Mr. Peabody & Sherman Reviews
As for Mr. Peabody and Sherman I haven't really seen much of these characters at all, I don't recall them in any way, ditto Dudley Do-Right. So I went into this film not really knowing what to expect other than the fact it was a kids flick and it looked colourful. Seeing as these two characters adventures revolved around time travel originally its no surprise that this movie goes down the same route...duh! So naturally we are sent on a head spinning trek across time and space...albeit a pretty convoluted trek.
Yes the whole time travel idea is a tad mundane these days, you can only do so much really and we've seen it many times before. Many of the usual locations turn up such as Egypt, Ancient Greece (probably down to recent popularity with the 300 movies) and a few European countries. Most of the famous historical figures the duo meet are the regular bunch we always tend to see in time travel movies...George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Albert Einstein *yawn*. Despite all the predictable unoriginal cookie cutter themes and the story being quite messy I actually really enjoyed it, in fact the convoluted plot made the film more enjoyable I think, more zany, more interesting and in places a little intense.
I find it funny that the entire adventure happens mainly because Sherman gets bullied by a little girl in his class. Gotta remind myself I'm watching a kids movie all the time, like the whole idea that a dog can adopt a human child! even in a cartoon world that seems kinda odd. Yes Mr. Peabody is a super intelligent dog and ranks above many humans but he's still an animal, just feels strange, on top of that why does he insist on Sherman calling him Mr. Peabody? That relationship throughout the film felt strained to me, I couldn't feel any emotion between them and it reflected on me connecting with them both. Sherman does indeed feel more like a pet to Peabody even thought they both connect on a more loving parental level in the end. Am I looking into this too much?
There are some lovely CGI visuals that are bright bold and highly colourful. Ancient Italy especially looks super lovely where as the Trojan horse sequence not only looks good but is very amusing thanks to the ever hilarious Patrick Warburton and his perfect vocals. Seriously was that guy born for animated voice acting or what! Unsurprisingly all the sequences set back in time look really good and very slick, once we reach the present day things get less eye catching naturally, we all know what the present day looks like huh.
All in all I can't deny it does feel a little formulaic with the nonsensical science tomfoolery and jargon thrown at you from every angle, the kind of flashy pretty looking and hi-tech sounding stuff that looks and sounds good on screen but no one really knows what they're on about. We see this often in kids fantasy flicks. I still don't quite get why the vortex at the end starts spitting out various random famous historical landmarks and monuments and then when its reversed it sucks them all back up conveniently...don't question it, don't question the space-time continuum rip thingy. Anyway the movie is a hoot all the way through with, I think, some good quirky eye candy, fun sight gags and fun verbal.
Very Good Animated Movie! What made this movie special is the little details that are revealed along the way like how Sherman was adopted. The animation is fantastic and the 3D adorns it. As someone who likes puns, I absolutely loved the jokes, not just from Mr. Peabody but from other characters in the movie as well. Agamemnon was hilarious! Not everything is funny though, there are a few serious and tear jerking moments that make this movie special. At the end of the day, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" is a beautiful, funny, and even heartfelt film that families from every background will get a kick out of. It is enjoyable to watch, and I dare even say it's one of Dreamworks' best efforts to date.
Mr. Peabody is a business titan, inventor, scientist, gourmand, two-time Olympic medalist and genius...who also happens to be a dog. Using his most ingenious invention, the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time. But when Sherman breaks the rules of time travel, our two heroes find themselves in a race to repair history and save the future, while Mr. Peabody may face his biggest challenge yet - being a parent.
Nate's Grade: A-
Mr. Peabody is a Harvard graduate, a Rhodes scholar and Nobel Prize-winning pooch who "invented the fist-bump, auto-tune and Zumba," and then adopted Sherman who took the boy under his wing,giving him a head-start on school by taking the kid time-traveling to visit historical places and meet historical people. The Wayback Machine or WABAC allows Sherman and Mr. Peabody to meet everyone from Gandhi to Einstein, Leonardo DiVinci to the Wright Brothers. They even get the chance to travel back in time to meet Vincent Van Gogh on painting suggestions, electrical tips from Ben Franklin and catch a home run baseball from Jackie Robinson. They travel to ancient Egypt, drop in on the Trojan War and make Mona Lisa crack a smile while playing with Jimi Hendrix's fender guitar upside down. Fans of the classic Jay Ward TV show may take longer in adjusting to the new voices and dialogue here which zip along briskly. Ty Burrell (TV's Modern Family)is the voice of Mr. Peabody; newcomer Max Charles("The Neighbors" plays Sherman. But the witty word play and pull out all stops supporting cast makes it pay off well. With the supporting voices of Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann(who are hilariously funny),and Ariel Winter(as Penny,the bully who torments Sherman)along with Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci and an hilariously funny Mel Brooks as Leonardo Di Vinci . Director Rob Minkoff("The Lion King"),who is a huge fan of the show brings the characters to life here and it is a feast for the eyes that kids and adults(who grew up watching the show) would really like. This is one of the more successful movies based on characters from Jay Ward that did phenomenol business at the boxoffice raking in more than $32 million to become the second highest grossing weekend opening animated film behind "The Lego Movie". Where other movies based on Jay Ward TV-cartoons flop at the boxoffice ("Rocky and Bullwinkle", "George of the Jungle", "Dudley Do-Right", "Underdog"),"Mr. Peabody and Sherman" proved that characters based on Saturday Morning cartoon characters are moneymakers indeed,if given the right chance.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is about an advanced canine and his adopted son attempting to fix a time rift they created. One immediate thing is made clear early on is the lack of sufficient material to sustain a ninety minute runtime. Everything in the film from characters, humor, and conflict are rushed. So insecure about its own material that if it were to take a breather it would lose the audience. The main duo of intellectual dog Mr. Peabody and his dumb son Sherman aimed to present a meaningful relationship despite the odd setup. It's intention are well meant, but as the characters stated themselves it's just presented as child causes overblown issue and parent has to fix it. It's not a father son relationship where the conflict actually helps strengthen the relationship or aptly show how this duo interact with each other outside of conflict. Rather it serves to highlight one's very useless and the other is god like. There's no dilemma ever arising in this relationship because Mr. Peabody written to be a perfect character. Instead of putting effort to make Peabody near perfection in everything he does be part of the conflict it becomes a tool for an easy fix. Leading to convoluted filled acts. Without good characterization in general filling up supporting characters with specifics humor functions what it main characters feel never become organic. This same issue pops up when we're being told how much Mr. Peabody and Sherman care for each other when a good scene itself can get that across much better. While the idea behind Mr. Peabody as a parent is worth exploring the execution of it undermines the value of parenthood.
The biggest disappointment with this film is its uninspired take on a good premise. When you have time travel and characters who are interested in history the possibilities should be endless instead of recycled. Filled with humor revolving around the rule of three (writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier) invents a formulaic immunity through it course. Usage of the rule of three come around frequently enough that jokes revolving around the rule become tiring. Once you get used to the formula it stops being funny. Another area it builds its humor around are puns. These puns are very lazy and not given much thought which goes against the characters the film consider to be smart. It's a lot dumber than it admirably wants to ignore. Historical figure were welcomed in the film, but the setup and delivery of them not as much. When Sherman gives a speech about second chances Bill Clinton appears in the background saying "I've done worse". Out of all the possible jokes it chose to make a safe one. Which best describe the humor in a nutshell. Jokes are predictable, safe, reused periodically, and foreseen making their delivery fall flat. Though the biggest nitpick for me stems from the fact there's not a single female character that's well written. Penny Peterson has the biggest role out of any female character and she's a tool to set the chain of events going. She changes quickly at the whim of the story demand, never redeem despite what she does early on in the film, and her only contribution in the story is negative.
Ty Burrell voices Mr. Peabody and his performance is excellent. Everything about he exquisitely voices judgement, from the way he sprints through Peabody's scientific exposition, but never so quickly that he confuses the viewer, to the way he unveils the dog's wretched puns is spot on. Max Charles who plays Sherm is also good in the role. His performance is filled with energy and sincerity. Ariel Winter voices Penny Peterson who despite being given a poorly written character her performance is one key. She's bratting when the script demands it and caring when the scene demands it. Winter portrayal is more dynamic and much better than the material provided for her. Supporting cast are fine having the kind of voice actors ranging from the loud beefy character, the snooty evil character, the hyperactive inventor, and so forth. Animation is a bright spot even if the style isn't impressive. Characters are allowed to be expressive and movement is smooth especially in the film chase like sequences. It's colorful that's easy on the eye. Another great spot on the animation department are the vastly time era that are provided different looks. The score won't register much, but it is diverse in the sort of music provided depending on the era the film is currently in.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman themes and humor are undone by its predictable formula and lack of working characterization. The cast of the film elevate the material with their performances delivery some good dramatic scenes and laughs even if the material doesn't accomplish that task to the same extent. It's a well made film, but one that's really needed more thought put into it that would match its characters intellect and make good use of its premise.
Let's face it, the original 'Mr. Peabody and Sherman' cartoons were kind of silly. In updating them to feature length, this film stretches the concept to the breaking point with its episodic structure, while at the same time also giving the Wayback Machine a computer generated makeover. Otherwise, the film is touching in being about a unique father-son bond. Not only that but this is also a fun movie that can be considered educational, not only for chldren but also adults, even though they may be more hip to some of the references. For example, how many adults know what apocryphal means?
In this PG-rated animated comedy, the time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine (Burrell) and his adopted son (Charles), as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created.
Ty Burrell and Max Charles give decent lip service to the title characters but it's the work of director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little) and screenwriter Craig Wright that should concern moviegoing families more. Though far from that old rotten chestnut of a modern cartoon update known as Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mr. Peabody and Sherman nonetheless reaches way back and come up somewhat empty handed. Somewhere in time, Commander McBragg cries out for his piece of the pie.
Bottom line: Quantum Leak
There is a degree of educational content and the film could serve to pique kids' curiosity and encourage them to learn more about the time periods and historical figures depicted in the film on their own. The popular culture references were used in just the right places and I didn't find them as obnoxious as in many earlier Dreamworks animated films (the later Shrek instalments come to mind). My favourite of these sequences was the Troy battle scene, which spoofs the over-used ramping (slow then fast motion) effect popularised by Zack Snyder's 300. The voice cast was good as well, with Ty Burrell's Mr. Peabody suitably authoritative and intellectual. Max Charles was endearingly earnest and gave a very natural vocal performance as Sherman. Stephen Colbert, who has a minor role as Penny's Dad, really should do more animated films - he was also hilarious in Dreamworks' earlier Monsters vs. Aliens.
Stanley Tucci's Leonardo da Vinci and Patrick Warburton's dim-witted Agamemnon were both fun as well. However, the film doesn't satisfyingly explore Sherman's relationship with Penny. She begins the film as a spoilt, detestable bully and suddenly becomes more sympathetic at the midway point without a character arc to explain this, but it's understandable that the focus is placed on Mr. Peabody's relationship with his adoptive son. The film is able to keep a lighthearted tone throughout, without getting sappy or emotionally manipulative and I would recommend it as a film for adoptive parents to bring their children to see. The technical standard of the animation isn't up to the benchmark demonstrated in films like Rise of the Guardians and Frozen, but it did capture the old-fashioned character design adequately. The 3D was designed into the fabric of the film and employed in a delightfully gimmicky manner, with flying spears, tumbling rocks and a barrel of pomegranates that gets knocked out of the screen. The flying sequence, reminiscent of the "Can You Read My Mind" scene in Superman, was lovely. Also of note is Danny Elfman's pleasantly moving score.