Mr. Peabody & Sherman is based on characters from the old Rocky & Bullwinkle TV series. No TV cartoon characters in the 1960s -- or in TV history for that matter -- were more fun or creative than Rocky, Bullwinkle and their friends. Created by Jay Ward, the program was a satirical treat packed with terrific puns, jokes and fun-poking at that day's American society.
It was impossible not to love the flying squirrel and his not-so-bright moose buddy, the villainous Boris and Natasha, Dudley Do-right, the frighteningly funny Fractured Fairy Tales and -- of course -- "Peabody's Improbably History" upon which this movie is based.
For those who don't know, Peabody is the world's smartest being. He's also a dog. Peabody adopts young Sherman, and they take the Peabody-invented WABAC machine back in time to meet some of history's greats. The film has Sherman getting into a tiff with classmate Penny Peterson. Peabody plans a dinner for Penny's parents in an attempt to build a friendship between the two kids.
To impress Penny, Sherman takes her time traveling. That's a major-league no-no and causes no end of troubles for Peabody, Sherman, Penny and family and some of history's most interesting characters.
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I can't say all, but most of today's TV animated programs are not good. And I'm being more polite than they deserve. So it's cool to see that children are going to get a nice dose of the kind of humor I grew up with in Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Directed by The Lion King's Rob Minkoff and penned by TV's Lost writer Craig Wright, Mr. Peabody & Sherman captures the flavor and fun of creator Ted Key's characters. Ty Burrell of Modern Family does a dead-on imitation of Bill Scott, who did the original voice, and Max Charles is a perfect Sherman. They're joined by Stanley Tucci's hilarious Leonardo Da Vinci, Mel Brooks' Einstein, Allison Janney's social worker and Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann as Penny's parents.
While it's a nice treat, it is not necessary to see this one in 3-D. This is a great family film. Adults -- especially those growing up on the original feature and more mature children -- will enjoy the bazillion puns, wordplay and humor.
-- Is Mr. Movie's wordplay too wordy? Let him know at www.tricityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.
Director: Rob Minkoff
Stars: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Steven Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Allison Janney, Mel Brooks, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Stephen Tobolowsky, Dennis Haysbert
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.