I knew zero about this. I knew it was like an old cartoon or something. The previews looked bad but a few critics I usually respect had great things to say so I felt like I needed to see it for myself. Would adults be able to enjoy this seemingly kid movie? And will kids be able to understand a movie about time travel?
Mr. Peabody, a genius dog (Ty Burrell), adopts a young orphan named Sherman (Max Charles) and then proceeds to teach Sherman all about history by visiting it with a high-tech time travel machine. Well, we join the story when Sherman begins going to school and ends up immediately making enemies with this girl Penny (Ariel Winter). To ease the tensions, Mr. Peabody invites Penny and her family (Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann) over to dinner. Sherman accidentally spills the beans out their time travel machine “The Way Back” and ends up triggering a series of time travel adventures that could potentially destroy the world.
This movie is much better than I expected. If anything, it goes over the heads of children and is aimed at mostly adults. My theater was packed with kids who were mostly silent but the parents couldn’t stop laughing. It makes sense though, because the kids don’t understand the politics of the Trojan War or the designs and inventions of Leonardo da Vinci. I think the kids still enjoyed it because they would still laugh and cheer every once in a while but it definitely was a little too smart for most of them. Even I was learning things about Ancient Egypt and Marie Antoinette and everything.
And the movie is really funny. It’s packed full of puns which I always appreciate. It’s got smart dialogue and actually might encourage kids to learn about history and science and all this stuff. I appreciate the work Dreamworks put into this on that front.
Visually, it’s a good looking movie. It doesn’t go for realism, as a talking dog doesn’t always lend itself to that, but its style is very cool.
And let me just say this. I didn’t warm up the movie at the beginning. I was hesitant and a little resistant to becoming attached but by the end of the movie, I was bawling like a baby. It pulled on my heartstrings in a way I wasn’t expecting.
What doesn’t work?
Like I said, its audience might be a little scattered. Kids won’t get a lot of the jokes but they’ll laugh at the pratfalls and fart jokes. Meanwhile you will have a fun time but you’ll just have to grin and bear it, in the few moments that were overtly childlike in tone.
Also, it does take awhile to warm up to it. Until the Way Back was used, I was thinking to myself “I don’t enjoy this at all.” But then things changed. At the end of the movie, I found myself having more fun and I forgot about those unfortunately necessary scenes towards the beginning.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a fun movie. It’s smart and might make kids find an interest in history, which can never be a bad thing. If they don’t find it interesting however, the kids may find themselves squirming in their seats from boredom as the dialogue flies over their heads. Me though, I had fun. It takes some time to find its groove but I enjoyed it enough to warrant a positive recommendation, if nothing else strikes your eye in theaters. This won’t live up to the standards set by How to Train Your Dragon or Kung Fu Panda, but it’ll do for an entertaining weekend movie.