Mr Peabody and Sherman
U: Animation
Dir: Rob Minkoff
Cast: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert

The first question that popped into my head after watching Mr Peabody and Sherman was simply this — why isn’t anyone talking about this movie?

A still from 'Mr Peabody and Sherman'
A still from 'Mr Peabody and Sherman'

Based on the segments in the ’60s cartoon, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Mr Peabody and Sherman is a heck of a lot of fun for both kids and adults. Either this was a case of bad marketing or cutbacks on expenditure from Dreamworks, because I had not heard of the film or seen the trailers before stepping into the theatre to watch it. That probably helped its case because the film turned out to be much, much more than what I expected.

The film stars Mr Peabody (voiced by Modern Family’s Ty Burrell) as a genius talking dog, who fathers a genius boy named Sherman (voiced by Max Charles, the young Spiderman). And it’s not as weird, goofy or childish as you think it is — the film goes deeper than you think — if a boy can adopt a dog in this world, why can’t a dog adopt a boy? With that existential question established quickly, Mr Peabody and Sherman becomes a blazingly fun time travel movie, where the duo zip from one time-zone to another and mess up the space-time continuum. It does remind you of Back to the Future a lot of times, but there’s no way you can dislike the film for that.

The film is directed by Rob Minkoff, the director of The Lion King and Stuart Little, and it shows. There’s a lot of heart in the film and more effort put to infuse soul into it than on animation (although it’s still a visually dazzling film). The sense of childlike wonder found in Minkoff’s earlier films is omnipresent here, as is the thirst for adventure and the themes of parenthood.

And because of the film’s time travel plot device, the filmmakers get to let their collective imagination run wild — you get to meet Da Vinci and know the hilarious secret behind Mona Lisa’s smile, you get to know what really happened with the Trojan horse, you get to know why the Egyptian King Tut was a miserable loner. It’s all fast-paced and exciting and it’s quite hard to find anything to dislike here.

The only jarring thing is the 3D, which yet again mars the experience rather than enhance it — it’s about time 3D went away from our culture and was replaced with something that genuinely makes a film grander than usual. Like IMAX, for instance.