Mr. Peabody and Sherman 3D: Is it Worth Your Money?
When I heard that Dreamworks was making a movie version of a cartoon I enjoyed as a child, my father enjoyed as a child, and my daughter will hopefully soon enjoy on DVD, I was skeptical to say the least. Dreamworks has always been hit or miss, and always behind Pixar. While I do feel Mr. Peabody and Sherman is at least worth the money to pick it up as a rental, I’d say unless you’re really looking to go the theater…wait. I wouldn’t quite call this movie mediocre, but its nowhere near greatness. I was mostly put off by the occasional crude humor (fart jokes). I’m not a crusader for only having appropriate material in movies, but this superfluous crude humor dumbed down the feel of the movie for me. While I thoroughly enjoyed certain scenes, I agree with Adrienne on most of scenes she calls out below. So I’ll let her take over from here.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman were my favorite part of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show I watched in reruns as a kid. Dreamworks Animation gives this time travelling duo and the Way-Back Machine a contemporary update. Mr. Peabody and Sherman kept the puns and word play jokes of the original material and traveled to some of my favorite moments in history. For me, Mr. Peabody and Sherman fails to fully recapture the magic of the original cartoon, yet succeeded in producing a few laughs and nice nods to other film classics.
Now, let’s talk about the time traveling. Mr. Peabody is a regular “Dog-tor” Who, well, without the space travel part. Smart choices for the selection of historical dates: the start of the French Revolution, the Tut Dynasty in Egypt, a visit to Italy and Renaissance-era Florence, and finally ancient Troy on the eve of the Trojan War. Choosing these eras and locations are not only work as interesting points in history, but they carry certain cultural visual cues easily grasped by the audience, young and old, and add plenty of material for historical jokes.
The voice acting in Mr. Peabody and Sherman is full of popular actors and voice-actors: Patrick Warburton, Ty Burrell, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Ariel Winter, Mel Brooks, and Allison Janney. Ty Burrell was a wonderful Mr. Peabody actually. Fan favorite, Patrick Warburton was hilarious as usual with his voicing of Agamemnon. These big names along with a strong supporting cast of voices were effective in accents and affectations while being clear and understandable.
My favorite Mr. Peabody and Sherman moment is when they both crash through the top of an Egyptian tomb—a nice nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark (see the snake statues inside). There is a surprising and funny “I am Spartacus!” moment too. If you look closely during the gathering of historical figures, I believe you will see former President Bill Clinton possibly hitting on Mona Lisa!
All in all, Mr. Peabody and Sherman had a few laughs. If you like any of the time periods used as settings in the movie, you might find it worth your time and money. I would recommend this as a rental if you have competing interests at the box office this weekend. You don’t need it in 3D for sure.