Friday, July 10, 2015
MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN (2014)
Directed By: Rob Minkoff
Written By: Craig Wright, Michael McCullers, Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
Based on Characters Created By: Ted Cay
Editor: Michael Andrews
Music Score By: Danny Elfman
Featuring the voices of: Ty Burell, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Denis Haysbert, Stephen Tobolowsky, Allison Janney, Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci, Lake Bell, Mel Brooks, Tom McGrath, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant
Mr. Peabody is a business titan, inventor, scientist, gourmand, two-time Olympic medalist and genius...who also happens to be a dog. Using his most ingenious invention, the WABAC machine, Mr. Peabody and his adopted boy Sherman hurtle back in time to experience world-changing events first-hand and interact with some of the greatest characters of all time. But when Sherman breaks the rules of time travel, our two heroes find themselves in a race to repair history and save the future, while Mr. Peabody may face his biggest challenge yet - being a parent. Originally this movie was to be a live action computer animated film to be released in 2003. But it wasn't realized until 2011 when the film was announced to be a computer animated movie.
As a fan of the original cartoon I was worried that this film would be nothing but a cash in designed to marginalize the cartoons and help sell toys and merchandise as unfortunately some of my other childhood cartoon favorites have gone that way. I am happy to report though not as satirically strong as the cartoon. This film version has the spirit of those originals with some modern updates.
Of course it can't be as random and has to tie a story and arc to link all the adventures in time travel together as well as give the characters a history never explained in the cartoons.
Now while the jokes are juvenile and fit for the intended audience. The film also has a certain with and fun that helps the film breeze by so fast you actually want more. It stays educational while the audience might not realize it. And while made for kids it is quite enjoyable for adults too.
The animation is sharp and manages to get the mood and pacing enquire right and while the animation is advanced it doesn't leave the characters with a dead eyed zombie look. That some films like THE POLAR EXPRESS have had a problem with though that is more 3D animation. This is the fourth film based on the Rocky and Bullwinkle franchise. The previous three were BORIS AND NATASHA, DUDLEY DO-RIGHT, and THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE. This is also the first fully animated film among those entries. The film provides little hints and tips of the hat to the other series also by
A painting of Bullwinkle Jay Moose ("host" of the series where Peabody and Sherman debuted) can be seen in Mr. Peabody's apartment. The stuffed animal Sherman sleeps with is Dudley Do-Right's Horse, from another "Bullwinkle" spin off.
A painting of Rocky and Bullwinkle can be seen at the end of the movie when George Washington, Bill Clinton and Abraham Lincoln write a document all together.
So those are just a few of the examples of the Easter eggs used.
The film feels right in the hands of director Rob Minkoff who has directed children's films such as STUART LITTLE and THE LION KING
Watching this film gives me confidence that even if some of the entertainment of my childhood is remade. I won't necessarily be giddy over the idea. As long as it is handled with care and manages to capture the spirit and voice of the original. It doesn't have to be a torturous experience. I mean look at the updated Muppet movies that still manage to have he same spirit and charm of the originals. While not quite as magical and strong.
I always find it hard at times to review animated films as I am not the audience and look at them as films but not exactly like others as i can't really review performances and camera angles as much. So it comes down to other factors that I must pay attention to. So while I watch them it is a fine line I walk trying to review them and give an exact opinion. More reviewing the overall elements of them. Especially knowing how much work and how long it takes to create one.
Robert Downey Jr., Kelsey Grammer and Geoffrey Rush were considered for the role of Mr. Peabody. Downey was cast but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts.
This is more pure story and excitement. Not a musical, there is a moral and teaches a few lesson though is never preachy.