Sunday, March 30, 2014

Family Movie Night: Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Title: Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Director: Rob Minkoff
Original Release: 2014
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Our Girl is an old soul.  She is a devoted fan of the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show so it's not surprising that the new computer animated film from DreamWorks caught her eye.  My Wife and I were a bit skeptical of the idea but it's the girl's week, so it's her choice.

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...

14 comments:

  1. How I love Mr. Peabody and Sherman! The three chipmunks really opened up that world of entertainment for me.

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    1. Are you a fan of the old show? the new movie? both?

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  2. I may rent this one, but I'm not going to the theater to see it. Just in the trailer, they've shown that a lot of what they did was take jokes from other movies.

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    1. I wouldn't have bothered if not for the girl.

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  3. I was sceptical at first, but once it got going I rather enjoyed it.
    Puns and All! I still would rather a TARDIS, but you already know that!

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  4. I'm a huge fan of Rocky & Bullwinkle so I'm looking forward to this one. Of course I've been burned by these before (ie. Boris & Natasha). What a coincidence! Check Film Sketchr tomorrow for a post on these lines.

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    Replies
    1. Cool! I will definitely check that out.

      I didn't even realize there was a Boris & Natasha movie.

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  5. Huge fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fractured Fairy Tales, Duddly Doright and of course Peabody and his boy Sherman. Daughter really wants to see this movie as we are huge fans but something kinda bother me about the animation. I like it sort of but the big heads and over all smoothness is perplexing ? I keep waiting for the girls head to break off of her neck.

    cheers, parsnip

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's definitely not the original. The animation is way too polished. It's fun in its own right, though.

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    2. Was talking to daughter today about this movie while waiting for news about her dogs recovery.
      She said the same thing about the animation. I told her that I kept expecting the heads to fall off the puny necks.
      She saw a "Making Of" and the artist said that they ran into trouble when they wanted to turn the heads it looked like their heads would fall off. So they had to turn the whole body.
      The reason they drew the heads so big was "studies" show the bigger heads would appeal to the younger kids... ugh !

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    3. Maurice wrote an excellent post about the concept art for the film. Check it out here: http://filmsketchr.blogspot.com/2014/04/travel-back-in-time-with-mr-peabody-and.html

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    4. Thanks I will check it out.
      When I worked for Hallmark, our cards went to a committee and passed or ripped apart. Sometimes they had groups of people to come in and rate the cards. Hallmark is in Kansas City. So take that thought and run with it.
      My cards were not the highest sellers. . . le sigh

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    5. The old Bullwinkle cartoons had an aesthetic all their own, even different from their contemporaries. Computer animation doesn't quite feel right, I'll admit it.

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