Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)

These characters are based on the wholly American cartoon show 'The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show', a cartoon that has never really been shown that much within the UK (I believe). In all honesty I can understand why because even though I'm not entirely knowledgeable on the series I have seen it here and there...and it wasn't very good really. The main reasons being the cartoon is pretty old and dated both culturally and visually, the animation has that sparse Hanna-Barbera look which I never really liked that much and the main characters just don't really appeal, but that's just me.

As for Mr. Peabody and Sherman I haven't really seen much of these characters at all, I don't recall them in any way, ditto Dudley Do-Right. So I went into this film not really knowing what to expect other than the fact it was a kids flick and it looked colourful. Seeing as these two characters adventures revolved around time travel originally its no surprise that this movie goes down the same route...duh! So naturally we are sent on a head spinning trek across time and space...albeit a pretty convoluted trek.

Yes the whole time travel idea is a tad mundane these days, you can only do so much really and we've seen it many times before. Many of the usual locations turn up such as Egypt, Ancient Greece (probably down to recent popularity with the 300 movies) and a few European countries. Most of the famous historical figures the duo meet are the regular bunch we always tend to see in time travel movies...George Washington, Abe Lincoln and Albert Einstein *yawn*. Despite all the predictable unoriginal cookie cutter themes and the story being quite messy I actually really enjoyed it, in fact the convoluted plot made the film more enjoyable I think, more zany, more interesting and in places a little intense.

I find it funny that the entire adventure happens mainly because Sherman gets bullied by a little girl in his class. Gotta remind myself I'm watching a kids movie all the time, like the whole idea that a dog can adopt a human child! even in a cartoon world that seems kinda odd. Yes Mr. Peabody is a super intelligent dog and ranks above many humans but he's still an animal, just feels strange, on top of that why does he insist on Sherman calling him Mr. Peabody? That relationship throughout the film felt strained to me, I couldn't feel any emotion between them and it reflected on me connecting with them both. Sherman does indeed feel more like a pet to Peabody even thought they both connect on a more loving parental level in the end. Am I looking into this too much?

There are some lovely CGI visuals that are bright bold and highly colourful. Ancient Italy especially looks super lovely where as the Trojan horse sequence not only looks good but is very amusing thanks to the ever hilarious Patrick Warburton and his perfect vocals. Seriously was that guy born for animated voice acting or what! Unsurprisingly all the sequences set back in time look really good and very slick, once we reach the present day things get less eye catching naturally, we all know what the present day looks like huh.

All in all I can't deny it does feel a little formulaic with the nonsensical science tomfoolery and jargon thrown at you from every angle, the kind of flashy pretty looking and hi-tech sounding stuff that looks and sounds good on screen but no one really knows what they're on about. We see this often in kids fantasy flicks. I still don't quite get why the vortex at the end starts spitting out various random famous historical landmarks and monuments and then when its reversed it sucks them all back up conveniently...don't question it, don't question the space-time continuum rip thingy. Anyway the movie is a hoot all the way through with, I think, some good quirky eye candy, fun sight gags and fun verbal.