Mr Peabody and Sherman

Animated delight

This is an American computer-generated science fiction film that is based on segments of the 1960s animated television comedy series, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

It depicts the adventures of Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell), who is a talking dog with an adopted son called Sherman (voiced by Max Charles).

On the first day back at school, Sherman, who is only seven years of age, gets into a fight with a fellow-pupil, Penny Peterson. A cranky school counsellor, Mrs Grunion, who works for the Bureau of Child Safety and Protection, puts Mr Peabody on notice that Sherman may be taken away from him because of the incident.

The whole situation is a zany reversal of ordinary expectations. This film is about a caring dog who is father to an adopted boy, and the film explores the values of good parenthood by projecting them from dog to human, and human to dog. It is an intriguing device that works.

This is a cartoon comedy that is much more than a film built simply around fantasy action-adventure. The comic sweep into history is inventive. The film's choice of fictional figures in the time machine's return to the past has appeal. Adults will have familiarity with the figures the film introduces, and there is some witty dialogue that older persons will enjoy, such as 'you don't want to be in Oedipus's house over the holidays; it's awkward'.

The movie is very positive in the family values it endorses, and it interestingly offers a good opportunity for children to be exposed to the historical past by viewing events that their parents would have learnt about at other times.

Seeing the film together, just might stimulate useful and educational conversations between parent and child about what has happened in the past, and what is occurring entertainingly on the screen. And parents might be needed to explain the film's many witty asides.

- Peter Sheehan, ACOFB

Voiced by: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, and Allison Janney. Directed by Rob Minkoff. Rated PG (Mild themes and animated violence). 97 min.

Mr Peabody & Sherman

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