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November 01, 2014

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'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' Review Roundup: Critics Surprised By Top-Notch Cartoon Reboot

'Mr. Peabody & Sherman' Review Roundup: Critics Surprised By Top-Notch Cartoon Reboot

03/08/2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman, a nostalgic reboot of a 1960s cartoon duo, follows Peabody and Sherman as they travel through time and then try to repair the space-time continuum.

The plot takes Peabody, a Nobel Prize winner and overwhelmed father, on a trip to fix what he broke during some leisure travel. In order to repair the damage, Peabody passes through history – hitting up Ancient Egypt, Florence during the Renaissance, the Trojan War and the French Revolution. Both Tutankhamen and Vincent Van Gogh make guest appearances.

Voicing Peabody is Modern Family’s Ty Burrell. Burrell’s costar in the series, Ariel Winter, voices Penny Peterson. Stephen Colbert, Alison Janney, Max Charles and Leslie Mann round out the top-billed voice actors.

Critics On ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’

Critics were naturally nervous that the beloved pair that came to be on the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show wouldn't be ably adapted to the big screen – but most were pleasantly surprised with the animated feature recreation of Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

A smart, snappy CG-animated adaptation of the 1960s' "Peabody's Improbable History" segments of the classic Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon series, Mr. Peabody & Sherman has a cool, midcentury-modern look (dog and boy live in a populuxe Manhattan penthouse) and a voice cast that may not be A-list but fits the bill nicely. Modern Family's Ty Burrell is just right as the aloof, erudite Peabody. As Sherman, The Neighbors' Max Charles brings the playfulness, and insecurities, of a 7-year-old to life. And Ariel Winter (Alex in Modern Family) is Penny, the prissy classmate who takes an immediate dislike to the know-it-all nerd. – Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“I needn’t have worried. The prospect of a feature-length Mr. Peabody & Sherman made me nervous, since the Sahara-dry humor that made the old Jay Ward cartoon unique is all but absent from today’s animated efforts. […] What a relief to see that while Mr. Peabody’s visuals are enhanced to sleek 21st-century standards, the essential charm of the series survives more or less intact. In this telling, sophisticated, sarcastic Peabody, an outcast brainiac in his youth, adopts human foundling Sherman to give him the family he never had as a pup.” – Colin Covert, The Star Tribune

Against all odds, DreamWorks Animation has created a smart, funny and beautifully designed feature called Mr. Peabody and Sherman out of the Rocky’s egment Peabody’s Improbable History, in which a hyperintelligent beagle and his adopted human son travel through time and meet famous personages. Rob Minkoff (who co-directed The Lion King) and his team offer a pleasingly retro-style contemporary Manhattan and historical settings, which put the crude original animation to shame. – Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

Luckily, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, about a supersmart dog and his adopted human son, breaks the curse and respects the nutty, nerdy humor of the original. This DreamWorks Animation production, directed by Rob Minkoff (Stuart Little, The Lion King) from a screenplay by Craig Wright, is not perfect, but it is fast-moving, intermittently witty and pretty good fun. – A.O Scott, The New York Times

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is currently in wide release.

– Chelsea Regan

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