“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” Movie Review
When I first heard about this movie, I wasn’t too intrigued. “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is an animated adventure through time with a young boy and his father, who is a dog. I know it is based upon an old television show, but I have never seen it so I’m going to completely leave that alone and just review the movie on its own terms. When I first heard about this it looked somewhat juvenile and, for lack of a better word, stupid to me, but when I saw that it was getting some fine reviews, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, due to the animation powerhouse that has been 2014, and go give it a watch. Let’s just say it didn’t exactly surprise me.
I will give it this, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” had some beautiful animation. It was blasting with color and charisma, the animation is definitely the high point, which is not a good sign because the actual story and characters were leagues and leagues below it. I really wish they had spent more time on the plot than on the visuals.
The story follows the young Sherman and his highly intelligent canine father who has created a machine, called The Way Back, which allows them to travel forward or backwards in time. Then when Sherman and fellow classmate, Penny, get into some trouble while using the machine, they are in deep danger of twisting the space time continuum up into knots. No disrespect to the genre of time travel, I absolutely love it, but I do believe it’s a very touchy subject. When delving into the subject of time travel, especially when trying to craft a story around it, there are a million rules that have to come into account, it would probably be impossible to plot a story if you used all of them. Most film makers, when creating a film about this subject, use their own rules and scenarios and it sometimes works, but in this case it does not. The space time continuum idea this movie presents is undeniably intriguing, but it’s the way they interpret it that really had me scratching my head.
It wasn’t that “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” was at all complex, or intelligent for that matter, it was just so convoluted. It made claims that didn’t resonate with the rest of the film and its take on travel was preposterous. It shows Mr. Peabody & Sherman meeting people from all different time periods and they make humongous changes to history that, for some reason, do not affect the present in any way whatsoever. Even once the continuum rips and things from the past begin to fall onto the present day New York City streets, it just seems like a minor inconvenience.
Its writing wasn’t exactly the greatest either. The movie begins with a voice-over narration made by Mr. Peabody, telling the audience all about his backstory and his machine and what it can do. This whole opening sequence felt extremely forced to me. I know this whole opening was made for the younger viewers who can’t follow a story as well as the older viewers, but they could have done it a bit better. The movie’s actually pretty straight forward, if you ask me.
Some of the jokes did land, but those were very few and far between. The majority of this script was stupid puns made by Mr. Peabody that attempted to make the move to gain some purposeful pity laughs, but it was just lazy writing the whole way through. This also affected the characters who were pretty two dimensional. I’ve heard that in the original television show, Mr. Peabody’s intelligence had some bite, but it had the exact opposite from what I’ve seen of him.
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” will be more than enough to entertain the kiddies, but it’s not going to be even remotely close to tickling your funny bone…or your entertainment one for that matter. Its characters are two-dimensional, its story is convoluted and flawed, and the only enjoyment you may find is in its incredible visuals. In my opinion, go see The Lego Movie with your kiddies, or even The Wind Rises. Tyhose two both have the same, if better, quality of visuals with a story that audiences of all ages can follow and, more importantly, enjoy.