Another great kids' movie
"Mr. Peabody and Sherman" doesn't break any new ground or introduce us to something spectacularly new and original but I must admit, it's a lot of good old-fashioned silly fun.
DreamWorks Animation's latest release is of course a modern feature adaptation of "Peabody's Improbable History," a classic cartoon segment featured on the iconic "Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." Mr. Peabody is a super-genius dog who adopts a boy named Sherman. Together they travel back in time in Peabody's WABAC (pronounced way-back) time machine to get a first-hand look at some of history's greatest figures and events. After an incident at school with a young girl named Penny Peterson, the government threatens to take Sherman away from Mr. Peabody. It'll take a trip through time for Peabody and Sherman to set things right.
I applaud the studio for retaining the fun, charming, and lighthearted take on multiple historical events that the original cartoon was famous for. "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" is a fine modern take on the classic duo. There's enough slapstick and absurd comedy to get a chuckle out of anyone in the theater, in addition to multiple witty and well-timed puns that will only be caught by the adults in the theater. I was also impressed by the sheer amount of locations visited by Peabody and Sherman in the film. Significant time is dedicated to the French Revolution, Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy and Ancient Egypt with cameos of other figures from various time periods. The frequent change of setting never feels rushed in the film and, in fact, helps the pacing so that the film never feels as though its overstaying its welcome.
Some of the voice work in the film is both truly memorable and a lot of fun. Ty Burrell's comedic style fits perfectly to the character of Mr. Peabody and minor supporting characters, particularly Stanley Tucci as Leonardo Da Vinci and Patrick Warburton as Agamemnon of Greece will easily provide a lot of laughs.
The film is not without its flaws. As the film races towards its conclusion, the plot becomes a bit too convoluted to follow and the unnecessary-albeit brief-instances of low-brow humor needlessly undermine the otherwise charming experience. Also a frequent running gag in which Mr. Peabody makes a witty history pun only for Sherman to reply "I don't get it" gets old incredibly fast.
On the whole though, "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" is an excellent release from the studio, by far their best since "Puss in Boots." For one who watched the original cartoon in reruns as a kid, it's a true delight to see them brought back in a way which does the original show justice. It's not a spectacle nor does it attempt to engage with the audience on an emotional scale to the extent one might see in a PIXAR release. But it doesn't have to. It's silly, fun, and while of course every historical event is presented as a parody, I wouldn't be shocked if the film inspires youngsters to take more of an interest in history. Ted Key would be proud.
On that note, any chance of bringing back Moose and Squirrel next Mr. Katzenberg? Pretty please?
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