Rated: PG for some mild action and brief rude humor. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: March 7, 2014 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Another winning animated 3D adventure from the maker of The Lion King has noticeable capricious visual and narrative verve. One which can hook children as well as their older counterparts in adapting Jay Ward's 1960s series with an enjoyably lively subversive glee.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voice talent of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, and Stanley Tucci and gets by the artificial, nonstop entropy on-screen with spry, vivid wryness and enough attention to character nuance.
Helmer Rob Minkoff and his writer Craig Wright instill a strange zaniness into historical revisionism and the notion of a brilliant talking dog and his boy trying to become an actual father and son.
The wizened Peabody (Burrell of Dawn of the Dead and Fair Game) has left beyond his unhappy time as a puppy to embody a Renaissance spirit as an artist and inventor, besides aplomb as a top cocktail maker and master chef.
When he adopts the human Sherman (Charles) plenty of escapades are ripe for them in their (WABAC) time machine. A snag occurs as Sherman's school year begins and has to deal with a parsimonious classmate in Penny (Winter) and a tough Child Services agent in Mrs. Grunion (Allison Janney).
Then the narrative really begins to take off, way back wise, as Peabody extends a dinner invitation to Mrs. Grunion, Penny and her parents (Stephen Colbert and Leslie Mann). A time/space continuum is disrupted in ways related by series like Doctor Who and Star Trek when the mischievous Penny goes off in the WABAC.
The storytelling in this charming unrest with film allusions, peppered with silly, even scatological gags for the kids most likely probably beguiled by the setup includes the ancient times of Greece (specifically the Trojan War), Italy and Egypt. A lively, attractive action-packed romp ensues with effective, sharp dialogue and design leading to a climactic ambitious set-piece that wouldn't be out of place in a live-action Marvel production.
For the younger fry there's an educational opportunity beyond the less subtle use of 3D and individual scene alacrity that might prompt some clarification or discussion afterwards. The sentiment around the familial themes hardly isn't lacquered on and the character creations from their nucleus helps everything wag happily in heartfelt fashion.
From Stanley Tucci's DaVinci to Patrick Warburton's brawny Agamemnon, as well as Burrell, Charles and Mann and Colbert, a fine, interesting range of dialogue is delightfully drawn. Even if the antecedent may be unfamiliar to nearly all taking it in, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a raucous cinematic bon mot with gags that make it plenty of fun to watch and listen to.
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