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Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated comic science fiction comedy film featuring the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The film was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film was directed by Rob Minkoff, who is best known for co-directing Disney's The Lion King (1994). Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino were the producers. Tiffany Ward, daughter of Jay Ward, one of the creators of the original series, was the executive producer.[6] Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, and Allison Janney.

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 Peabody's Improbable History
by Ted Key
Starring
Music by Danny Elfman[1]
Edited by Michael Andrews
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • February 7, 2014 (2014-02-07) (United Kingdom)[2]
  • March 7, 2014 (2014-03-07) (United States)[3]
Running time
92 minutes[4]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $145 million[5]
Box office $275.7 million[5]

It is the first DreamWorks animated feature to feature characters from the Classic Media library since DreamWorks Animation's 2012 acquisition of Classic Media[7] and the first to be based on 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.[3] Grossing a worldwide total of $275 million on its $145 million budget, the film underperformed at the box office, forcing a writedown of $57 million. A TV series based on the film, titled The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, premiered on Netflix on October 9, 2015.

Contents

PlotEdit

Mr. Peabody is a gifted anthropomorphic dog who has an adopted 7-year-old human son, Sherman. He tutors Sherman travelling throughout history using the WABAC, a time machine. They visit Marie Antoinette in Versailles during the French Revolution in 1789. Getting caught in the Reign of Terror, Peabody is nearly sent to the guillotine by Maximilien Robespierre, but escapes with Sherman through the Paris sewers.

In the present day, Sherman attends the Susan B. Anthony School in New York City. His knowledge of the apocryphal nature of the George Washington cherry-tree anecdote leads to a fight with Penny Peterson in the cafeteria where she puts him in a choke hold. Peabody is called in by Principal Purdy who tells Peabody that Sherman had bit Penny. He is also confronted during this meeting by Ms. Grunion, a Child Protective Services agent, who implies that Sherman's behavior is due to being raised by a dog. She informs Peabody that she will come to their home to investigate whether he is an unfit parent.

Peabody invites Penny and her parents over for a dinner party to reconcile before Ms. Grunion arrives. Penny calls Sherman a liar for claiming first-hand knowledge of history. Despite Peabody's contrary instructions, Sherman shows Penny the WABAC. Penny goads Sherman into taking her into the past, where she stays in Ancient Egypt in 1332 BCE to marry King Tut. Sherman returns to get Mr. Peabody's help. Peabody hypnotises the Petersons, and retrieves Penny by telling her the fate of a pharaoh's widow.

The WABAC runs out of power, but Peabody is able to get them to Renaissance Florence in 1508 where they meet Leonardo da Vinci. Penny and Sherman explore da Vinci's attic, finding his flying machine. Penny goads Sherman into flying it, which he manages to do before crashing. Da Vinci is thrilled the device works, but Peabody is upset that Sherman risked his safety and destroyed a historical artifact.

They again attempt to return, but a black hole forces them into an emergency landing during the Trojan War in 1184 BCE. Upset about learning what Ms. Grunion would do to him, Sherman runs off and joins the army of King Agamemnon in the Trojan Horse. During the final parts of the Trojan War, Penny is trapped inside the Horse as it rolls towards a cliff. Peabody rescues her, but apparently dies during the attempt.

Sherman pilots the WABAC to a few minutes before they left in the present to get Peabody's help to fix everything. As Sherman and Penny try to explain the situation, Sherman's earlier self shows up. Peabody tries to conceal the presence of two Shermans from the Petersons, then Grunion arrives. Then a second Peabody arrives from Ancient Troy. Grunion's attempt to collect both Shermans causes them to touch and begin to merge. Both Peabodys rush to assist, but they each merge back together amidst a cosmic shockwave. Grunion grabs Sherman to take him away, hurting him in the process. Peabody furiously bites Grunion, who then calls the NYPD. Peabody, Penny, and Sherman race to the WABAC, but cannot time travel due to a rip in the space-time continuum caused by the merger of their cosmic doubles. Historical figures and objects from the past begin falling from the cosmic rip and into the present.

Peabody crash-lands the WABAC in Grand Army Plaza at William Tecumseh Sherman's statue's base. Historical figures and police officers quickly surround them. Grunion calls in Animal Control to collect Peabody. Sherman explains that everything was his fault, but Grunion contends that it is all because a dog cannot raise a boy. Sherman climactically shouts down Grunion, saying that if being a dog means being as loving and loyal as Peabody is, then he is proud to be a dog too. Penny, her parents, the historical figures, and others all make the same pledge. George Washington is able to grant Peabody a presidential pardon which is supported by Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton.

As Peabody, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Agamemnon try to figure out how to close the rip, Sherman suggests they travel into the future. Peabody and Sherman take off in the WABAC and undo the damage. The historical figures are dragged back to their respective times, with Agamemnon abducting Grunion back to his own time as she vows revenge on Peabody.

Sherman returns to school having made friends with Penny. History meanwhile is contaminated with modern traits, while Grunion and Agamemnon get married in the Trojan Horse.

Voice castEdit

 
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 other historical figures including Albert Einstein (Mel Brooks),[21] Mona Lisa (Lake Bell),[12] Marie Antoinette (Lauri Fraser),[16] Maximilien de Robespierre (Guillaume Aretos),[16] George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, Isaac Newton (all voiced by Jess Harnell),[20] Odysseus (Tom McGrath),[20] Ajax the Lesser (Al Rodrigo)[20] and Spartacus (Walt Dohrn).[22] There are also cameos with no words by Benjamin Franklin,[23] Mahatma Gandhi,[24] William Shakespeare,[25] Ludwig van Beethoven,[25] Vincent van Gogh,[26] the Wright Brothers,[22] Jackie Robinson,[22] and baby Moses.[27]

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

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.[28]

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.[29] 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,[6] 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."[30] 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."[30]

CastingEdit

In early 2011, Robert Downey, Jr. signed on to voice Mr. Peabody,[31] 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.[32] 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.[32] 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."[32] 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."[32]

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."[30]

ReleaseEdit

Mr. Peabody & Sherman went through several release date changes. Originally scheduled for March 2014,[33][34] DreamWorks Animation's high expectations moved the film to November 2013, replacing another DreamWorks Animation film Me and My Shadow.[11][35] 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.[3] The film premiered a month earlier in the United Kingdom, on February 7, 2014.[36]

The film was planned[37] to be theatrically[38] accompanied with a DreamWorks Animation short film Rocky & Bullwinkle,[39] 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 Disney's Beauty and the Beast, produced by Nolan Cascino, and written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Garant.[39] June Foray was set to reprise her role as Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel,[39] while Tom Kenny was set to voice Bullwinkle Moose.[40] The short would have served as a test for a possible feature film based on the characters.[41] Almost Home, a short based on the DreamWorks Animation film Home, played before the film instead.[42] However, the new CGI Rocky & Bullwinkle short was instead released on the Blu-ray release of the film.[43]

Home mediaEdit

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.[44] The Blu-ray release also included a new CGI Rocky & Bullwinkle short film.[44] As of February 2015, 3.4 million home entertainment units were sold.[45]

ReceptionEdit

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 80% based on reviews from 122 critics, with an average rating of 6.6/10. 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."[46] 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.[47] Furthermore, the CinemaScore audience rating of the film is an "A", indicating they were pleased with the film.[48]

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,"[49] 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."[50] 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."[51] 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."[52] Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a B, 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."[53] 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."[54] 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."[21]

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."[55] 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."[56] 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."[57] 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."[58] 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."[59] 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."[60] 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."[61]

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."[62] 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."[63] 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."[64] 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."[65] 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."[66] 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."[67]

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."[68] 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."[69] 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."[70] 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."[71] 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."[72] 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 millennials than a prime example of how lazy marketing guys hold sway over what movies get made."[73]

Box officeEdit

Mr. Peabody & Sherman grossed $111,506,430 in North America, and $164,191,609 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $275,698,039[5] With a budget of $145 million,[5] the film underperformed, forcing DreamWorks Animation to take a $57 million write-down on behalf of the film.[74]

In North America, the film earned $8 million on its opening day,[75] and opened to number two in its first weekend, with $32,207,057, behind 300: Rise of an Empire.[76] In its second weekend, the film moved up to number one, grossing $21,809,249.[77] In its third weekend, the film dropped to number three, grossing $11,832,558.[78] In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing $9,070,635.[79]

AccoladesEdit

Awards
Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
Annie Award[80][81] 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[82] BAFTA Kid's Vote - Film in 2014 Nominated
Golden Trailer Awards[83] 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

SoundtrackEdit

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

The film's score was composed by Danny Elfman.[84] The soundtrack was released by Relativity Music Group on March 3, 2014.[85] Peter Andre wrote and performed for the film a song titled "Kid",[86][87] which is played during the British version of the end credits, instead of Grizfolk's "Way Back When".[88]

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 seriesEdit

An animated television series featuring Mr. Peabody and Sherman, titled The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, was premiered on October 9, 2015, on Netflix.[89] The series is based on the 1960s short film segments that aired as part of The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, and it also takes some elements from the film.[89] After being revealed as time travelers at the end of the film, Mr. Peabody and Sherman launch a live TV variety show, hosting various historical figures at their Manhattan penthouse.[89] The series is hand-drawn, with the Vancouver-based DHX Media providing the animation.[89] Mr. Peabody is voiced by Chris Parnell, while Max Charles reprises his role as Sherman from the film.[89] According to The Animation Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 839, 78 episodes of the television series have been ordered.[90] A soundtrack for the series was released digitally on October 2, 2015, and on CD in December 2015. Published by Lakeshore Records, the album features original score and the opening theme song by Eric Goldman and Michael Corcoran (aka The Outfit), and new original songs by Jukebox the Ghost, JD McPherson, Wordsworth and Prince Paul, and Ra Ra Riot.[91][92]

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