Review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman
PLOT: A time-traveling adventure about Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the smartest dog in the world and the young boy he has adopted. The father and son duo must correct a time rift they accidental create when Sherman makes the mistake of revealing his time-machine to a trouble making classmate.
Years ago I remember entertaining myself with reruns of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. One of my favorite moments within the series was Peabodys Improbably History. These clever shorts are clearly outdated and crude by todays standards yet they still bring a smile to my face. The idea of revamping a dog and his boy with modern animation and clever use of history and quirk seemed to be a charming one. Judging by the audience reaction to a recent screening, I may be in the minority, but sadly this dog didnt have much of a bite.
In the new film based on the shorts, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN follows the time-traveling adventures of a hyper-intelligent pooch by the name of Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) and a young boy he has adopted. Opening with a daring escape while visiting Marie Antoinette right before the French Revolution, the young Sherman (Max Charles) is about to embark on his most daring escapade ever the first day of school. The young lads latest pursuit proves quite challenging when a pretty classmate named Penny (Ariel Winter) starts a fight with the new kid. Trying to protect himself, Sherman bites Penny on the arm. After the incident, Mr. Peabody attempts to charm the girls parents as well as convince child protective services he is a good father to the boy. Oh yeah, they also travel through time and meet with famous historical figures on the way.
Once Penny joins in on the unwitting century hopping, the script by Craig Wright piles on the puns that Sherman never seems to get. Several moments in history are explored including the painting of the Mona Lisa and the Trojan Wars. At times the humor works and manages to inject a little energy into the convoluted story. However, as the movie jumps from one segment to another, it felt more like a formulaic animated sitcom that wears out its welcome. The idea of a father trying to connect with his son plays second fiddle to the jokes. Im a sucker for an animated flick that'll put a tear in your eye as well as a smile on your face. Unfortunately the bond here lacks any real heart or connection so all you have are a few chuckles.
As far as the vocal talents are concerned, young Max Charles does a nice job along with Modern Family star Ty Burrell as Sherman and Mr. Peabody. The very talented Allison Janney is menacing as the evil Ms. Grunion who is obsessed with taking Sherman away from his canine dad. It was a smart choice to cast talented voice actors for many of the roles instead of creating a star-studded event. Certainly actors like Lake Bell who gives voice to Mona Lisa and Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci are recognizable, yet they dont detract from the film like it might have if they had gone for major movie stars.
Even though the script and story left me feeling bone dry when it came to laughs and emotion, the animation is certainly impressive. Director Rob Minkoff (STUART LITTLE and co-director of THE LION KING) keeps things interesting most of the time. Far from the crude yet charming animation of the original, everything looks terrific. And if you like your 3D with swords and fingers pointed directly into the audience you should get some enjoyment out of this. Visually there is much to marvel at including the new and improved WABAC time machine. Its too bad that the humor here is forced and the story fails to create much more than a forgettable time waster.
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...