film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D 2014 * * * Stars

Mr. Peabody & ShermanDirector: Rob Minkoff
Year: 2014
Rated PG
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter

A rollicking good time is what you'll have if you check out the latest animated time travel adventure, Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D. Based on a segment featured in the 1960's cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, this flick has about as much energy as five animated ones put together. In fact, the whole running time is fused with a large amount of ADHD. But no need to worry, you'll still embrace the characters, the story which masquerades as being educational, and the blessed, technical skill helmed by director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little). In other words, this is a kids movie that excels in the computer-animation department. Added to that, I just recently saw it in 3D and that only made the proceedings much more fuller and to a degree, much more richer as well.

Featuring the voices of Ty Burrell (TV's Modern Family) and Lesile Mann (This Is 40, Knocked Up), "Peabody" is one of those films that doesn't really have a beginning. As things start with some narration by you guessed it, Mr. Peabody (a pint-size dog with glasses), you say to yourself, "what have I missed" or "what has already happened". The opening shot shows his high-rise mansion in New York City. Then, there is a flashback to his early dog days (ha ha) when he describes himself as a dog who wasn't like other dogs. More intelligent, less catered to the demands of an owner who wants a frisbee retrieved, and not as loving as most pets, Mr. Peabody eventually becomes a genius, a scholar, and an inventor of time travel. He also decides to adopt a son (I know a dog adopting a human being as his child, just go with it) named Sherman (voiced by Max Charles). Together, they go back in time in a sphere-like machine that travels at intense, warp speeds.

Of note: I reviewed an animated flick last year with Free Birds. Whereas that November release dealt with getting in a time machine and going back to the first Thanksgiving, this one takes it a step further by having the main characters going back to the Trojan war, back to the actual time when the Mona Lisa was painted by da Vinci, and back to the actual happenings during the French Revolution.  And as with most time travel outings, something always has to go wrong with the quote unquote, "time continuum". Mr. Peabody and Sherman 3D is no exception. In fact, I have always found most time travel vehicles confusing. It's always hard to follow the elements and have faith that everything comes out correct. If you can get past that minor hiccup in small doses here (along with a silly, cliched, sort of confusing ending), then you'll be fitfully entertained. "Peabody" has a sparkle to it, a pep in its step, and in moderation, it has equal parts adult and kid humor (within the last 20 minutes, look for an unexpected, funny reference to the 1960 classic Spartacus).

Ultimately though, I couldn't quite understand the reasoning behind the PG rating. I mean, in my lifetime, I've seen much darker, more intense G fare than this. There is maybe one scene in the first half (a engagement ceremony in Ancient Egypt) that might come off as disturbing. Otherwise, this is an animated exercise that can be viewed by kids of all ages. With swooping camerawork and 3D effects that give you your money's worth, Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D is pure bliss. The current list of best films from 2014 is short but I assure you, this one is predominantly on it.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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