For those not old enough to remember Mr Peabody, he was a fictional dog who appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s American animated television series "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"'.
Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), a beagle, is the smartest being in existence. He has accomplished many things in his life including being an inventor and scientist. One day Mr Peabody finds an abandoned baby in a cardboard box and decides to adopt it. He names him Sherman (voiced by Max Charles). However Sherman, who grows into a dorky, glasses wearing, orange haired boy, never calls Sherman dad but calls him Mr Peabody instead.
On Sherman's birthday, Peabody builds a time machine called the WABAC and they become time travellers.
That's the basic premise from the TV show and it's where the film carries on from. After the back story we see Sherman going to school for the first time. It's here that he draws attention to himself with his unexplained knowledge of history. During a history lesson he says that he's met George Washington in person. This causes an arguement with his classmate Penny and they fall out. In an effort to mend things Mr Sherman invites Penny and her family over to their house. Sherman is told one thing by Mr Peabody, "don't tell her about the WABAC". Needlessly to say she finds out about the time machine and is transported back in time. It's now up to Mr Peabody and Sherman to rescue her and bring her back to the present.
There's plenty to keep young ones amused here as the three time travellers meet various famous characters from history, Leonardo da Vinci (Stanley Tucci) and Albert Einstein (Mel Brooks)' to name but two. The film plays out a bit like an episode of the TV programme "Horrible History's". What we get are some terrible puns, "You're in denial" Mr Peabody tells an ancient Egyptian, to some adult jokes about butts and booby traps,you just know where their going with that one.
Rocky And Bullwinkle have never been a big draws in this country, (just ask Robert De Niro) and to make matters worse "Mr Peabody and Sherman" opens around the same time as "The Lego Movie 3D". Compared to that film "Mr Peabody and Sherman" feels dated and uninspiring. I would imagine that "The Lego Movie" is going to hit its box office takings pretty badly. If I had the choice,"Lego Movie" or Mr Peabody and Sherman", I know which one I would choose.
Dreamworks animation have had a pretty poor run of late,with their last two releases, "Turbo" and "The Croods" being neither box office or critical hits and it's unlikely that "Mr Peabody and Sherman" is going to lift them out of that rut. Never mind there's always "How To Train Your Dragon 2" to come.
Mr Peabody & Sherman (U)
Director: Rob Minkoff
Starring: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Allison Janney, Stephen Colbert, Stephen Tobolowsky
UK Release: Friday 7th February 2014
Mr Peabody & Sherman - "Booby Trap" Clip
Mr Peabody & Sherman - "The WABAC" Clip