Saturday, 8 February 2014

Review: Mr Peabody & Sherman

World of Blackout Film Review

Mr. Peabody & Sherman Poster

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (3D)
Cert: U / 92 mins / Dir. Rob Minkoff
WoB Rating: 3/7

What's it going to take to get someone to write a decent time-travel comedy these days, animated or otherwise? Last year's Free Birds had little-to-no idea how to mine the format properly, and now Mr Peabody & Sherman fails in the same areas for the same reasons. The film is an affable enough adventure-yarn for the first two acts, but lacks anything remotely special. By the time the writers have remembered that a central conceit of the story is a time machine, things actually start to become interesting, albeit in their final push.

The animation's pretty sweet*1, (even if the character and set-design are strictly generic) but the unambitious story and scripting left me with the feeling that the film just isn't trying. There's plenty here for an undemanding audience with slapstick and chase sequences, but the deadpan puns and one-liners delivered by Mr. Peabody fall distinctly flat. Even the knowing asides from various historical characters feel like they've been shoehorned in as an attempt to resonate with the parents/guardians, or Make History Cool™ (although the Oedipus reference was good, I'll give them that).

If you're looking for an animated comedy with something for all ages, the Despicable Me, Monsters Inc and Wreck-It Ralph series still rule the roost. If you're looking for zany time-travel cartoon, you should probably give Bill & Ted or Back To The Future a try.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
I suppose it is, yeah.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Not really.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not by a long shot.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
This is a Sunday afternoon DVD with your small ones.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There isn't. I'm starting to think it's been outlawed, or something.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
*1 For those of you who've seen it in 3D: was the ghosting really bad on background objects for you? I thought it was a projector-fault at our cinema (it's happened before), but the staff member I told swore blind it was displaying properly. I'm used to badly rendered 3D in live-action, but I've never seen it this sloppy in an animated feature before.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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