Cartoon Adventure Educates, Entertains

Step aside all other cartoon comedies. “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” has just become my new favorite.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman” is a revamp of the 1950s shorts “Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History,” shown on “Rocky and his Friends.” While I haven’t seen the original, I am convinced that this version is just as good, if not better.

The movie focuses on super- genius dog Mr. Peabody, voiced by Ty Burrell and his adopted human son, Sherman, voiced by Max Charles.

Together, they tackle moments in history first hand with Peabody’s time traveling device, the Wayback Machine (WABAC). However, Sherman finds himself challenged with an even greater adventure – school. It seems that not everyone thinks having a dog for a father is cool because Sherman is bullied by the precocious and insufferably annoying Penny, voiced by Ariel Winters. When the taunting becomes too much, Sherman reacts with some dog- like tendencies, which prompts Social Services to open a case threatening to take Sherman away from Mr. Peabody.

Things become complicated when Penny and her parents come to the Peabody home for dinner, and meddling Penny coerces Sherman into taking her back in time through the WABAC. Their adventures get them stuck in the past, and ultimately lead to a hole in the space-time continuum. It is
up to Peabody to save the day and show everyone that dogs can be good parents too.

This movie is one of the first I have seen that brilliantly infuses comedy and history lessons for children. As Sherman and Peabody travel together in time, kids learn about ancient Egypt, Renaissance Italy, the French Revolution and ancient Troy. Important historical figures, such as Leonardo de Vinci, Robespierre, King Tut and Marie Antoinette come to life, teaching children in a way no history lesson can.

While I wonder whether some of Peabody’s extensive vocabulary would simply go over the heads of younger children, I know they would not miss the important lessons in the movie. “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” teaches children about believing in yourself, the importance of family and not being ashamed of where you come from.

For college students who feel cartoons are beneath them, this movie contains enough intellectual stimulation to keep adults entertained and comedy to keep kids amused. Though I am still slightly confused as to what world would allow a dog to adopt a human, I found Peabody and Sherman’s relationship to be endearing. It just goes to show that the bond between a boy and his dog can be just as strong as the bond between a dog and his boy.

“Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” directed by Rob Minkoff, is rated PG for mild action and brief crude humor and is playing at Cinemark Town Centre in Conway.

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