Movie Review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014)
For those of you reading poor reviews of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, don’t you believe them. This fun-filled, nostalgic animated movie offers a burst of real creativity for all ages and offers those who grew up in the era of Rocky and Bullwinkle special enjoyment along the way.
From start to finish, this movie expands upon the Peabody segment once such a beloved part of the Bullwinkle TV show and various iterations. Sometimes expansion like this adds a lot of unnecessary modern takes and a lot of empty air, but not so here as “a dog and his boy” get immediately to work exploring time with the Wayback.
For those fans of segments like Peabody and Fractured Fairytales from the Squirrel and Moose, all the timing, in-jokes and absolutely horrendous puns are there for the taking. I was in Seventh Heaven!
The animation, done in the tradition of Iron Giant and The Incredibles, is spot on. Mr. Peabody had such a classic facial expression during most of the segment’s run, I was actually surprised it could be captured in modern computer animation but those artists who worked on the world’s smartest dog deserve something come awards time. Sherman was his grinning self and, except for a bit of an independent streak he never had in the original, remains his loyal bespectacled self.
Max Charles was cool as Sherman, but Ty Burrell as the serious, cerebral, somewhat sardonic Peabody was spot on. There was always a hint of something a bit darker in the barker than was every seriously portrayed, but that really shows just beneath the surface here.
And the historic characters encountered during the Wayback adventure are hysterical and informative all at once, always a highlight of the original toon. Mel Brooks was wonderful as Einstein and some special prize needs to go to Stanley Tucci for his portrayal as Leonardo da Vinci. Bravo!
I do not know what went wrong with those few other attempts to enliven us with the wit and wisdom of the classic, very adult-humored characters created by Ted Key and that marvelous crew, but this arrow hits its target – or targets – directly.
A great movie, fun for all ages (my young cousin loved it) and a special love letter for us 1960s-gen geezers.