Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Beyond being a great scientist, Mr. Peabody was also a great father. Yet he had to discover the importance of saying “I love you” to his son, something that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Mr. Peabody and ShermanLike many kids growing up in the 1950’s, I fell madly in love with the cartoon show featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle. Lasting from 1959 through 1964, creator Jay Ward brought us some memorable characters with Dudley Do-Right and his girlfriend Nell; their enemy Snidely Whiplash and the conniving Natasha Fatale and Boris Badenov. However, my champions have always been Mr. Peabody and his adopted son, Sherman.

I am delighted to say that Director Rob Minkoff’s film of the same name captures that everlasting spirit. Sure, it suffers from being a bit foolish, but the movie forces the viewer to relive key moments in human history as well as confronting the meaning of being a good father.

As I watched Mr. Peabody defend his status as a dog who has adopted a human child, I couldn’t help but think of the criticism thrust at homosexuals in today’s world. Much like Mr. Peabody, you see decent people attacked for being unworthy parents. The film provides a meaningful reminder as to why we need to think deeply about living in a State where so-called political leaders are championing a ban on gay marriage.

In addition, we see Sherman being maligned by fellow students at school because of the status of his father. Just like he suffered being called a dog because his father was one, you could only imagine the vitriol thrown at the children of gay parents.

However, the meaning of the film is left for the viewer to comprehend as you watch Mr. Peabody, Sherman and a prejudiced young student named Penny Peterson travel in the WABAC Machine to visit prior civilizations. They tangle with King Tut, duel with Robespierre during the French Revolution, join the Greeks in the Trojan Horse as they prepare to demolish Troy and give advice to Leonardo DaVinci as he tries to get his morose model to smile while painting the Mona Lisa.

All of this is as educational as it is entertaining. Some of the moments are genuinely funny, one centering on Marie Antoinette indulging in her love of cake.

The movie reaches an enjoyable denouement as Mr. Peabody’s world begins to unravel as his WABAC Machine malfunctions, creating a time warp that brings many of the above members of a bygone era into the present world. Many manic encounters follow, including Robespierre’s fascination with a stun gun. Also, watch for a screamingly laughable moment when former President Bill Clinton appears, defending Mr. Peabody’s unfortunate biting of a sinister female welfare investigator with the immortal words, “I’ve done worse.”;

Many actors do a fine job contributing their voices to the principal characters, most notably Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody. Thanks to them, the film reaffirms the simple fact that all young boys need a father, something that is terribly lacking today in major metropolitan areas across our country.

If kids have no dad, society has to respond. Any suggestions?