cardiovascular Love: After Captain Underpants (while disguised as Mr. Krupp) flirts with her, Edith is left flustered as hearts pop up around her.
  • Casting Gag: In the Mexican Spanish dub, the titular hero is voiced by Arturo Mercado Jr., who previously voiced a bald villain, Hammerhead, who also ends up naked. This time, he's the hero.
  • Catchphrase: Melvin says "I don't get it" whenever someone makes a joke.
  • The Charmer: Unlike Mr. Krupp, who is incredibly awkward around his mutual crush Edith, Captain Underpants is very charismatic towards her, as shown when he compliments her blue eyes.
    Edith: Ooh! (fans herself as hearts pop up around her) Flirt alert!
  • Check, Please!: When the Talking Toilets appear at the end, Mr. Krupp (who is at a restaurant on a date) says this. Then he snaps his fingers. And you know what that means...
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • George and Harold first became friends in kindergarten when they laughed over the name "Uranus". Hearing Professor Poopypants say it in the climax gives their brains the hilarity they need to overpower his brainwashing ray.
    • Melvin never finds any of the jokes around him funny. His humorless brain is scanned by Professor Poopypants and programmed onto the rest of the schoolkids, to rob them of any joy and happiness.
    • The radioactive cafeteria leftovers that Edith throws away is used as fuel for the Turbo-Toilet 2000. It's also what winds up giving Captain Underpants his powers.
  • Circling Birdies: In this case, Circling Flying Captain Underpantses singing "Tra-la-laaaaa!" after Mr. Krupp endures rapid-fire transformations and collapses in George and Harold's treehouse.
  • Close on Title: Downplayed, as part of the title "Captain Underpants" appear at the beginning of the movie, but the full title appears at the end.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Harold has shades of this. For some reason, he keeps trying to shoehorn dolphins into the story, and as he goes to describe how him and George being placed in separate classes will inevitably result in a Robot War.
  • Comically Small Bribe: Why does Melvin agree to snoop on the heroes for Mr. Krupp, and later let Poopypants brainwash the world so everyone will become as humorless as himself? Extra credit. Mr. Krupp even "tosses" him the 'invisible' extra credit as Melvin leaves.
  • Composite Character: The Turbo-Toilet 2000 is merged with Professor Poopypants's Humongous Mecha from Book 4 as the Professor's primary means of attack.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: At the end, George and Harold admit they overreacted to being put in separate classes, and that they can still maintain their friendship despite it.
  • Covert Pervert: Edith can briefly be seen with a broad smile on her face when Mr. Krupp disrobes to transform into Captain Underpants at the end.
  • Curious as a Monkey: Captain Underpants, full stop.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Lampshaded. Melvin points out that Professor Poopypants could end world hunger with his inventions (and that was the Professor's original motive), but now Poopypants is too maniacal and hungry for revenge to care.
  • Dartboard of Hate: The boys have one of Mr. Krupp in their treehouse.
  • De-power: Subverted. George and Harold break the hypno-ring, believing that it'll stop Mr. Krupp from ever turning into Captain Underpants or using his superpowers ever again. It initially appears that way, but the end of the movie reveals Mr. Krupp still becomes Captain Underpants whenever he hears finger snapping.
  • Don't Split Us Up: George and Harold will do anything to avoid being placed in separate classes at school, even though they're next-door neighbours. At the end of the film, however, they accept it and promise to work to keep their friendship alive.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: At the end of Professor Poopypants' flashback, most of the students who were just laughing at the Captain Underpants comic a moment ago have been left in stunned silence. This causes Poopypants to ask " much of that was out loud?"
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Most of the first half of the movie involves George and Harold dealing with the aftermath of making their principal think he's a superhero, mainly having to keep him out of trouble and having to keep him from getting wet.
    • A special mention goes to the moment when George and Harold initially believe that Captain Underpants solves their problem about being separated, because now they can just snap their fingers every time Mr. Krupp prepares to switch their classes. They try this, and everything works perfectly... until five seconds later, when students start arrive in the hallways, and George and Harold are left there standing with their hypnotized principal.
  • DreamWorks Face: Captain Underpants himself makes it, that crooked smile with the one lowered and one cocked eyebrow, in the poster. To be fair, that's his default face on every cover of the book series.

  • Early-Bird Cameo: Edith the Lunch Lady was shown as one of the staff members George and Harold pranked before her proper introduction. Especially notable as she's the film's only Canon Foreigner, so no one would have recognized her beforehand.
  • Empathic Environment: If one were to notice when George and Harold were spazzing out on sugar, there are dark clouds starting to move in and as they try to keep Captain Underpants (disguised as Krupp) out of harm's way, the blue sky gets covered with more clouds, that is until the carnival gets train-wrecked, the sky is completely covered and it starts to rain symbolizing the boys' situation going From Bad to Worse, with the whole scene ending as a Tearjerker.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: When George and Harold snoop around Mr. Krupp's house, the only thing in the fridge is a half-empty bottle of ketchup, and the only thing they find in the pantry is a box of "Not-So-Cheery-Os".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Poopypants leaves the stuck-on-hold secretary alone.
  • Everyone Has Standards: During the Saturday song, Harold says he could pee in his bed or underwear. George doesn't seem amused. Likewise, the boys make a vow to remain friends even in separate classes with Harold opting for a spit shake, George says its unsanitary and asks if they can just do a verbal declaration of friendship.
  • Eye Glasses: Professor Poopypants' glasses act as his eyes for 99% of the movie, contorting appropriately to show his emotions. His actual eyes are only seen for a brief moment during a single scene.
  • Face Palm: George and Harold do this in several scenes.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Midway through the film, George and Harold enter Mr. Krupp's office and begin talking and sitting casually, missing that Captain Underpants has turned back into Mr. Krupp and is speechlessly aghast at the two of them treating his office like a lounge room.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: After George and Harold prank the Invention Convention, they exit the school cheerfully, narrating how unusually short their movie was while end credits play behind them... and then Mr. Krupp bursts through the credits and demands them in his office.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When delivering a boring lecture to the class:
    Ms. Ribble: Memorize these elements: Oxygen, beryllium, boringorium,...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening alone, the boys freeze that moment before Mr. Krupp yells at them to come to his office. His wig is in mid-air, leaving his bald head exposed. In that frame, he resembles Captain Underpants (but angrier and with clothes on).
    • Melvin is established as a tattletale in his first scene. Later, it's revealed he built a Tattle Turtle that catches the boys red-handed.
    • While George and Harold are searching Krupp’s Office for the Tattle Turtle 200 we get two back-to-back;
      • They come across a file cabinet drawer filled with everything Krupp had ever confiscated from them over the years, including the Hyno-Ring, which has an Audible Gleam and its theremin Leitmotif playing in the background after George puts it on, hinting at its mysterious power.
      • Harold finds that Krupp has every issue of Captain Underpants that the two have ever created, and wonders out loud if he’s ever read them. It’s hinted to be true by how well Krupp gets into character after he’s hypnotized, and outright confirmed at the end of the movie, where he admits to them that he found them Actually Pretty Funny.
    • Before his surname is revealed, Professor Poopypants writes his name on the board as "Professor P".
      • Also, when George jokingly asks Poopypants if his name was "Professor Privates", the entire class starts laughing, which makes Poopypants snap at George and send him and Harold (who didn't even do anything) to Krupp's office. Later on, we learn that people laughing at his Unfortunate Name is his Berserk Button is why he is set on eradicating laughter across the world.
  • Foul Cafeteria Food: The cafeteria leftovers equate to toxic waste, which is enough to power a Humongous Mecha. It's also what gives Captain Underpants his superpowers when he gets dunked in it.
  • Free Prize at the Bottom: The origin of George's 3-D Hypno Ring, originally a mail-order toy, has been changed to this.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The paperwork that Mr. Krupp pulls to separate George and Harold has a "reasons for request" section with:
    - Child is impossible to deal with
    - Child is worst student in class
    - Because the Principal says so!!!
    • Krupp has two file cabinets in his office that are just barely visible, one labelled "George and Harold", and the other labelled "Rest Of Class".
    • Watch some of the scenes of Mr. Krupp shouting frame by frame and see droplets of spit flying out of his mouth, a detail copied directly from the book's illustrations.
    • In Ms. Anthrope's office, if you look at the two chairs next to the door to Mr. Krupp's office, there is a sign above each of them. One says, "Reserved for George", the other "Reserved for Harold".
    • Also in Ms. Anthrope's office, you see a calendar that says the date of April 28th, but it's obvious that that calendar has not been used in some time, as the movie clearly takes place in early to mid-autumn, NOT spring.
    • Krupp's driver's license lists that his eyes are "cold", his hair is "fake", he lives on 3.14 Curmudgeon Drive and that he signs his signature as "Principal Krupp".
    • Upon closer inspection on Krupp's signature on George and Harold's separation papers, it's surrounded by hearts.
    • Poopypants' resume lists his birthday is on April Fool's Day, he lives on 3.14 Smartypants Blvd, and he doesn't have a phone.
    • One of the signs on Mr. Krupp's lawn reads "Do not Read this sign"
    • In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, as George and Harold first leave school for their treehouse, it appears that they have changed the school sign again to now read "Please Don't Fart in a Diaper".
  • Freudian Excuse: As it turns out, Mr. Krupp is the way he is because he lives in a broken house all by himself, and he has nobody else who's shown genuine care for him. This leads to George and Harold throwing him a bone at the end, and setting him up on a date with Edith.
    • Professor Poopypants gets one as well. The movie makes it evident that the reason laughter is such a Berserk Button for him is that people just wouldn't stop laughing at his name.
      • While he's getting his job interview, there's even a line of dialogue that suggests that this started at a young age.
      Professor Poopypants: Well, I never was a camp counselor. Although, I did receive some counseling for some trauma I experienced as a child.
  • Full Moon Silhouette: Captain Underpants does this when he resurfaces at the very end, with George and Harold clinging onto his cape in an attempt to stop him. It provides the page image for this film's awesome page.
  • Funny Afro: George sports one in the flashback of him as a kindergartner, and the trope itself is referenced later during the climax.
    George: It's almost as funny as my hair back in kindergarten! (to Harold) Remember that Afro?!

  • George Jetson Job Security: Mr. Krupp fires the science teacher, Mr. Fyde, because he wanted to spend the Saturday of the Invention Convention with his family.
  • Ghost in the Machine: This happens by showing a scene of George and Harold's brains communicating with each other, frantically trying to come up with a way out of their dilemma as their "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklotamuses" shrink smaller and smaller.
  • Good Is Dumb: Captain Underpants manages to simultaneously be the most heroic and least intelligent character in the entire film.
  • Gut Feeling:
    • When they're first brought to his office at the start of the movie, Mr. Krupp brings up the prank involving the school sign, and knows that George and Harold are responsible for it. When George asks if he has any proof, he responds that his all the proof he needs is in his gut.
      Harold: (muttering to George) He must have a lot of proof in there.
    • During the Invention Convention, George is determined to do something to end this ongoing needless boredom. But Harold, remembering Mr. Krupp's warning about how he will catch them in the act sooner rather than later, has a bad feeling about it. He ultimately turns out to be right, as Mr. Krupp conspired with Melvin to create the Tattle Turtle in order to catch them setting up the prank involving the Turbo Toilet 2000 on video.
      George: (hushed) We have to do something about this!
      Harold: (nervously) I don't know. Krupp looks serious this time, George. Maybe we should just lay low for a while…
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: Inverted; Captain Underpants manages to swipe Professor Poppypants' shrink-and-grow invention, but thinks he's doing this trope when holding it properly. He turns the weapon around and unintentionally fires behind himself, hitting Professor Poopypants, turning him into a giant and then shrinking himself.
  • Hazmat Suit: Professor Poopypants and Melvin wear these when investigating the cafeteria leftovers as a suitable fuel source. Oddly before this, Edith was dumping said leftovers in a pot with only standard lunch lady attire.
  • Here We Go Again!: It's a Captain Underpants tradition. Just when it looks like everything has calmed down, an army of talking toilets start attacking, and Mr. Krupp accidentally triggers his Captain Underpants persona, which was seemingly destroyed along with the hypno-ring. George and Harold even drop their traditional "Oh no!" and "Here we go again!" when this happens.
  • Heroic Second Wind: When Captain Underpants is dropped into the radioactive cafeteria leftovers within the Turbo Toilet 2000, it leaves him down for the count for a while. But upon hearing George and Harold's cries for help, it wakes him up enough to swallow some of the leftovers, which gives him the superpower boost he needs.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Captain Underpants tries to "free" a mime from his "prison" by smashing the barriers, which just leads to him punching the mime. Not long after, he helps out an old woman with a cat stuck in a tree by tossing the old woman up into the tree, leaving her stuck with her cat.
    George: Wow. He is super dumb. (facepalms)
  • Herr Doktor: Professor Poopypants speaks with an exaggerated German accent, though he claims to be instead from New Swissland.
  • Hiding Behind Your Bangs: Edith the lunch lady's hair is styled in such a way, which Captain Underpants (while "disguised" as Mr. Krupp) points out by noting her "one blue eye".
  • Hilarity Ensues: Realistically, George and Harold would have been expelled for the tiger prank since the tiger could have killed a lot of students and staff members of the school. The boys' parents could have also been sued by the school as well.
  • His and Hers: When George and Harold snoop around Mr. Krupp's house, they find out that he's so lonely that he only has one copy of everything, and the one exception are the towels: labeled "His" and "Also His".
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Captain Underpants for getting a "good vibe" from someone as Obviously Evil as Professor Poopypants.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Even when Captain Underpants is fully disguised in clothes, he can still be told apart from the regular Mr. Krupp because Captain Underpants always wears his toupee lopsided.
  • Impact Silhouette:
    • The first thing Mr. Krupp does after being hypnotized into thinking he's Captain Underpants is leap out his office window, leaving a perfect Captain Underpants-shaped silhouette in the glass. Later, when Poopypants comes in for his job interview it's still visible!
      Poopypants: Hello! I was just, like, admiring the view from your... broken window, it's in the shape of a man!
    • Mr. Krupp's bed has a himself-shaped lump stretched across it, even the pillow.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: Apparently, a field trip to a sewage treatment plant is considered a mentally stimulating activity at Jerome Horwitz Elementary School.
  • Irony:
    • If you take a close look at Professor Poopypants' resume, you'll notice that he was born on April 1st. (And according to the creators, so was Mr. Krupp.)
    • Also, later in class, Professor Poopypants asks the students what they would do to change the world. A girl suggests "world peace", but Poopypants turns it down as "impossible". Yet, his idea of ridding the world of laughter also borders on impossible as well.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Even though his control over the school is pretty tyrannical, Mr. Krupp makes a fair point of noting that George and Harold's parents are doing jack to stop their children from wreaking havoc on the school.
  • Karma Houdini: Melvin Sneedly never experiences any sort of punishment or repercussions for assisting Professor Poopypants in his scheme to zombify and de-humorize his fellow students.
  • Lack of Imagination: Melvin Sneedly, one of the major antagonists in the series, doesn't have a good imagination outside of scientific endeavors. He's a Child Prodigy who seems to have a lack of imagination in day-to-day life when not being a genius.
  • Large Ham: Ed Helms seems to be bringing this both as Mr. Krupp and Captain Underpants.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Just before the Flip-O-Rama sequence, George and Harold mention that the actual fight sequence would lead to the movie going over budget; this is a reference to the film's $38 million budget, which is lower than most modern CGI-animated films.
    George: Freeze! The following sequence contains scenes so intense, horrific and violent—
    Harold: And expensive.
  • Logo Joke: George and Harold hum the tune to the DreamWorks Animation logo, and afterwards proudly present the movie as a co-production of Treehouse Comix.
  • Lonely Bachelor Pad: Mr. Krupp's home.
  • Love Redeems: Mr. Krupp being in a relationship with Edith helps him loosen up and be kinder towards the students

  • Made of Iron: Captain Underpants gets nearly hit by a car and gets right back up. Not to mention all the abuse he endures during the first half of his fight against Professor Poopypants and the Turbo Toilet 2000, which if the Flip-O-Rama is any indication, was rather painful, but looks little worse for wear and hardly has so much as a scratch on him. And this all happens before he gets superpowers!
    • Also Professor Poopypants, who gets hit by TWO cars and an ice cream truck with no ill effects.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Mr. Krupp's efforts to put George and Harold in separate classes in order to destroy their friendship end up becoming this due to the fact that they're next-door-neighbors and therefore could hang out after school.
  • Medium Awareness: George and Harold are fully aware that they are characters in a film and will even stop time Saved by the Bell style just to provide some exposition.
  • Medium Blending: As confirmed by the filmmakers before release, Flip-O-Rama is incorporated into the film alongside the usage of stop-motion, traditional animation and sock puppetry.
  • Meta Twist: The primary conflict of the film is Mr. Krupp planning to put the boys in separate classes. So, obviously, the resolution is going to be them reversing it and the two friends sticking together. Not only did the plot line from the books that this conflict seems to be based uponnote end the same way, but that's just what happens in kids' movies. Except that's not what happens here. Even though they try hard to prevent it, in the end, George and Harold actually are put into separate classes. And they're alright with that. They realize that their friendship can persist being separated, and even admit that they may have overreacted to the news a bit.
  • Minimalist Cast: Downplayed. There are a large number of nameless students, but the main cast is reserved to only a handful of speaking roles, mostly owning to the film's modest-by-animated-feature-standards budget.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • On Saturday, George and Harold burst into song about loving the weekend, with neighborhood animals joining their dance. But when they're reminded they have to attend the all-day school Invention Convention, immediately the animals begin eating each other and rain and lightning strikes, followed by the scene transitioning to the students morosely filing into the school.
    • The Carnival scene. It starts out cheerful with the colorful carnival Establishing Shot complete with silly circus music, which quickly turns into an intense mad scramble by George and Harold to keep Captain Underpants from getting wet or getting himself seriously hurt, which then transitions again to sad as it starts raining, which turns Captain Underpants back into Krupp and keeps him that way, so there's no escaping from being separated.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Instead of blackmailing the boys, Mr. Krupp opts to go with the much more mundane solution of simply putting them in different classes, believing it will destroy their friendship. He, George, and Harold treat this decision like it's an outright diabolical scheme.
    • Believe it or not, rolls of toilet paper. Just watch what the other students do with it during the scenes with the Turbo Toilet 2000 going haywire and instigating an impromptu dance party. It's used as a mummy costume, a slide, to even a trampoline and circus ribbon trapeze to name a few. Implausible or not as some of them are, it's still pretty amazing how many ways the kids come up with to have fun using only TP at their disposal.
    • The 3-D Hypno-Ring is basically just a useless trinket from the bottom of a cereal box, but from the way George describes it, you'd think that it took a legendary blacksmith and forbidden plastic smithing techniques to make it.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • George and Harold visibly regret having the Captain around when it becomes clear that he's completely out of their control and his antics only end up making things worse for them.
    • Quite downplayed, but it's implied that Krupp feels this way after separating the boys, or at the very least feels that he may have gone too far.
  • My Little Panzer: The 3-D Hypno Ring is a completely-functional hypnosis device which you can get from a cereal box.
  • Mythology Gag: See here. Yes, there's that many.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Professor Poopypants successfully wipes out George and Harold's humor and succeeds in ridding the school of laughter just before unintentionally mentioning a joke about Uranus, which brings them back to normal.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • George and Harold's comic book making fun of Professor Poopypants causes him to realize Melvin is the most humorless kid in the school, convincing him to hire Melvin to be the brain template for his plan for a humorless world.
    • Captain Underpants is accidentally responsible for Professor Poopypants getting away at the end.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Professor Poopypants does this twice. The first time was when he had the Turbo Toilet 2000 "eat" Captain Underpants. In doing so, he exposed Captain Underpants to the pretty much radioactive leftovers from the school cafeteria, and it results in him getting real superpowers. The second time is when he's seemingly won after erasing George and Harold's sense of humor. He mentions the planet Uranus, which triggers the memory of how George and Harold first met, and gets them laughing again.
  • No Longer with Us: Mr. Krupp announces to the school that Mr. Fyde, the science teacher, as being "no longer with us", causing a schoolgirl to think he's dead and Krupp irritably rephrases his sentence.
    Krupp: No, not like that! He wanted to spend the weekend with his family! Ha ha! So I fired him! I'll find a replacement next week.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Unlike every other character who has Black Bead Eyes, Edith the Lunch Lady's eyes are blue. This is actually relevant when Captain Underpants (under the guise of Mr. Krupp) compliments her blue eyes.
  • No Ontological Inertia.
    • Subverted. George thought destroying the Hypno Ring would wipe out Mr. Krupp's hypnosis, but the ending reveals that it had no effect.
    • Played straight with destroying Poopypants's Anti-Humor Beam, which frees all its victims from their brainwashing.
  • No Sense of Humor: Melvin. He literally lacks the part of the brain responsible for a sense of humor in this universe.
  • Not His Sled: George and Harold destroy the Hypno-Ring, seemingly removing both Captain Underpants and his superpowers. Fake-outs are common in movies, but a very similar scenario happened in the books, and Krupp actually did lose his super hero identity for good there, so one may assume that this is legitimate. But in the end, Mr. Krupp snaps his fingers and becomes Captain Underpants again, with his superpowers fully intact.

  • Obviously Evil: Professor Poopypants to a T; his job application alone sets off all kinds of giant red flags, with his insistence at being called a "mad genius inventor" and listing his current status as "Revenge Seeker — Revenge at All Costs! Die! Die!" Not even a callous jerk like Mr. Krupp would hire him, but Underpants as Krupp gets "a really good vibe".
  • Off the Rails: In-Universe, when Harold goes into his fears about what would happen should Krupp succeed at putting them in different classes, he soon derails into describing a Robot War. Justified, as George points it that that doesn't make sense, and Harold responds that there's a reason George is the one responsible for writing their comics.
  • Oh, Crap!: There are several in this film.
    • George and Harold alone get at least six:
      • The first is after they successfully prank the Invention Convention, only to get called to Krupp's office and learn that Krupp and Melvin conspired together to catch them in the act on camera.
      • The second is when Krupp tells them he's putting them in separate classes, which kicks off the movie's main conflict.
      • The third is when Krupp catches them searching his office for the Tattle Turtle, only to reveal he had it on his person the entire time.
      • The fourth is when it starts raining after the Carnival spirals out of control, meaning that they can’t switch Krupp back into Captain Underpants, and are ultimately separated.
      • The last two is a double whammy at the very end, when not only do the Talking Toilets attack, but they discover that destroying the Hypno-Ring didn't get rid of Captain Underpants after all.
    • This is Professor Poopypants' reaction upon discovering that both George and Harold's Hahaguffawchuckleleamaluses are ten times the size of a normal one.
  • One-Steve Limit: Possibly averted; Edith is the first name of the Lunch Lady in the movie, as well as Miss Anthrope in the books, but it is not mentioned whether the latter has the same name in the movie.
  • Pants-Free: From the waist up, Captain Underpants is shown singing at the end of George and Harold's Poopypants song. The shot then expands to showcase Captain Underpants has taken off his pants again.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This film's plot is basically a combination of the first four books. Doing something like this was basically necessary, because none of the individual books are really long enough to be directly adapted into a 90-minute long film.
  • Prank Date: A rare positive variation. In the end, George and Harold send letters to Mr. Krupp and Edith the lunch lady, each apparently from the other to coax them to go on a date. However, as George and Harold both knew, both Edith and Mr. Krupp actually already liked each other, and in their own words, this is a "prank for good."
  • Profile View Gag: According to Professor Poopypants, the human brain contains a lobe called the "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatus", which controls laughter. He builds a ray to destroy this lobe in whoever it zaps so that people will stop laughing at him. When he shoots it at George and Harold, it doesn't work like it did with the other kids. Poopypants is dumbfounded, so he flips around his diagram of George and Harold's brains to find that their Haha-Guffaw-Chucklomatuses take up most of their brains, with the other parts flat on one side.
  • Race Lift: Both Ms. Anthrope and Mr. Fyde are dark-skinned in this film, compared to in the books where (while they're always monochrome) neither of them have the shade of gray that the other dark-skinned characters (such as George) typically do.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Just like the books; special mention goes to the Split-Personality Switch Trigger scene in the treehouse.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: The cafeteria leftovers equate to toxic waste, which is enough to power a Humongous Mecha. It's also what gives Captain Underpants his superpowers when he gets dunked in it.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: George is the bold, leader-ly Red to Harold's calmer, more sensitive Blue.
    • Even though they're technically the same person, Mr. Krupp and Captain Underpants certainly count, with Captain being the passionate, energetic, childlike, and optimistic Red to Mr. Krupp's pessimistic, controlling, and authoritative Blue.
  • Relax-o-Vision: The battle between Poopypants and Captain Underpants is self-described by George as being shocking and enough to make the movie go overbudget, so he and Harold present the first part of it in Flip-O-Rama instead. It goes back to the regular CGI when Harold runs out of paper for the section.
  • Right Behind Me: George and Harold come into Mr. Krupp's office and, while believing that he's Captain Underpants, start insulting Krupp, unaware that Mr. Krupp has since switched back and that they're actually saying this to his face.
  • Robot War: According to Harold's Imagine Spot, this will be the inevitable result of George and Harold being put in separate classes.
    Harold: Separate classes leads to separate lives, which inevitably leads to ROBOTS!
    George: Wait, what? Why are robots at the mall?
    Harold: Cuz this is the future! The future always has robots!
    George: (sees the robots killing each other) Why are the robots shooting other robots?! Aren't they supposed to be friends?!
    Harold: I don't know! I'm the artist, you're the writer! That's why we need each other!!
    (Cue a gigantic version of the Tattle-Turtle bursting through the wall and shooting Eye Beams at everything in sight.)
  • Rubber-Hose Limbs: Every character has them, as that is how the illustrations were drawn in the books. A rare case of this trope with 3-D CG.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ms. Anthrope being put on hold on the phone.
    • George and Harold's exchanges on how they should/shouldn't do something, then proceeding to do the opposite.
    • Harold including dolphins in his comic books, despite them not making any sense in the scene.
    • George and Harold's classmate, Tommy, closing himself inside his locker.

  • Same Clothes, Different Year: In a flashback, George, Harold, and Melvin are shown wearing the same clothes as kindergartners.
  • Scenery Censor: Subverted and Played for Laughs after Captain Underpants gets his superpowers. He flings a pair of underwear, then his cape is conveniently covering his lower half. Readers of the book series will likely think this is the same case as the first book where he flings the pants he was wearing and substitutes it for a Bankruptcy Barrel. Then he pulls out several pairs of pants and then it's revealed that not only he still has his original pair, part of his "backstory" involved the ability to use unlimited underwear.
  • Secondary Character Title: More so than in the books. While the name of the movie is Captain Underpants, George and Harold are clearly the main characters.
  • Sequel Hook: A minor one, after Professor Poopypants is shrunk, he successfully escapes riding on a bee. Meaning if a sequel is ever made, he'll most likely return. Also, the Talking Toilets make an appearance at the end. The film of course ends with Harold saying the iconic, "Here We Go Again!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The poster, which currently acts as the page image, references the last shot of Batman (1989).
    • The soundtrack cover is an obvious homage/spoof of Spider-Man's classic "hanging upside down from a strand of webbing" pose.
    • Two of the reviews that pops up after the "1812 Ofarture" are "Rotten Potatoes: Certifried Fresh" and “Winner winner chicken dinner
    • George and Harold's school is "Jerome Horowitz Elementary". Jerome Horowitz is the real name of Curly Howard of The Three Stooges.
    • George and Harold rearrange the letters on the school sign to spell "Please don't fart in a diaper", based on a running gag from the book series.
  • Shown Their Work: During the Flip-O-Rama scene, a page gets ripped, which most readers have experienced while doing the Flip-O-Ramas in real life.
  • Shrinking Violet: Edith the lunch lady.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: During the climax, George and Harold try to talk Poopypants down, claiming he would solve all his problems by learning to laugh at himself. Poopypants brushes them off with: "Oh really, Oprah?! Is that my problem?"
  • Sickly Green Glow: The school cafeteria leftovers that Edith throws away. And they're powerful enough to give Captain Underpants superpowers, power the Turbo Toilet 2000 mecha, and bring an entire junkyard's worth of discarded toilets to life, make them grow fangs, turn evil and rampage through the streets shouting, "YUM, YUM, EAT 'EM UP!"
  • Significant Double Casting: Ed Helms is pulling double duty as Mr. Krupp and Captain Underpants.
  • Skewed Priorities: Melvin is perfectly willing to aid a diabolical tyrant for extra credit. As the Anti-Humor machine begins to explode, with Melvin still sitting on it, he tries frantically to decide whether to choose extra credit or survival, at the last second picking survival and fleeing.
  • Slasher Smile: Mr. Krupp sports one several times after he finally catches George and Harold in the act of pulling the prank at the Invention Convention. The two of them are pretty unnerved by it, watching it spread piece by piece across his face.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Falls on the "Near Identical Adaptation" end of it. The story condenses elements from the first four books, changes a couple plot points and reveals certain details earlier, but it's very faithful to the source material in both story and spirit. The film's art style matches the books cartoon drawings to a tee, and even Flip-O-Rama is incorporated into the film.
  • Sliding Scale Of Silliness Vs Seriousness: Most certainly on the silly side of the spectrum.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Edith, the lunch lady and Mr. Krupp's love interest, is the only female character in the movie listed as part of the main cast and appears in more than two scenes.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Beneath Krupp's grumpy and cruel exterior lays a lonely loner on a lonely road, alone. To drive this point further, his front yard is very trashed up while his house is very quite and dark, having one of every thing (and even both of the towels are his).
  • Students Playing Matchmaker: George and Harold snoop through Principal Krupp's house, realize how bitter and lonely he is from the state the house is in, and decide to set him up on a date with Edith the lunch lady, hoping that love will make him less bitter.
  • Sucky School: Jerome Horwitz Elementary, as per the books.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • In general, the fact that the main character is practically running around naked gets more attention than it does in the books. People either cringe at his actions or look at him like he’s crazy.
    • What happens when Poopypants grows the Turbo Toilet to an enormous Humongous Mecha size? It immediately runs out of gas.
    Poopypants: Poopypants runs out of gas? You can’t write this stuff!
    • When George and Harold try to catch Captain Underpants via his cape with a crane, it rips.
    • Captain Underpants vs the Turbo Toilet 2000 results in a thorough Curb-Stomp Battle on the former, since ultimately the Captain is just a normal middle-aged overweight human without superpowers at the time fighting a Humongous Mecha piloted by an evil mastermind.
    • During the Flip-O-Rama scene, Harold accidentally tears the middle of a page from flipping it too hard, which is Truth in Television for many, many readers who wound up doing the same in the books.
    • Mr. Krupp's frequent "blackouts" when the Captain Underpants persona takes over, leaving him in a different place and in his underwear, cause him to become greatly unnerved, and ultimately fearing for his mental health. When George and Harold seemingly erase Captain Underpants, Krupp suffers a major freak out over once again finding himself in a strange place wearing nothing but his underwear.
  • Take Over the World: Poopypants' goal, after perfecting his Anti-Humor machine. He figures that after he finishes taking over Earth, then he'll probably move on to conquering other planets as well.
  • Take That!: Lots of potshots are made to the frequent cost-cutting and lackluster concern towards children's education.
    • An early joke has Mr. Krupp state he got the money to pay for his fancy security door by cutting the music and arts program. He's sure he made the right decision.
    • What we see of Ms. Ribble's class consists entirely of her telling the students to memorize random dates, listing just the years one by one without any context as to why they're important.
    • Among the plans that Poopypants had for becoming a Nobel Prize winner was "supporting charitable causes that I'll say I care about but not really."
    • After Poopypants is turned into a giant and picks up the shrunken school, he gloats over the "tiny students and tiny teachers whose tiny paychecks reflect their size and the value society puts on education." The last part is said while he's looking directly at the camera.
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: Melvin and Professor Poopypants were both major villains, but they never had any connection in the books. Here, they work together.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Of the muscular variety. This happens to Captain Underpants when he initially gains his superpowers. While he still retains his superpowers, his "new look" lasts less than 30 seconds.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After learning Mr. Krupp is a lonely man, George and Harold decide to do a nice thing and hook him up with Edith the cafeteria lady.
  • Title 1: The film is subtitled "The First Epic Movie", much like how the first Captain Underpants book was subtitled "The First Epic Novel".
  • Toilet Humor: Par the course for a series focusing on a guy flying around in his underwear, though there is also a fair amount of lampshading how it is "the lowest form of comedy".
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Mr. Fyde is the only teacher glimpsed to not be a stern bully, and he too balks at Mr. Krupp making the school attend the Invention Convention on a Saturday (for what's apparently the third time in a row.) However, he gets fired shortly thereafter for taking the day off to spend time with his family.
    • Edith the lunch lady also doesn't act like a bully to the kids.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Mr. Krupp does this at the end, complimenting the boys on their comic books.
    • George and Harold also do this at the end of the film, emphasizing the film's theme of empathy. Realizing that Professor Poopypants is evil because people made fun of him and never tried to see things from his point of view, the kids decide to behave similarly with Krupp, realizing he's mean because he doesn't have any friends. They vow to be a little nicer to him in the future so he doesn't end up as bad as Poopypants.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: There's a quick shot at the end of the first trailer of Captain Underpants flying, which means he will get his superpowers at some point. It also shows off the giant Turbo-Toilet 2000-esque robot Poopypants uses.
  • True Companions: This adaptation puts much more emphasis on George and Harold's friendship and how important it is to them. A driving plot point is their fear of Mr. Krupp placing them in separate classes and, because of it, gradually growing apart from each other. Throughout the film, they stick as close to each other as possible, relying on each other for support and doing everything together. They end the movie with an affirmation to remain best friends, no matter what happens.

  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: Captain Underpants gets into an elevator and makes a "flying" pose as it goes up, all while the two other occupants back as far away from him as possible and anxiously press the button for their floor over and over.
  • Unexpectedly Real Magic: To avoid being punished by Principal Krupp, George and Harold wave a toy ring around claiming that's it's a mind control ring in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to intimidate Krupp. What they don't know is that the "toy" is not a toy at all, but an actual mind control ring, and they actually succeed at controlling Krupp's mind, creating the Captain Underpants persona and thus setting the plot of the movie in motion.
  • Unfortunate Names: The main antagonist is named Pee Pee Diarrheastein Poopypants. He is not happy about having this name, and it drives him to villainy.
  • Unishment: What Mr. Krupp's plan to separate George and Harold into different classes and destroy their friendship amounts to, which neither party realises. This only cuts them off during school, which is made redundant since both are neighbours and hang out with each other after school anyway.
  • Uranus Is Showing: In a flashback, we see that snickering together at the word "Uranus" is the basis of George and Harold's entire friendship. It's also what helps them resist Professor Poopypants' anti-humor ray at the end.
  • Victory Is Boring: After succeeding in getting George and Harold put in separate classes, Mr. Krupp smiles in triumph for a moment, even indulging in Slouch of Villainy... then the smile slides off his face. With the goal he's been reaching for finally achieved, he finds he has nothing else to strive for.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Poopypants gets away at the end, in part thanks to Captain Underpants' bungling.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • George and Harold don't really sound like 9-10-year-olds and more like teenagers or young adults. Made especially evident when compared to their voices on Dav Pilkey's personal website, where they did have child-like voices.
    • Melvin Sneedly also sounds far older than he should.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Mentioned in the theme song. "Suspend your disbelief. He'll save the world in his briefs."invoked
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: George says this nearly verbatim when the Talking Toilets show up at the end.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Captain Underpants


"Flirt Alert!"

Captain Underpants flirts with the lunch lady, Edith, who just so happens to have a massive crush on his actual identity, Mr. Krupp.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCharmer

Media sources: