Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)
Before Dr. Who and Back to The Future, there was a suave and sophisticated time traveler that took viewers on a historically charged comedy tour of our past, who also happens to be a dog. Mr. Peabody is one smart dog, but is he ready for the challenges of raising a human boy? His wit and patience is put to the test in this latest film from Dreamworks’ Animation
In the film, Mr. Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) attempts to juggle his commitments to the arts, sciences and history, while trying to raise Sherman (voiced by Max Charles). To teach him better, he invents a time machine called the WABAC, in order to show Sherman history first hand. But problems arise on Sherman’s first day of school, and after a fight with Penny (voiced by Ariel Winter), Mr. Peabody has a bigger problem than dealing with the problems of a growing boy, the problem is keeping him from child services.
Of course, with every Dreamworks feature, the animation is gorgeous. The colors pop, the worlds are well detailed, and everything is wonderfully put together. The character designs are similar to the original Peabody & Sherman, but have their own spin to them, which adds even more personality to the voices behind them. Speaking of the voice cast, they’re all pretty fantastic, voices include Patrick Warburton, Patrick Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, and many others, won’t tell you who they voice, that’s part of the fun.
One of my worries for the movie, was that the puns would be watered down. You see, Mr. Peabody had a sharp wit in the original series, The Improbable Mr. Peabody, and he always had a sly pun after every history lesson. Those puns are a plenty in the film, and I’m happy to tell you that they are hysterical, especially if you fancy yourself a history junkie.
I think one of the many surprises I had with the film, was how deeply emotional it got, and how it made you really connect with both Mr. Peabody and with Sherman. They really play with the idea of what makes you a good father, or what makes you an obedient son. The idea of how to deal with growing up but not growing apart. I teared up quite a bit during this movie, and that’s not a bad thing, it hit emotional triggers that many other kids movies don’t. It also takes a few risks, like the storyline with child services, bullying in school, and accepting someone for who they are and not expecting perfection. The lessons told in this film are very important, and I appreciated them taking these risks, it made the movie have a bigger impact with me.
What Didn’t Work:
For a Kids movie, it’s very heavy, and that may make it not as enjoyable for younger children. The pacing of the film needs a tweaking, as it slows down quite a bit in the middle as they’re hoping from time period to time period. But I think the biggest issue that the film has, is that it’s portrayal of Mr. Peabody shifts around too much. Sure we see he’s smart and kind, but he jumps around from being funny and logical, to cold and logical to Sherman a little too often, which may put the viewer off from liking him as much as they should. He does say some things to Sherman that I was surprised to hear, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but more of a head’s up for families with children, let’s just say I said, “Ouch, That’s Harsh” a few times.
Despite being an emotional heavy film that may be a little much for some folks, the wonderful animation, the touchingly sweet storyline and hilarious puns make Mr. Peabody & Sherman a joy to see, and it’s another winner from Dreamworks. 8.5 Time Machines out of 10.