Movie review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Sonia Mendes reviews the latest family-friendly animated adventure.

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If you didn’t grow up in the 60s and have your doubts about the appeal of an animated flick that features a ridiculously smart talking dog, do yourself—and the whole family—a big favour and take the risk.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman delivers a wacky, funny, hang-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat trip through time and history that will appeal to kids and parents alike—and having watched Peabody’s Improbable History segments on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show as a child is definitely not a prerequisite.

The premise:
Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a talking dog who’s so intelligent that he won the legal right to adopt Sherman (Max Charles), an orphaned baby boy. The pair live an incredible life—punctuated by frequent time-travel adventures around the world in Mr. Peabody’s time machine (called “the WABAC’)—until Sherman starts school. Teased by his classmate, Penny, for his unorthodox upbringing, Sherman retaliates and lands himself in trouble, raising questions about Mr. Peabody’s ability to raise a human child. As Mr. Peabody attempts to smooth relations with Penny’s parents, Sherman and Penny embark on a series of misadventures in the WABAC that threaten the space-time continuum.

What we loved about it:
1. The fast-paced storyline keeps kids engaged, while Mr. Peabody offers up witty puns and historical references that adults will appreciate.

2. History is presented as uber-cool through the characters’ time-travel visits to destinations such as ancient Egypt, Renaissance Florence and the Trojan War. Kids pick up on all sorts of fascinating tidbits about famous historical figures and events.

3. The movie’s underlying messages reminds us of the importance of staying true to ourselves and standing by those we love, and sheds positive light on the value of different kinds of blended families.

Scariness level:
There are a few brief scenes that might make young children jumpy. For example, while in ancient Egypt, Sherman grabs for Mr. Peabody’s hand—only to discover he’s holding the cold, brittle hand of a mummy. Many tension-filled scenes feature Mr. Peabody and Sherman running from danger and barely making it out of harm’s way.

Canadian rating: PG — Parental Guidance Advised

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