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Review: Mr. Peabody & Sherman

When taking a cartoon from the late 1950s early 1960s and giving it the big screen treatment a lot of things can go wrong or, if the filmmaker is both talented and lucky, magic can happen. In the case of Mr. Peabody and Sherman director Rob Minkoff succeeds at crafting a fun 90 minute animated feature.  How appropriate for young children or logical those 90 minutes are is a completely different question. The movie constantly bounces from issue to issue allowing neither backstories nor characters to develop. Mr. Peabody and Sherman moves at a fast enough pace that although flawed it becomes decidedly enjoyable.

The problem with Mr. Peabody and Sherman is that there isn’t one story, or even two but nearly four separate storylines tied together into one 90-minute movie. The movie starts off with Peabody (Ty Burrell) going through his accomplishments and intellectual gifts, until he stumbled upon young Sherman (Max Charles) and decided to adopt him. This is where the second story ties in: a child whose father is a dog is bound to get bullied at school, as Sherman does by Penny (Ariel Winter). The bullying story continues story progresses quickly for 20 minutes but never allows for the audience to become bored or tired of the film as something new and exciting is always on screen. Minkoff ‘s style of storytelling is reminiscent of reading a few small comics, or watching a few episodes of television. This episodic method of entwining together several small stories rather than one larger story works well and, if intentional, Mr. Peabody and Sherman hits its mark precisely.

Bad children movies pander to the lowest form of comedy and make incessant crude jokes. Good children movies make subtle jokes aimed at both children and sometimes adults. The best children’s movies, however, play to adults but still successfully create a world where children enjoy the movie entirely. That is what Mr. Peabody and Sherman accomplishes: it creates a world for the average 8-year-old to enjoy alongside references that only parents or older children would understand.

Once you are able to past the myriad of thematic problems lodged within this movie then you will most certainly enjoy yourself. Although not appropriate for young toddlers,  Mr. Peabody and Sherman is enjoyable and almost ridiculously amounts of fun not in spite of its inconsistent storylines and flaws but because of them.

If you’ve seen The Lego Movie to death already, and since Frozen hasn’t come out on DVD/Blu-Ray yet, Mr. Peabody and Sherman is the perfect alternative to fill that void of animated fun.

 

[star v=35]