When I first saw the preview for Mr. Peabody and Sherman, my reaction was, “Well… Bastille’s the theme music, that’s something right?” I was not interested in watching this film. Over the weekend I looked on Rotten Tomatoes and heard from a few movie reviewers and overall reviews had been positive. I was surprised and intrigued. I got some friends together and we saw it last night.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a computer-animated film based on the characters from the Peabody’s Improbable History segments of the 1960s animated television series, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. I have a fondness for Rocky and Bullwinkle, so I figured I’d give it a shot. After all, The Lego Movie was a big hit. I loved that one, so why not?
Mr. Peabody, voiced by Ty Burrell (Modern Family), is the smartest being on the planet; he’s also a dog. He was a likable character with a Sherlock Holmes-esque ability to escape dangerous situations and a pun for every situation. In order to protect an abandoned child from the same lonely fate he grew up with, Peabody adopts his son, Sherman. Yes, a dog adopted a child. Silly premise, but this is a movie made for children so I’ll allow it. The plot follows this unlikely pair along with Penny, voiced by Ariel Winter (Modern Family), through time in the WABACK or “Way Back Machine.” Penny and Sherman played their parts well enough, but don’t expect much beyond the expected enemies become friends storyline. Some other notable, but not prominent, voice actors are Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), Leslie Mann (This is 40), and Allison Janney (West Wing).
Mr. Peabody and Sherman plays out exactly how you’d expect from the get go.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a little over halfway through the movie, I was starting to get antsy and check my non-existent watch. Not a great sign. I will say, though, I enjoyed the historical nods to historical events from the Bible to The Mona Lisa and The Trojan horse. There were several times jokes fell flat and kids like Sherman were left saying “I don’t get it.” To be fair, there were kids and adults in the theater and many a hearty laugh was heard. Overall though, I was expecting more from the humor and was a little disappointed. Where the film really lost me was the dramatic climax. Maybe I’m too critical, but this part was hard to accept as emotionally moving, given the phrase “I’m a dog too.” Knowing the context doesn’t make it any better.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman was made for kids and kids will like this movie. Parents will fall anywhere between tolerating and thoroughly enjoying this movie depending on their tastes. Several of my friends enjoyed this movie more than I did. In the end I found Mr. Peabody and Sherman to be an enjoyable, predictable punny ride through history – good for families and fans of silly animated films.
What do you think? Were you a fan of Mr. Peabody and Sherman? Does it make it better going with your children? Let me know!