Review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman

PeabodyStarring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Max Brook and Stanley Tucci

Dreamworks, in cinemas now

The time-travelling adventures of Mr. Peabody, the world’s smartest dog; Sherman, the young boy he’s adopted – and Sherman’s classmate Penny, who loves the idea of being in Ancient Egypt… until the reality of what happens to widows there is explained…

Unashamedly fun, with more than a few knowing asides to keep the adult audience amused (the comment about family get-togethers at the Oedipus household had the older ones at the screening laughing out loud while the film’s natural target audience looked at us with a bemused expression), Mr. Peabody and Sherman is based on the old cartoon inserts from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, but given a major makeover for the 21st century.

There’s some terrific attention to detail in the animation, once you get past the extreme-sized heads of the human characters, and quite a few moments which will benefit from the pause function when this comes out on Blu-ray/DVD – Mr. Peabody’s plans regarding the Trojan Horse in particular. The 3D works well but isn’t overused, or essential – a 2D version isn’t going to make you feel as if you’re missing something really key, as happens in some animations.

The humour appeals across the ages, and there’s plenty of action as Mr, Peabody and Sherman use the WABAC (pronounced Way-Back, which actually makes far more sense as a name) to travel in time and try to set history back on course. Quite whether the history lessons are quite as accurate as some might have you believe is open to debate but, as with Horrible Histories, this doesn’t shy away from the gorier side of the past (which of course makes it even more irresistible to the children watching).

Eleven-year-old Sophie thought it was fantastic, and worth 9/10. For accompanying adults, it may not be quite that good, but it certainly is enjoyable. 7/10

Paul Simpson

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