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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The story intends to entertain rather than to educate.
Most of this special is eye candy and full of silliness, but the story does wrap up with a powerful message about inclusion and showing compassion to those who are different from yourself. Bathroom-related humor is minimal, mostly involving Captain Underpants and his own underpants. Harold and George use creative problem-solving skills to overcome the loss of their favorite holiday.
Positive Role Models
A mixed bag. The show mostly casts adults who are naïve and easily swayed by heavily opinionated kids, and the general premise of Captain Underpants (whom the kids control while he's in character) supports that. That said, Harold and George power through adversity with unwavering positivity, and they demonstrate surprisingly mature self-reflection and willingness to change for the better when their own mistakes are revealed to them.
Violence & Scariness
Some mild Halloween-themed scares, including haunted house characters (skeletons, bats, menacing jack-o-lanterns, etc.). In two scenes, an evil clown leers at the screen and his head spins all the way around. Oversized characters in costumes of hybrid monsters, and a haunted building comes to life. At one point, Captain Underpants is unable to breathe, and his face turns purple.
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Products & Purchases
This holiday special is part of a franchise of books and a feature film.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween is a holiday special starring the characters from the popular Captain Underpants books, TV series, and movie. There's decidedly less potty humor here than in other Captain Underpants tales, which will likely be a welcome change for parents. And there's a very positive, prominent message about kindness and inclusion at the story's conclusion. With Halloween (or Hack-a-ween, rather) the theme, mild scares involving skeletons, bats, various monsters, and a creepy evil clown are the norm. In one scene, Captain Underpants suffers respiratory distress for a long time. The kids have little respect for adults, who rarely attempt to exert any control over them anyway. This chaotic story is an OK pick for kids, but adults may tire of its relentless pace. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With a premise like that of the Captain Underpants saga, it's not surprising the utterly absurd detours this story takes on its way to the characters' happy holiday. The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween is a lot like kids' frenzied energy levels on Halloween night, scurrying in all different directions at one time and causing a major sensory overload with the visual and auditory chaos. Of course, that's one of the things young fans love about the goofy characters and stories in the first place, even if parents don't quite get the same thrills from it.
On the upside, The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween works in a meaningful message about inclusion and kindness that's an unexpected treat at the story's end. As George and Harold discover the root cause of Melvin's grudge against Halloween, they use the knowledge to make a positive change, not because it will set right the holiday woes but because it's the right thing to do. This at least is a welcome factor in an otherwise silly and over-the-top story.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate