Saturday, 22 March 2014

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

I was looking forward to this. "Was" being the operative word.

Right, the trailers for this made the show look much better than it really was. So the show's based on an old cartoon from the 60s, about this super-intelligent Gary Stu dog that adopts a human boy and their time-travelling adventures. The trailers made this seem like a really good comedy. It's not. 

Okay, where do I start first...The characters are kinda flat and dull. Understandable since they come from a 60s cartoon and characterisation wasn't really a huge point in cartoons back then. But you can't just take 60s cartoon mechanics and transplant them into a modern animated film in the 2010s. Seriously, it does not work. Sherman is an incompetent goofball who basically can NOT do anything right. It's played up so often that instead of being funny, it just becomes annoying. Mr. Peabody is flat and lifeless, because apparently he's great at EVERYTHING and I do mean everything. However, that just becomes boring after a while. It doesn't help his voice is so damn flat either, and even when he delivers all those puns, his tone of voice doesn't change at all which means it kinda fails at making people laugh. 

Then there's Penny, who's Sherman's archrival and love interest. Say what? Aren't these human people like....7 years old? Yet, they don't act that way at all. Penny would have fit in PERFECTLY as a teenager in Mean Girls. Sherman too feels like he should have been in a teenage romcom instead with the way he acts around Penny. It seems like some Producer just decided 'okay, we need to insert some romance in this' and then decided to make the 7 year old children act and behave like teenagers to justify the romance without realising that they're only 7 years old. It just doesn't gel. 

I'm not saying there aren't any likable characters in the film. The issue is that the likable characters are the ones who appear in the time-travelling segments, like Leonardo DaVinci and Agamemnon. As such they really only appear for parts of the movie while you have to deal with a lackluster crew of main characters for the entire movie. 

And then there's Mr. Peabodys very very fucked up relationship with Sherman, his adopted son. Whom btw, he doesn't allow to call him dad even though Sherman wants to. They don't even resolve that at the end of the movie by having Sherman call him dad. Then there's the fact that we get hints Mr. Peabodys overprotective nature as well as his indirect constant putting-down of Sherman, is why Sherman is such an incompetent fuck-up. The best example of this is when Sherman is flying DaVincis experimental airplane with Penny and he's flying excellently but then Peabody sees him and says "Sherman!! What are you doing?!?! You can't fly!!" and suddenly Sherman goes "I can't??" and then the plane starts spiralling out of control.  Good job Peabody. To be fair, Peabody isn't a terrible person. Just a terrible father. 

Overall, this film wasn't anywhere near as good as the hype or trailer made it seem. Rather, it feels like a lot of disjointed segments that producers wanted to make and then they joined those together to make a movie. The issue is that there are a lot of funny scenes in the movie but you can't JUST have a movie filled with some funny scenes and nothing else? The best way I can describe this is this is what it would be like if people took several standalone cartoon episode plots, mashed them into a movie, added the very basics of a storyline and then added some independent funny scenes and hit blend. What comes out is something that will probably only really have lasting appeal to very young children. Very very young children.