MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN

The big studios have tried to recreate several 1960’s and ’70’s cartoons on the big screen. And most with minimal success. Ok, I’m being kind. Most have absolutely sucked ass. Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Flintstones, Underdog, Scooby Doo and The Green Hornet (I know it’s not a cartoon, but it was cartoon-like and I couldn’t resist taking another swipe at the turd of a movie). Into the ring steps MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN. In case you don’t remember, the cartoon aired as part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show along with Fractured Fairytales and Dudley Do-right (another crap movie). Mr. Peabody is the world’s smartest dog who is a Harvard educated master inventor among other talents. He adopts a boy, Sherman. To teach him about history, Mr. Peabody invents The Way Back machine. It’s a time machine that they use to travel to actual events in history so Sherman learns exactly what happened. Back to those other failures. They either were live-action remakes or combined animation with live action. Mr. Peabody & Sherman is all cartoon and all wonderful! The story is completely faithful to the original Jay Ward concept/conceit. Peabody is smart and smug about it, but in a loving kind of way. Sherman is wide-eyed and innocent and just clueless enough. Peabody is given to making historical puns that are always quaint. The writer and director know not to overreach or to try to make it something it’s not. It’s a movie for kids, but enough there for adults to keep them interested. The voice work is perfect. Ty Burrell recreates Peabody’s voice almost perfectly. Perfect cadence, perfect amount of snark and always with an undertone of love for Sherman. There’s a message about being proud of who you are and tolerant of others. But mostly there’s laughs and sweetness and entertainment. And isn’t that what we go to the movies for anyhow? I saw it in 3D and while it was good, I don’t think it is necessary. This isn’t too intense for the little ones, but some of it may sail right over their heads especially when it gets “sciencey”. I cannot begin to describe how happy I was walking out of the theater. I was hoping they didn’t screw it up and congratulations and admiration to writer Craig Wright and director Rob Minkoff. They not only didn’t mess up something I loved as a kid, they made me love it even more! — Alan Yudman

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