As a youngster in the 1960s (yikes) I have fond memories of several cartoon programs. For those of you reading this that may not remember, in the early 1960s several popular animated shows, among them “The Flintstones,” ran in prime time. Another one of those shows featured an unlikely pair of pals – Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose (the “J” in their names stood for their creator, Jay Ward). Titled “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” the program introduced many a popular character to kids of all ages. Among them were an incredibly smart dog and his adopted son; Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
We meet Mr. Peabody (Burrell) and Sherman (Charles) as the young boy is about to start the school year. The summer has been spent visiting amazing times in history, via what Mr. Peabody calls the WABAC machine. In fact, the two just returned from a trip to Paris, where they almost lost their heads taking in the French Revolution. It is while in history class that Sherman contradicts his teacher, maintaining that George Washington did NOT chop down a cherry tree. Later, while at lunch, Sherman is made fun of by a fellow student, who mocks the boy because his father is a dog. A trip to the principal’s office leads to a meeting with the other student’s parents. And then the fun begins!
Completely faithful to its source material, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” is a delightful story that will entertain both the youngsters and their parents. With a script by Emmy and Pulitzer Prize nominated writer Craig Wright (and really, who else BUT a Pulitzer Prize nominated writer could do justice to Mr. Peabody), the film is a fun trip through history, where our two heroes, accompanied by Sherman’s classmate, learn the most important lesson of all. Burrell does a fine job as Peabody, giving him a new, yet familiar, voice. The same can be said of young Charles. Supporting work by such familiar names as Stephen Colbert, Dennis Haysbert and Leslie Mann is also spot on.
Director Minkoff gave us “The Lion King,” so it’s no secret that he has crafted an outstanding animated adventure. The 3D effects are OK but not spectacular, so no harm in seeing it at a regular screening. Make sure you get there early and catch the humorous short film, “Almost Home,” before hand.
Mr. Peabody proudly announces “there’s no doubt about it…every dog should have a boy.” And every boy (and girl) should go see “Mr. Peabody & Sherman.”