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Five Views: Mr. Peabody & Sherman

March 7, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman PosterMr. Peabody & Sherman – A 20th Century Fox Release

Release Date: March 7th, 2014

Rated G for cartoon action

Running time: 92 minutes

Rob Minkoff (dir.)

Craig Wright (screenplay)

Based on the series by Jay Ward

Danny Elfman (music)

Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody (voice)

Max Charles as Sherman (voice)

Ariel Winter as Penny Peterson (voice)

Stephen Colbert as Paul Peterson (voice)

Leslie Mann as Patty Peterson (voice)

Stephen Tobolowsky as Principal Purdy (voice)

Allison Janney as Ms. Grunion (voice)

Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci (voice)

Lake Bell as Mona Lisa (voice)

Patrick Warburton as Agamemnon (voice)

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

©DreamWorks Animation.  All Rights Reserved.

Sherman (Max Charles) and Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) in Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

Our reviews below:


Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review By John Corrado

***1/2 (out of 4)

Although Mr. Peabody & Sherman will be fun for kids, this big screen adaptation of the classic Jay Ward cartoon might be even funnier for adults, filled with historical humour and cool plays on time travel.  For my money, when it comes to surprisingly smart and funny animated entertainment, this is also dog years ahead of The Lego Movie.

Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is the world’s smartest dog, a brilliant inventor and prominent public figure who is also the adoptive father of Sherman (Max Charles), an endearingly nerdy human kid who learns about history through adventures in their WABAC machine.  But none of this prepares Sherman for going to public school, where he is bullied for his superior intellect.  When jealous classmate Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter) ends up at their suave apartment, he tries to impress her and takes the time machine out for a joyride.  Enlisting the help of Mr. Peabody, they find themselves having to fix a hole in the space-time continuum, with a little help from Leonardo Da Vinci (Stanley Tucci) and Agamemnon (Patrick Warburton) in Troy.

Directed by Rob Minkoff, who was also behind Disney’s 1994 masterpiece The Lion King, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is an absolute delight from beginning to end.  The writing is sharp and witty, and there are so many visual gags throughout every era of this time travel comedy, that the film is sure to hold up nicely to repeated viewings.  The movie is filled with clever puns and fun plays on history, and the screenplay is actually intelligent about the theories of travelling through time.  The animation is bright and vibrant, but there is also a genuine sweetness beneath the fast paced action.  The bespectacled dog and his boy are both adorable, and there is a real heart behind their “adoptive relationship” as father and son.

The subversive laughs and themes of adoption hold up quite nicely, retaining the spirit of the original cartoon that ran as part of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show from 1959 to 1964.  With adorable characters and high concept historical humour, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a delightful adventure through time that will be fun for all ages, but particularly hilarious for the older kids and adults in the audience.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Based on the cartoon from the ’60s, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a delightful and funny film that is sure to be a hit with audiences.  The film opens with a brief introduction to the characters, and how Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) became the first dog to be allowed to adopt a boy.  Mr. Peabody is a genius, and he raises his adoptive son Sherman (Max Charles) to appreciate the pursuit and use of knowledge as well.  He also takes Sherman on history ‘lessons’ on the WABAC – a time machine Mr. Peabody invented himself.

But when Sherman goes to school for the first time, his superior knowledge in the classroom makes enemies with Penny (Ariel Winter) and when a fight between them calls attention to whether a dog can really raise a boy right, Mr. Peabody invites Penny and her parents over to try to settle and the children’s differences.  Unfortunately, Sherman tries to impress Penny by showing her the WABAC, and they end up messing up the Space-Time continuum.  This leads them to get help from Mr. Peabody to try to repair the damage and the three of them end up on a crazy adventure through history that may just teach them a little something about themselves as well.

What surprised me most about the film is how much of the humorous lines are really written for the older members of the audience.  With all the one-liners referencing ancient history, for adults the film will possibly be funnier than for kids, although the younger members of the audience will be entertained by the fast-paced slapstick quality of the film.  Because of this, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is one of those movies that everyone can truly enjoy.

The animation is very well done, and the voice cast perfect.  Mr. Peabody & Sherman also boasts a time-travel storyline that is well thought through and pleasing for the adults in the audience as well as the kids.  On top of all this, the film also has a real heart and ends up being the perfect blend of both fun and sweet.  Go see Mr. Peabody & Sherman – it is one of the most entertaining movies of the year so far.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of 4)

Based on Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a heartwarming and hilarious story about an unusual family.  Ever since Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell), a genius dog who talks and walks like a human, legally adopted human boy Sherman (Max Charles) in a precedent-setting case, the two have been inseparable.

Mr. Peabody is a great dad, and he is proud to see Sherman go off to school.  But an altercation between Sherman and a classmate, Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter), causes not only Penny’s parents to become suspicious of a dog’s parenting skills, but also the attention of child services worker Ms. Grunion (Allison Janney), who wishes to remove Sherman from Mr. Peabody’s care.

Mr. Peabody sets up his home for the uninvited guests, but Penny and Sherman get lost in time after travelling in his WABAC time machine.  Here the trio embark on a hilarious journey through ancient Egypt, Troy and the Renaissance, encountering some very prominent historical figures.  They also break the space-time continuum, which must be fixed or chaos will resume.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is sweet, witty and extremely intelligent in its humour.  The dialogue is sharp, with high concept jokes that only adults and teens will get, and there are a few jokes for kids as well.  The voice acting is quite good, as is the animation, which balances the CGI and zany cartoon elements of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons well.  The encounters with historical figures are really funny and clever, reminiscent of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the Night at the Museum films.  But best of all, Mr. Peabody & Sherman celebrates the love within families, no matter what their shape or size.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review By Maureen

***1/2 (out of 4)

As a fan of the old Mr. Peabody and Sherman from the sixties, it’s nice to see how this charming and funny animated feature, Mr. Peabody & Sherman gets it right.  Genius dog Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) has settled in nicely in his role as adoptive dad to young Sherman (voiced by Max Charles), a human boy.  Both father and son have some adjusting to do as Sherman embarks on his first day of school with other human children.  No more impromptu trips to the past in the middle of the day on Mr. Peabody’s time machine, the WABAC.

The other thing they have to get used to is how mean other children can be.  Sherman finds himself in trouble when his young classmate Penny (Ariel Winter) teases and taunts him, making him mad enough to bite.  Is he really a dog just like she said he was?  Mr. Peabody, being a good parent, tries to smooth things over by inviting Penny and her parents (Leslie Mann and Stephen Colbert) over for dinner.  At the same time, he can reassure the scary child care worker, Ms. Grunion (Alison Janney), that a dog can indeed be a good father to a boy.  But while Mr. Peabody is dazzling her parents with his culinary talents, Sherman decides to impress Penny by showing her the WABAC.  And so the adventure begins.

Penny and Sherman end up in the middle of ancient Egypt, then in the middle of the Trojan war and finally in the Renaissance with Leonardo Da Vinci (Stanley Tucci).  It’s up to Mr. Peabody to save them and the time-space continuum.  Mr. Peabody & Sherman has enough cartoon action to satisfy younger viewers and plenty of intelligent wit to keep adults entertained.  Many of the puns and historical references will go over kids’ heads and that’s okay.  There’s enough for everyone to enjoy, including at its core a story about the bond between a father and son.

The animation is excellent, with Mr. Peabody being especially appealing.  Add in some excellent voice work from a strong cast and a cleverly written script, and you have a solidly entertaining animated movie the whole family can enjoy.  I have a deep regard for you, Mr. Peabody & Sherman.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the genius beagle Peabody (Ty Burrell) and his adopted son Sherman (Max Charles), both sporting large round spectacles. As a child, Sherman was homeschooled, visiting historic figures in Peabody’s WABAC time machine. Now in middle school, Sherman is mocked and bullied by mean girl Penny (Ariel Winter). Trying to fight back results in a threat from social worker Ms. Grunion (Allison Janney) to remove Sherman from Peabody’s custody.

Peabody attempts to placate Penny’s parents (Stephen Colbert & Leslie Mann) by inviting them to his penthouse. Despite his warnings, Sherman tries to impress Penny by taking her out in the WABAC, with nearly disastrous consequences. Peabody has to use all of his talents to rescue them from the hazards of ancient Egypt, the Trojan War and French Revolution, with a little help from Leonardo da Vinci (Stanley Tucci) in gratitude for cheering up his subject Mona Lisa (Lake Bell). All this messing with time travel opens a vortex that nearly destroys everything.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on segments of the Rocky & Bullwinkle series of the early 1960s. Unlike his earlier counterpart walking on all fours in limited TV animation, the new bipawdal Peabody appears in clear 3D CGI. All the wit and charm of its original co-creator Jay Ward and voice actor Bill Scott that appealed so much to the intelligence of college and older fans as well as kids, has been preserved with gentle updating by the sharp script from veteran playwright Craig Wright with plenty of additional gags from Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. The fine director Rob Minkoff pulls all the fast-paced action together with the help of the excellent cast that also features Patrick Warburton and many cameos, including Stephen Tobolowsky, Dennis Haysbert, and Mel Brooks. Finally, you can’t go wrong with a score from Danny Elfman.


Consensus: A fast and brightly animated time travel adventure, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has surprisingly smart historical humour for older audiences, with delightful characters and a genuinely sweet story that will appeal to all ages.  ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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