Director: Rob Minkoff
Original Release: 2014
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on the Peabody's Improbable History vignettes from the late '50s and early '60s. Peabody is a dog with a TARDIS... er... WABAC machine that travels through time and space. Sherman is his boy, tagging along for broadening adventures. The old shorts are about five minutes long each, at most. So developing the idea for a 92-minute film obviously required some flushing out. The writers added a love interest for Sherman named Penny - completely unnecessary, of course, but in this case, it drives the plot.
The animation is excellent, especially in 3-D. I actually flinched when Robespierre thrust his sword toward the audience. The voice cast was decent, too, though as much as I like Ty Burrell (watching Modern Family as I write this), I think Stephen Colbert would have been the better choice for Peabody. Colbert was in the film but as Penny's father. My Wife suggested John Hodgman for the part - even better.
There are plenty of satisfying elements for fans of the original. Our heroes travel to revolutionary France, ancient Egypt, ancient Troy, Renaissance Italy and, very briefly, The Future. Peabody is well-armed with his usual arsenal of bad puns. "You can't have your cake and edict, too" was my personal favorite. Purists will almost inevitably be disappointed by the changes but I think if the movie inspires new interest in the old show, a few alterations for a 21st century audience are worthwhile.
And yes, I know the WABAC machine came first...