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. Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Leslie Mann, Stephen Colbert, and Allison Janney.
It is the first DreamWorks animated feature to feature characters from the Classic Media library since DreamWorks Animation's 2012 acquisition of Classic Media and the first to be based off a TV show. The film premiered on February 7, 2014 in the United Kingdom, and was released on March 7, 2014 in the United States. It grossed a worldwide total of $272 million on its $145 million budget.
Mr. Peabody is an anthropomorphic dog who is the smartest being in the world. As a pup, he was rejected by every potential owner, leading him to devote his life to science, athletics, and technological discoveries. One day, Peabody finds an orphaned infant and legally adopts him under the name of Sherman (age 7). He tutors Sherman through a series of adventures throughout history with the use of the WABAC (an acronym for Wavelength Acceleration Bidirectional Asynchronous Controller and pronounced as "way back"), a time machine and his greatest invention. After narrowly escaping the French Revolution, Sherman starts his first day at Susan B. Anthony School, and falls into conflict with classmate Penny Peterson, who he innocently showed up in history class with his first-hand knowledge of George Washington. Penny bullies and humiliates Sherman, insulting him by calling him a "dog" for being raised by one, which provokes Sherman into biting her. Peabody visits Principal Purdy about the matter, but is confronted by Ms. Grunion, a bigoted child and family services agent who threatens to reclaim Sherman if an upcoming home inspection is deemed unfit for him.
Peabody invites the Petersons over for a dinner party to mend fences between Sherman and Penny. While Peabody charms Paul and Patty, Sherman is left with Penny. Sherman reveals the WABAC to Penny after she calls him a liar about his first hand knowledge and they joyride in it, despite Peabody's warnings. Moments later, Sherman seeks Peabody's help to retrieve Penny, who refused to leave her engagement with King Tut in Ancient Egypt. Penny changes her mind when she learns Tut will die young and she will be executed and buried with him. Peabody and Sherman are trapped in a tomb. They escape and impersonate the god Anubis to call off the wedding. Their cover is blown at the last second, but they escape in the WABAC along with Penny.
With the WABAC low on energy, the three stop in Renaissance Florence to seek the aid of Mr. Peabody's old friend Leonardo da Vinci. While Peabody and Leonardo build a contraption to recharge the WABAC, Penny convinces Sherman to explore Leonardo's workshop with her and they bond by using Leonardo's flying machine without permission. They crash-land and Leonardo is thrilled that the machine worked but Peabody is angered at Penny for making Sherman do that. During the return trip to the present, Penny reveals Ms. Grunion's intention of reclaiming Sherman. An argument ensues between Peabody and Sherman while the WABAC draws near a black hole. They escape but crash-land in the Trojan War where an upset Sherman runs away to join the armies of King Agamemnon. When Peabody and Penny come to retrieve him in the Trojan Horse, they find themselves in the battle and Penny becomes trapped in the Trojan Horse as it races towards a cliff. In a rescue attempt, Sherman and Penny are saved, but Peabody appears to have gone down with the Trojan Horse and is presumed dead.
Desperate to save Peabody, Sherman and Penny return to the present minutes before Sherman returned the first time to get Peabody to remedy the situation. However, the present copies of Peabody and Sherman show up along with Ms. Grunion. She attempts to reclaim both Shermans, which causes them along with the copies of Peabody to merge and disrupt the space-time continuum. Ms. Grunion makes another attempt at reclaiming Sherman, hurting him in the process which causes an enraged Peabody to revert to his natural instinct and bite her. As Ms. Grunion informs the police, Peabody, Sherman, and Penny flee to the WABAC. They are unable to travel back in time as several historic figures and monuments rain down into the present. The WABAC eventually crashes in the street as the police converge on the WABAC. Peabody is apprehended by Animal Control who plan on euthanizing him for assaulting Ms. Grunion. Sherman protests by explaining that everything that happened is his fault and declares that he would rather be a dog as good as Peabody than a person. Moved by his speech, every historical figure present, the Petersons, and even the police officers concur. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Clinton support Peabody's legal custody of Sherman and award Peabody a presidential pardon while Sherman and Penny share a hug.
When a vortex in the space-time continuum rips open, Sherman pilots the WABAC while Peabody handles the computations intending to travel to the future by a few minutes and undo the damage with success. The historical figures and monuments return to their respective times with a smitten King Agamemnon dragging Ms. Grunion with him as she swears revenge on Peabody. Although it appears Peabody and Sherman are lost, they return spontaneously as the Petersons look on and celebrate. Sherman, closer to Peabody than ever, returns to Susan B. Anthony School where he has become good friends with Penny. In the final scene, the time periods are contaminated with modern traits while Ms. Grunion and King Agamemnon are engaged.
- Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody, a talking dog, business titan, inventor, scientist, Nobel laureate, gourmet chef, and two-time Olympic medalist.
- Max Charles as Sherman, Peabody's seven-year-old adopted boy.
- Ariel Winter as Penny Peterson, Mr. & Mrs. Peterson's daughter and Sherman's classmate.
- Stephen Colbert as Paul Peterson, Penny Peterson's father and Patty's husband.
- Leslie Mann as Patty Peterson, Paul's wife and Penny's mother.
- Allison Janney as Mrs. Grunion, the bigoted Children's Services agent.
- Stephen Tobolowsky as Principal Purdy, the principal of Sherman's school
- Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci
- Patrick Warburton as King Agamemnon
- Zach Callison as King Tut
- Dennis Haysbert as Judge
- Leila Birch as WABAC
- Karan Brar as Mason
- Steve Valentine as Ay, King Tut's vizier.
- Rob Minkoff as Creepy Boy
In addition to Leonardo da Vinci, King Agamemnon, and King Tut, the film features several historical figures including Albert Einstein (Mel Brooks), Mona Lisa (Lake Bell), Marie Antoinette (Lauri Fraser), Maximilien de Robespierre (Guillaume Aretos), George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton, Isaac Newton (all voiced by Jess Harnell), Odysseus (Tom McGrath), Ajax the Lesser (Al Rodrigo), and Spartacus (Walt Dohrn).
There are also non-dialogue cameos by Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, William Shakespeare, Ludwig van Beethoven, Vincent van Gogh, the Wright Brothers, Jackie Robinson, and baby Moses.
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.
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. 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, 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." 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."
In early 2011, Robert Downey, Jr. signed on to voice Mr. Peabody, but in March 2012, he was replaced by Ty Burrell. Reportedly, Downey's commitments to The Avengers and other franchises did not allow him to find the time to record his lines. 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. 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." 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."
Max Charles, the actor who played young Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man, voiced Sherman. Stephen Colbert voiced Paul Peterson, Leslie Mann, who replaced Ellie Kemper, voiced Peterson's wife, Patty, 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. 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."
Mr. Peabody & Sherman went through several release date changes. Originally scheduled for March 2014, DreamWorks Animation's high expectations moved the film to November 2013, replacing another DreamWorks Animation film Me and My Shadow. 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. The film premiered a month earlier in the United Kingdom, on February 7, 2014.
The film was planned to be theatrically accompanied with a DreamWorks Animation short film Rocky & Bullwinkle, 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. June Foray was set to reprise her role as Rocket "Rocky" J. Squirrel, while Tom Kenny was set to voice Bullwinkle Moose. The short would have served as a test for a possible feature film based on the characters. Almost Home, a short based on the upcoming DreamWorks Animation film Home, played before the film instead. However, the new Rocky & Bullwinkle short was instead released on the Blu-ray 3D release of the film.
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. The Blu-ray 3D release also included a new Rocky & Bullwinkle short film.
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." 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. Furthermore, the CinemaScore audience rating of the film is an "A", indicating they were pleased with the film.
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," 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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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 â" but not the sense of nuttiness that made the TV cartoon so delightful." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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 â" Hey! Get that sword out of my face! â" the movie will surely appeal to kids." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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." 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." 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." 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." 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." 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."
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. With a budget of $145 million, the film was a financial disappointment, forcing DreamWorks Animation to take a $57 million write-down on behalf of the film.
In North America, the film earned $8 million on its opening day, and opened to number two in its first weekend, with $32,207,057, behind 300: Rise of an Empire. In its second weekend, the film moved up to number one, grossing $21,809,249. In its third weekend, the film dropped to number three, grossing $11,832,558. In its fourth weekend, the film dropped to number four, grossing $9,070,635.
The film's score was composed by Danny Elfman. The soundtrack was released by Relativity Music Group on March 3, 2014. Peter Andre wrote and performed for the film a song titled "Kid", which is played during the end credits.
- Track listing
All music composed by Danny Elfman, except as noted.
According to The Animation Guild, I.A.T.S.E. Local 839, 78 episodes of a television series, were ordered. It is unknown if it will be based on the show or movie.
- Official website
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at the Internet Movie Database
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at the TCM Movie Database
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at Box Office Mojo
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman at Metacritic