As a guy who’s never watched The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show nor had much previous knowledge about who Mr. Peabody and Sherman were, I wasn’t too interested in this film when I first heard about it. But, when character art started appearing online as well as the trailer, I became intrigued by the film and was anxious to see it. It actually was on my top 5 films I was most looking forward to in 2014! So, did I end up liking this film as much as I had hoped? Short answer: Yes.
For those who don’t know, this movie is based on the characters of Mr. Peabody and Sherman from the animated 1960s show, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Mr. Peabody was this genius dog who basically did everything a genius would do and even “adopted” a human boy named Sherman. Each episode would have the two of them use a time machine that Mr. Peabody invented (called the WABAC) to go back in time to different eras to learn about history.
This film (directed by Rob Minkoff of Stuart Little, The Haunted Mansion, and The Forbidden Kingdom fame)
pretty much keeps all the main points of the show: Mr. Peabody is a genius dog (voiced by Ty Burrell) and Sherman is his young adopted boy (voiced by Max Charles). Together, they use the WABAC to go to various places in time.
But, the movie continues from this point and introduces a new facet to Sherman’s life: school!
Yep, Sherman is now old enough to attend school and when he does, he gets picked on by a girl named Penny (voiced by Ariel Winter), who’s upset at Sherman for knowing so much about history. This gets so out of hand that Penny starts physically bullying Sherman resulting in Sherman biting Penny.
Because of this incident, Mr. Peabody is being threatened to have Sherman taken out of his care by a Children’s Services agent named Mrs. Grunion (voiced by Allison Janney). The reason being that Sherman biting Penny supposedly reflects the immoral canine upbringing of his dog “father”.
And to top that off, Mr. Peabody also has to settle matters with Penny’s parents in order that they don’t take any action against him. So, Mr. Peabody invites Penny’s parents (voiced by Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann) over to his house for dinner and encourages Sherman to patch things up with Penny.
Long story short, Sherman isn’t supposed to tell Penny about his source of historical knowledge (the WABAC), but he does anyway resulting in Penny getting lost in time and Mr. Peabody and Sherman having to go back in time to various eras including Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War to set matters aright.
As you can see, this movie has one word to describe it: fun! It’s just a fun film as most time travel movies are!
The animation is nothing intricate, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s rich and fulfilling for the type of film that it is. The plot and time travel mumbo-jumbo are explained quite well for a kid’s film. The humor is quite good for a Dreamworks Animation film in my opinion. Yes, it does have the occasional low-brow humor,
but it also has jokes for adults that are actually quite good.
So, is this to say that this movie is simply perfection? No, not at all. It has its problems. For example, even though the plot is pretty well explained, it doesn’t save the movie from a bunch of plotholes. Then again, which time travel movie DOESN’T have plotholes?
None of the voice acting is anything spectacular, in my opinion, but none is anything bad either; it’s just good. All in all, I can see myself watching this film a few more times although it’s nowhere near my favorite animated films of all time list!