Mr. Peabody and Sherman Review
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a 2014 animated science fiction comedy film from DreamWorks Animation. It is directed by Rob Minkoff and it stars Ty Burrell and Ariel Winter. It is, in spite of its flaws, a very entertaining and enjoyable movie.
Mr. Peabody is a dog who has an adopted human son. Together they travel with their time machine through different time periods and he teaches him lessons along the way. I liked the story and the property. The first act or so is a bit rushed, but introduces you to all of the characters well. The third act is very sweet and satisfying whereas the second act is adventurous and filled with different time periods wonderfully explored.
The French Revolution is really well done. What they did with Marie Antoinette is funny and all of it is visually pleasing. Ancient Egypt isn’t as explored as I’d have liked it to have been, but it does have its moments. Now, Renaissance Florence is definitely the finest period here as it is visually breathtaking and so imaginative. Leonard Da Vinci is funny, especially with his toy child, and the flying scenes in particular are beautiful to behold. I wish they were longer though. The Trojan War isn’t as good, but it has some of the funniest lines with King Agamemnon being hilarious.
The New York scenes are also entertaining and dramatic. I liked all those family problems with the adoption and Peabody’s capability as a parent all being delved into a lot. It is definitely a comment on gay marriage and, although I would have liked them to actually go into that territory for once, I still liked this approach as it is an evident parallel to that and it works as both protagonists are well developed.
Mr. Peabody is excellent and I really liked his nerdy behavior and way of speech. But he is also cool and very capable during the action sequences which is a nice change in pace. Sherman isn’t as good and is flat at times, but the relationship between the two is superb and so heartwarming at times. Penny is so mean at first, but she proves herself later on and becomes a much more likable companion and a suitable friend/love interest for Sherman. Paul and Petty are funny as her parents and the scenes where Peabody impresses them are quite funny. Ms. Grubion is typical, but both Da Vinci and Agamemnon are really good and very funny.
Ty Burrell did a really nice job as Peabody. His voice is always recognizable, but he still gave a very good performance. Ariel Winter is also pretty good and it interesting how the casting directors went with both of them having in mind both are from Modern Family. Stanley Tucci did a really nice job, but of course Patrick Warburton is excellent and he is always welcome as a comic relief as he always delivers.
The animation is very pleasing and enjoyable. It is colorful, but not garish and distracting. The character design is excellent and wonderfully simplistic against the backdrop of the backgrounds which are quite detailed. I loved Florence in particular as it is so beautiful to look at and the houses are particularly good. But the water, sky and everything else is very nice to look at and the colors are great. This isn’t one of the most inspired animations, but it is one of the better looking films from DreamWorks Animation and is always wonderful to watch.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is weakly directed, but well acted. It is so badly paced as it is mostly too rushed and fast paced with too much action and at times even abrupt nature. I am talking about the time travel aspect which is so poorly realized. It is so rushed and convoluted that not even adults could understand it, let alone children. It had so much potential, but everything regarding time travel is very lightly explored here and just rushed upon. We never learn the details of it as they never explain them to us. And the third act in particular is incredibly problematic and just so abrupt and underdeveloped.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman is very entertaining and mostly engaging, but sometimes the action is overwhelming and even tiring at certain moments. It has its heart, but could have been more emotional. It is clever, but not as smart as it should have been regarding its subject matter. The humor is great, I really enjoyed it. It wonderfully makes fun of all these famous historical figures and although the humor is too modern and childish, I was still entertained by it as some lines did make me laugh a lot. Some of the humor is forced, but most is pretty good.
The score isn’t particularly memorable, but is still quite solid. The film is visually great as it has some memorable imagery. The tone shifts from adult to childish in a jarring way, but I still enjoyed how this film is made for those who love history as it does have a geek feel to it. And the dialogue is mostly good, if not that sophisticated. This is a good film in my opinion and is even slightly underrated to be honest. It isn’t one of DreamWorks’ best films, but is certainly one of the better ones as it is their last good original effort for ‘Home‘ was so disappointing a year later. 2014 is the year when DreamWorks Animation released three movies which is a lot and this one falls in the middle – it is naturally inferior to ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2‘, but is so much better than ‘Penguins of Madagascar‘ of course.