Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Dreamworks Animation)
Rated PG for some mild action and brief rude humor.
Starring (voices of) Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Allison Janney, Stephen Tobolowsky, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Zach Callison, Lauri Fraser, Guillaume Aretos, Dennis Haysbert.
Written by Craig Wright, based on the TV series by Jay Ward.
Directed by Rob Minkoff.
I’m not much of a morning person, but back when I was a little kid, the few times I got up early enough, I remember watching the Bullwinkle cartoons. At first I didn’t really understanding the humor, but as I got older and the cartoons went into re-runs, I began to appreciate the satire and absurdity of the moose and his buddies, especially Mr. Peabody, the genius dog who adopted a young man named Sherman. Since the folks in Hollywood are void of any fresh ideas, it was only a matter of time before they exploited one of the last Bullwinkle regulars (having already butchered Bullwinkle & Rocky, Dudley Do-Right) by taking their animated WABAC machine into the time-travelling world of Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History.
Dreamworks’ updated feature-length film follows the basic idea of Mr. Peabody (Utah resident Ty Burrell), who tries to teach history to his adopted son Sherman (Max Charles) via the WABAC (a time machine) that they use to visit important dates and historic figures. When Sherman gets into a fight at school with a bully named Penny (Ariel Winter) after she becomes jealous of his prowess with history in class. Peabody tries to smooth things over with her parents (Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann) at a dinner party before a bureaucrat named Mrs. Grunion (Allison Janney) can take the boy away from the daddy-dog, because she has a problem with inter-species adoptions.
During the party, Sherman introduces Penny to the WABAC in order to prove how he knows so much about history, and all kinds of chaos ensues. Much of the trouble happens when the kids mess with history and cause a rift in the space-time continuum. Peabody must break a few rules in order to fix things.
I have to admit I was skeptical that Mr. Peabody and Sherman would be anything more than a shiny new rip-off of Jay Ward’s original series from the 1960s. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a charming tale that retains the spirit of the original, complete with all the satirical humor and silly puns Mr. Peabody is known for.
That humor will not be lost on those adults familiar with Mr. Peabody and Sherman, nor little kids who will be introduced to the brilliant dog’s special brand of eye-rolling puns for the first time. The time travel stuff is always a little hard to believe and ridiculous, much like an animated version of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but it's a fun way to get kids familiar with a little bit of history.
No matter what time in history you come from, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a whole lot of family "pun."
To read Jenniffer's take on the movie, click here.