Almost four weeks ago, the ladies at What the Flicka? sent me to Universal City for a blogger’s prescreening of the animated film Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which comes to theaters on March 7th. Directed by Rob Minkoff, this film takes science, history, family and problem-solving to an entirely new dimension.
What I enjoyed most about the film was the connection I felt with the three main characters, Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and Penny. Each of them experiences some form of personal growth throughout the film, which can be relatable to real people with family issues. Sure, at first glance this film may appear to be about a boy and his dog, but you couldn’t be more wrong. This is, as Rob Minkoff suggested, “a movie about adoption,” and ultimately, what it means to be a family.
I thought it would be fun to introduce you to the main characters ahead of time, and let you know why I think you’re going to fall in love with them, just as I did.
Mr. Peabody: Voiced by the dashing Ty Burrell of ABC’s Modern Family, this talking dog is no ordinary canine character. Now, if you never watched the original show that the movie was based upon, Peabody’s Improbable History, then you may not know that Mr. Peabody is a genius. In fact, he’s quite possibly the most intelligent living being in all of creation. You want proof? He created a working time machine, called “The Way Back” that he uses to teach his adopted son, Sherman, (yes, you read that right) about major historical moments from a first-person perspective. Um – how cool is that? He’s so much more than a walking super-brain, too; he’s also wise, nurturing, and protective of the ones he loves. While at first you may feel like scratching him behind his big, soft ears, in the end, you’re going to want to call him up for parenting advice.
The takeaway: you’re going to love him because he’s a fantastic role model for alternative parenting, and he makes super-smart seem super-cool. Kids are going to love him because he’s a kind father who’s able to overcome any problem with quick thinking and a bit of bravado.
Sherman: This kid is the Steve Urkel of animation, and just as lovable, too. Voiced by the equally adorable Max Charles. Sherman is hands-down the most endearing character I’ve come across in awhile. Smart, quick-witted and curious, this bespectacled red-head flies his dork flag high. The brainiacs in animation-land usually get a bum rap, (think Megamind) because they’ve figured out how to take over the world before they’re three, but not Sherman. Not only is he intelligent; he’s a sweetheart, too. Maybe it’s his big head or his hopeful, eager face, but there is something about Sherman that radiates a joie de vivre, a celebration of simply being alive. That optimism is infectious and you can’t help but feel a little more positive after watching him overcome some pretty serious hardships.
The takeaway: you’re going to love Sherman because he’s adorable and we want to preserve adorableness at all costs, especially when it gets threatened. Oh yeah, prepare to get all mama-bear over him during this movie. Kids are going to love him because he’s different and still comes out on top. Kids need to see that, and know that being unique is something to be proud of.
Finally, we have dear, sweet, rebellious, and slightly bullish, Penny, voiced by the lovely Ariel Winter from ABC’s Modern Family. At first, you may not be Penny’s #1 cheerleader, but once you give her a chance, you’ll see that she, like many kids in dysfunctional homes, is struggling to maintain her sense of identity. In fact, behind the sweet, blonde veneer, Penny is quite the bad ass. I love her fearless nature and her ability to motivate Sherman to challenge his own boundaries. While at times selfish, Penny is also determined, gutsy and unapologetic.
The takeaway: you’ll learn to love Penny because she has the most emotional growth during the film. Although she tends to break the rules, she learns from her mistakes and is redeemed. Kids will love her for some of the same reasons – it’s fun to see someone break the rules now and then. On a deeper level, she also teaches kids that first impressions aren’t everything, and given the chance, even a mean girl can be a true friend.
So now that you’ve met these three – make sure to see the film in theaters on March 7th. I’d love to hear your personal take on Mr. Peabody, Sherman and Penny. Plus – there’s quite a cast of hilarious historical characters you don’t want to miss.
Make sure to check out the official trailer for Mr. Peabody and Sherman below.