Sunday, March 30, 2014

Movie Review: Mr Peabody and Sherman

When I first saw the poster for a movie based around Mr Peabody and Sherman I was a little horrified. Another damn movie taking a children's property and royally screwing it up. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that the movie, if done right, might actually be really good. So I held out hope and dread both.

The source material was more of a test of your historical knowledge than educational material. It took history and messed around with it as well as throwing in some horrible puns.

This new movie does mess with history a bit, but does try to stick closer to historical fact than my memory of the original cartoon did. Still, while it does point out that George Washington didn't cut down a cherry tree it does claim that Marie Antoinette said "Let them eat cake" which just isn't true. Or, if she did ever say it, she wasn't the person who originated it.

And they try to keep the horrible, horrible puns.

What you get with this movie is essentially "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" for kids. I was 14 when "Bill and Ted" came out. Mom took me to see it. I didn't get all the jokes at the time. Specifically "69, dude!" But the historical figures I knew. Alas, when I showed it to the neighbor kids a few years back, they were 16 or 17 at the time, and they didn't know half the people in the movie. They had some idea who Freud was, but didn't get his jokes. Some of the others it was like watching Captain America actually catching a reference. "Dude! I got that!" Alas, the 10 year old (or so) girl sitting two seats over from me had the same problem with "Peabody and Sherman". She didn't know who those people were or anything about them.

Even so, I would recommend taking your kids to see this movie. You'll likely get the historical jokes and your kids... even if they don't get the jokes they'll remember some of the names. When this stuff does finally come up they'll remember the movie and be better able to store and retrieve what they learn in class. I mean there's plenty of historical and scientific issues that stuck with me because of Monty Python or the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Star Trek. How much classical music do you know because of Bugs Bunny?

I should warn you that after a good strong start the movie slows down a bit. They have to send Sherman off to school for a good adversary and start to screw up their lives before they finally get in the way-back machine, again. Because, really, what do we know about these two characters other than that they have a time machine and a fondness for puns.

I wouldn't be surprised if Peabody and Sherman end up with their own cartoon. Bill and Ted did and Peabody and Sherman started there in the first place.

All that said, I probably won't be getting it on DVD soon. When I do it will be to show it to others more than to watch it myself.

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