Mr. Peabody & Sherman

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Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Mr Peabody & Sherman Poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Rob Minkoff
Produced by Alex Schwartz
Denise Nolan Cascino
Screenplay by Craig Wright
Based on Mr. Peabody and Sherman 
by Ted Key
Starring Ty Burrell
Max Charles
Ariel Winter
Music by Danny Elfman[1]
Edited by Michael Andrews
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • February 7, 2014 (2014-02-07) (United Kingdom)[2]
  • March 7, 2014 (2014-03-07) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $145 million[4]
Box office $272.9 million[4]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated comic science fiction film featuring the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. It is produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Rob Minkoff, who is most famous for co-directing The Lion King, is the director, and Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino are the producers. Tiffany Ward, daughter of Jay Ward, one of the creators of the original series, is the executive producer.[5] Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles and Ariel Winter.

It is the first DreamWorks animated feature to feature characters from the Classic Media library since DreamWorks Animation's 2012 acquisition of Classic Media[6] and the first to be based off a TV show. The film premiered on February 7, 2014 in the United Kingdom,[2] and was released on March 7, 2014 in the United States.[7] It grossed a worldwide total of $272 million on its $145 million budget.

Plot[edit]

Mr. Peabody is a gifted anthropomorphic dog, dedicating his life to science and technological discovers after failing to be taken as a pet. He adopts a 7-year-old boy, Sherman, after finding the child orphaned. He tutors Sherman through a series of adventures throughout history with the use of the WABAC, a time machine.

With Sherman growing older, Mr. Peabody enrolls him at the Susan B. Anthony School in New York City. Sherman's first-hand knowledge of historical events leads to conflict with his a bully, Penny Peterson, and when she teases him in the cafeteria, he bit her. Mr. Peabody is called in, informed of the incident by Principal Purdy, and is told by Ms. Grunion, a Child Protective Services agent that she will be reviewing Mr. Peabody's care of Sherman in an upcoming home inspection, threatening to give him the boy if Peabody is not proven to be a good parent.

Mr. Peabody arranges for the Petersons to visit during the home inspection as a way to make up to them as to help impress Ms. Grunion when she arrives. While Mr. Peabody entertains Penny's parents, she convinces Sherman to take her to see the WABAC to prove out his first-hand knowledge of history, despite Mr. Peabody's instructions to keep the machine a secret. Sherman is coaxed into taking Penny into the past, and accidentally strands her in Ancient Egypt, as she wanted to leave. Sherman, returning to the present, informs Mr. Peabody of the problem, and after temporarily brainwashing Penny's parents, he joins Sherman. They rescue Penny, who is much more willing to come after learning she would be killed and entombed with the young King Tut when he dies.

The WABAC runs out of power on the way back, but Mr. Peabody is able to get them to Renaissance Florence where they meet his old friend, Leonardo da Vinci. While Mr. Peabody and da Vinci construct a machine to restore power to the WABAC, Penny and Sherman explore da Vinci's attic, finding his flying machine. Penny again goads Sherman to fly it, which he manages to do before crashing it. Though da Vinci is thrilled the device works, Mr. Peabody is upset at Sherman for disrespecting his orders. With the WABAC recharged, the three attempt to return to the present, but a black hole forces them to make an emergency landing during the Trojan War. Sherman, already upset, runs off and joins the armies of King Agamemnon as they prepare the Trojan Horse. During the ensuing battle, Sherman is trapped on the Horse as it about to fall off a cliff, but Mr. Peabody is able to rescue him, though appears to die as the Horse topples over the side.

Sherman, aware that encountering other versions of themselves can damage the time stream, sends the WABAC to a few minutes before they left in the present as to get Mr. Peabody's help to fix everything. As Sherman and Penny try to explain everything, Sherman's earlier self shows up as well as Ms. Grunion. Seeing the confusion, Ms. Grunion attempts to collect both Shermans. Mr. Peabody, furious, bites Ms. Gruinion, who calls the cops and grabs both Shermans, causing them to touch and merge into one - this action creates a rip in the space-time continuum that opens over Mr. Peabody's penthouse, sending historical figures falling onto the present. Mr. Peabody and Sherman race for the WABAC, but find they cannot travel back into time as all the paths lead back to the present.

Unable to stop the rip, the WABAC falls back to the ground, and cops quickly surround the vehicle and Animal Control is called in to restrain Mr. Peabody. Sherman explains that everything was his fault, but admits he admires Mr. Peabody and would rather be called a dog as good as he is, than to be a person. The others, include Penny and her parents, and many of the historical figures they have met agree. Mr. Peabody is given an official pardon by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Clinton. Mr. Peabody and the other historical figures try to figure out how to close the tear when Sherman suggests they travel into the future, which should undo the rip. Mr. Peabody and Sherman take off in the WABAC and successfully undo the damage, with the historical figures being dragged back to the respective times. Ms. Gruinon vows revenge on Mr. Peabody until King Agamemnon grabs her and takes her back to his his time. In the epilogue, Sherman returns to school and has made friends with Penny and the other students, with Mr. Peabody proud of the boy he raised.

In the final scene, the time periods are contaminated with modern traits while Ms. Grunion and King Agamemnon are engaged in the Trojan Horse as the Carpet Sweeper follows behind it.

Voice cast[edit]

Ariel Winter and Ty Burrell at the film's Australian premiere in Sydney.

In addition to Leonardo da Vinci, King Agamemnon, and King Tut, the film features several historical figures including Albert Einstein (Mel Brooks),[20] Mona Lisa (Lake Bell),[12] Marie Antoinette (Lauri Fraser),[15] Maximilien de Robespierre (Guillaume Aretos),[15] George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, Isaac Newton (all voiced by Jess Harnell),[19] Odysseus (Tom McGrath),[19] Ajax the Lesser (Al Rodrigo),[19] and Spartacus (Walt Dohrn).[21]

French Peasants voiced by Adam Alexi-Malle, Kim Bubbs, Walt Dohrn, and Nicholas Guest.

Historical cameos[edit]

There are also non-dialogue cameos by Benjamin Franklin,[22] Mahatma Gandhi,[23] William Shakespeare,[24] Ludwig van Beethoven,[24] Vincent van Gogh,[25] the Wright Brothers,[21] Jackie Robinson,[21] and baby Moses.[26]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Plans for a film starring Mister Peabody and Sherman have existed for several years with director Rob Minkoff. His first attempt to make a feature film goes to 2003, when it was reported that Minkoff's Sony-based production company Sprocketdyne Entertainment and Bullwinkle Studios would produce a live-action/CG film, with a possibility of Minkoff to direct it.[27]

The live-action film was not realized, but in 2006, Minkoff joined DreamWorks Animation to direct a computer-animated film adaptation. Andrew Kurtzman was set to write the screenplay, based on the pitch, developed by Minkoff with his longtime producing partner Jason Clark.[28] The final screenplay was written by Craig Wright, with revisions by Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon.

Tiffany Ward, daughter of Jay Ward, one of the creators of the original series, served as an executive producer,[5] whose job was to make sure the film stayed "true to the integrity of the characters." When she was approached by Minkoff ten years before the film's release, she was enthused by his intention to respect the legacy: "What better caretaker for the characters could we ask for than Rob."[29] Lengthy pursuit to make the adaptation "perfect" took them a long time, but she was pleased with the end result, which stayed "very true to the original cartoon."[29]

Casting[edit]

In early 2011, Robert Downey, Jr. signed on to voice Mr. Peabody,[30] but in March 2012, he was replaced by Ty Burrell.[8] Reportedly, Downey's commitments to The Avengers and other franchises did not allow him to find the time to record his lines.[31] Initially, Tiffany Ward and others at the studio opposed Burrell, who was then relatively unknown, but he managed to convince them with a successful audition.[31] Ward insisted on someone who sounds like Mr. Peabody did in the original series, while Minkoff saw the casting as an opportunity "to modernize the character."[31] He promised her that Burrell would try to "get there and he started watching the show to nail the cadence. He got the underlying connection and he made it his own."[31]

Max Charles, the actor who played young Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, voiced Sherman.[8] Stephen Colbert voiced Paul Peterson, Leslie Mann, who replaced Ellie Kemper, voiced Peterson's wife, Patty,[12] and Ariel Winter voiced their daughter Penny. Other voices include Stephen Tobolowsky, Allison Janney, Mel Brooks, Stanley Tucci, Patrick Warburton, Lake Bell, Zach Callison, Karan Brar, and Dennis Haysbert.[11] According to Minkoff, Burrell was chosen because his voice "embodied all the different aspects of the character today. Not just the intellect and the suave personality, but the underlying warmth as well."[29]

Release[edit]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman went through several release date changes. Originally scheduled for March 2014,[32][33] DreamWorks Animation's high expectations moved the film to November 2013, replacing another DreamWorks Animation film Me and My Shadow.[11][34] The last shift happened in February 2013, which pushed the film back to March 7, 2014, reportedly due to a "more advantageous release window", again replacing Me and My Shadow.[7] The film premiered a month earlier in the United Kingdom, on February 7, 2014.[35]

The film was planned[36] to be theatrically[37] accompanied with a DreamWorks Animation short film Rocky & Bullwinkle,[38] based on the Rocky and Bullwinkle characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The short was directed by Gary Trousdale, who is known for co-directing Beauty and the Beast, produced by Nolan Cascino, and written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Garant.[38] June Foray was set to reprise her role as Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel,[38] while Tom Kenny was set to voice Bullwinkle Moose.[39] The short would have served as a test for a possible feature film based on the characters.[40] Almost Home, a short based on the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Home, played before the film instead.[41] However, the new Rocky & Bullwinkle short was instead released on the Blu-ray 3D release of the film.[42]

Home media[edit]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman was released in digital HD on September 23, 2014, and on Blu-ray (2D and 3D) and DVD on October 14, 2014.[43] The Blu-ray 3D release also included a new Rocky & Bullwinkle short film.[43]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 79% based on reviews from 120 critics, with an average rating of 6.6/10, giving it "Certified Fresh" status. The site's consensus reads: "Mr. Peabody & Sherman offers a surprisingly entertaining burst of colorful all-ages fun, despite its dated source material and rather convoluted plot."[44] Another review aggregation website, Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 59 out of 100 based on 34 reviews.[45] Furthermore, the CinemaScore audience rating of the film is an "A", indicating they were pleased with the film.[46]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said: "(The film) takes a little while for the audience to get up to speed, but once this is achieved, there's an awful lot of unexpected fun to be had,"[47] while Mark Kermode of the sister paper The Observer declared, "Pleasant to report, then, that DreamWorks' latest offers a fairly consistent stream of sight gags and vocal slapstick, even as the plot veers wildly down a wormhole in the time-space continuum."[48] Kevin McFarland of The A.V. Club gave the film a C+, saying, "Unlike the whimsical, slapstick-driven shorts on which it's based, this feature-length adaptation adds an obligatory emotional arc that feels at odds with the zany spirit of historical time-travel tales."[49] A. O. Scott of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying, "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."[50] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of five stars, saying, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a whip-smart, consistently funny and good-natured film with some terrific voice performances and one of the most hilarious appearances ever by an animated version of a living human being."[51] Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman is lively, educational and intermittently amusing. The fun, however, grows strained and formulaic as the movie goes on."[52] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two out of four stars, saying, "The film's animation design is strictly generic in its rounded edges and dutiful 3-D IN YOUR FACE!!! gimmicks. And the story gets off to such a sour start, it takes a long time for the comedy to recover."[20]

Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying, "It retains the main characters, the WABAC machine, the trips through history – but not the sense of nuttiness that made the TV cartoon so delightful."[53] Colin Covert of the Star Tribune gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "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."[54] Elizabeth Weitzman of New York Daily News gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Burrell doesn't quite capture the wry deadpan of the original, but then, neither does the movie. That's okay."[55] Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy this visually splendid, fast-paced blast through the past."[56] Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a negative review, saying, "For all the ways the film reflects its earlier TV incarnation, the shadings have been softened. Mr. Peabody could use a bit more bite."[57] Soren Anderson of The Seattle Times gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Frantically paced by director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) and making very effective use of 3D – Hey! Get that sword out of my face! – the movie will surely appeal to kids."[58] Rafer Guzman of Newsday gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "The movie has trouble stitching together disjointed episodes into a coherent narrative. Thanks to a strong voice cast, however, the characters retain their charm throughout."[59]

Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying, "The film's saving grace is its character design and use of 3D techniques to speed things up in every sense when the plot starts to flag."[60] Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying, "Mr. Peabody is fast-paced and jammed with rib-poking historical references, but it couldn't be called witty, even on the broadly winking level of the original cartoon."[61] Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Fifty years ago, animated entertainment was a lot quieter. But that was my Mr. Peabody & Sherman. This is someone else's. And it should give them, and even a few open-minded parents, almost just as much giggly fun."[62] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B, saying, "Mr. Peabody & Sherman has a zesty time mixing and matching historical figures, from Marie Antoinette to George Washington. Yet the movie never, to my mind, conjured quite the quirky effervescence of such brainiac animated features as the Jimmy Neutron or SpongeBob SquarePants movies."[63] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film one out of four stars, saying, "By visual standards alone, the characters, rendered in eye-popping 3-D, resemble nothing so much as Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats. They're just as lifeless and inexpressive, too."[64] Sean Daly of the Tampa Bay Times gave the film a B, saying, "Before getting sucked into a what-the-wormhole ending that will scramble young brains, time-travel romp Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a fast, fun 3-D getaway."[65]

Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "Against all odds, DreamWorks Animation has created a smart, funny and beautifully designed feature called Mr. Peabody & Sherman."[66] Tom Huddleston of Time Out gave the film two out of five stars, saying, "This feature-length Mr Peabody & Sherman is by no means unbearable: there are a few decent gags, and the episodic plot just about manages to hold the interest. But there's little here for any but the most easy-to-please youngsters."[67] Eric Henderson of Slant Magazine gave the film one and a half stars out of four, saying, "The film spent roughly a dozen years in development, and the moronic, corporate detritus from that long time warp is strewn about like so many improbable history lessons."[68] Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film three out of four stars, saying, "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."[69] David Gritten of The Daily Telegraph gave the film four out of five stars, saying, "It's sweet-natured and amusing, with a story to captivate kids; yet the script has enough witty touches to keep adults laughing too."[70] Perry Seibert, writing for AllMovie, gave the movie two stars out of five, calling the movie "long, loud, and visually exhausting" and saying that it "feels less like an attempt to update a boomer classic for millenials than a prime example of how lazy marketing guys hold sway over what movies get made."[71]

Box office[edit]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman grossed $111,506,430 in North America, and $161,406,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $272,912,430.[4] With a budget of $145 million,[4] the film was a financial disappointment, forcing DreamWorks Animation to take a $57 million write-down on behalf of the film.[72]

In North America, the film earned $8 million on its opening day,[73] and opened to number two in its first weekend, with $32,207,057, behind 300: Rise of an Empire.[74] In its second weekend, the film moved up to number one, grossing $21,809,249.[75] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number three, grossing $11,832,558.[76] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing $9,070,635.[77]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
Annie Award[78][79] Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production Fangwei Lee, Krzysztof Rost, Jihyun Yoon, Robert Chen Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Timothy Lamb, Joe Moshier Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production Danny Elfman Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production David James, Ruben Perez, Priscilla Wong, Timothy Lamb, Alexandre Puvilland Nominated
British Academy Children's Awards[80] BAFTA Kid's Vote - Film in 2014 Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[81] Best Original Score "Who's the Dog", 20th Century Fox, Buddha Jones Nominated
Best Animation/Family TV Spot Nominated
Best Pre-show Theatrical Advertising for a Brand "Odeon Premier Club", 20th Century Fox, Toy Box Entertainment Nominated
Best Viral Video or Campaign "History Greatest Mystery", 20th Century Fox, Toy Box Entertainment Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Soundtrack album by Danny Elfman
Released March 3, 2014
Recorded 2014
Genre Film score
Length 50:10
Label Relativity Music Group
Producer Hugh Jackman
Danny Elfman film scores chronology
American Hustle
(2013)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
(2014)
Big Eyes
(2014)

The film's score was composed by Danny Elfman.[82] The soundtrack was released by Relativity Music Group on March 3, 2014.[83] Peter Andre wrote and performed for the film a song titled "Kid", which is played during the end credits.[84]

Track listing

All music composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted.

No. Title Length
1. "Mr. Peabody’s Prologue"   3:19
2. "Reign of Terror!"   2:48
3. "The Drop Off"   1:14
4. "The Dog Whistle"   0:48
5. "The Cherry Tree"   0:59
6. "A Deep Regard"   0:52
7. "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)" (John Lennon) 3:51
8. "Dinner Party"   0:30
9. "The Petersons / The Wabac Machine"   3:08
10. "Aquarela do Brasil"   0:47
11. "Off to Egypt"   2:07
12. "The Wedding Exodus"   1:05
13. "Hammer-Time"   0:57
14. "The Flying Machine"   4:42
15. "Trojan Horse"   3:25
16. "War / Disaster"   3:32
17. "History Mash-Up"   4:33
18. "I'm a Dog Too"   3:41
19. "Fixing the Rip"   2:13
20. "Back to School"   1:16
21. "Aquarela do Brasil (Coda)"   1:03
22. "The Amazing Mr. Peabody"   0:34
23. "Way Back When" (Grizfolk) 2:46
Total length:
50:10

Television series[edit]

According to The Animation Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 839, 78 episodes of a television series, were ordered.[85] It is unknown if it will be based on the show or movie.

References[edit]

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