Everybody’s favorite dog, the unmistakable Mr. Peabody is back to travel across eons and rewrite historical periods with his adopted “pet” son, Shermanus of New York! Heartfelt tales from Peabody’s life and times were the highlights of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show in the late 50s and early 60s. The all-intelligent genius of a dog, Peabody, receives a modernized revamp appealing to the sensibilities of today’s audiences, and boom—he’s back to make 2014 the Peabody Year! Based on the episode, Peabody’s Improbable History, the tale starts with Peabody adopting a warmhearted baby boy, Sherman (voiced with the innocence of Max Charles), as his son. If a boy can adopt a dog, then there’s no reason why a dog can’t adopt a boy!
Ace director Rob Minkoff, of the legendary The Lion King and the earnest Stuart Little, rehashes the improbable character of Mr. Peabody into a new bottle, with a zing of refurbishment—taking viewers to a ride across time rewording history as required; the adventures of Mr. Peabody and Sherman! Voiced by Ty Burrell, his voice gives Peabody a stern demeanor, an industrious accent, and the melting warmth present in the voice of Burrell is perfectly in sync with the one-of-a-kind, Mr. Peabody. The character of Mr. Peabody shared a geeky dynamism back in its heyday. Too serious, with a degree of compassion and intellect beyond ordinary humans (and dogs), Peabody is unlike any organism walking on two legs, or four! Rarely has there been a character as contradictory in occurrence and presentation as the mighty dog, Mr. Peabody. So unique and indulging is this dog that it never received a home and was devoid of a homely life that it so desired. Consequently, when Peabody finds a child abandoned in one dark alley of New York, one only needs to complete the tedious formalities, and who better than Mr. Peabody, or Peababa, the Dogfather of his human son, Shermanus—warrior in the great Trojan War, sort of…
With the brilliant application of 3D graphics and CGI, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is nothing short of a fantasized animated time travel bonanza, and a bit of history lesson, for children and even adults. A perfect family movie, Mr. Peabody and Sherman gallop from France, to Egypt, to Florence, to Greece reliving the thundering historical twinkles. The French Revolution, the Egyptian Institution, the Mona Lisa Smile; a communion with the numero uno visionary of the world, the Son of Florence, Leonardo da Vinci, and the wrath of the barbarous Trojan War—Mr. Peabody and Sherman is not merely another fictional animated movie, it is a historic goldmine, a perfect movie for the young ones. Behind the intelligible loose plot and some rather clichéd twists, Mr. Peabody and Sherman notches up the affectionate merger of emotions and actions sharing its viewers in the trip around the world where adults and children could sit together at the table of joy and pleasure. In a nutshell, that is what Mr. Peabody and Sherman aspires and succeeds in being—a joyful emotional ride across history, where the events take a backseat to the emotions of the movie making it an animation with the values of family, love, and unity at its core. But all of these are just mere episodes in the legendary life of a personality par excellence, Mr. Peabody.
Despite having a predictable story, and whilst being devoid of something truly original in terms of a plot, Mr. Peabody and Sherman whisk the imagination of children more so than the adults. The younger population shall no doubt cherish the adventures of the father-son duo, and the whizzing Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter)—their trials and tribulations, and the histrionic, yet always nostalgic—tenderness growing within the hearts amidst chaos surrounding the world around the characters. Most of the time, the always working symmetry, and screenwriter for this movie, Craig Wright, creates just the ideal disposition for this jubilant movie. The whacky characters and the continuous thrilling rides ensure that children embrace the movie, while adults admire it. My teenage sister found it hilarious, while her mid-20 brother found it amusing, and a sarcastic take on history, historical figures, and the crane of society.
Coming from DreamWorks, the expectations are always high—especially due to their crazily warming characters and animated prose that boasts of Antz, Shrek, and How to Train Your Dragon to name a few. Mr. Peabody and Sherman may lack the jest of these classics, but its amusing plot advancement, sidesplitting scenarios, comical revisionist history, and the formidable mind-whacking characters keep viewers thoroughly engaged just the same. As if the 3D animation wasn’t enough, the twinkles in the eye are the melodious voices of the characters—adding warmness to the screenplay, and the overall essence of the movie. Zany characters, incredible CGI graphics, wonderful voices and diction, a feel good story rich with a message, and the wonderful art of storytelling—Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a story of love and affection that is wittily written and bombastically executed. I’ll be damned if the adventures of the trinity and the quirks of monuments’ men and women didn’t heed you to disremember global warming, the black hole, or the ozone layer and feel at home at the WABACK—the way back indeed.