Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Well, it turns out that Mr. Peabody & Sherman was exactly what I hoped it would be, while still managing to surprise me. Of course the surprises were not big, plot-reveal sorts of things; this isn't that kind of movie. They were the sorts of surprises that make a joke work. And, I have to admit, surprises that the jokes worked at all.

The theater was almost empty (that part was not a surprise) but there were some men in the back row who had me a bit worried. They kvetched and gabbed during the previews, and I was afraid that this behavior might continue into the feature presentation. My fear was unfounded, however. They shut right up for the How to Train Your Dragon II trailer (promising!), and then during the film the only noises out of them were laughs at all the appropriate moments. But I don't look down my nose at that at all, because I was laughing as well, although rather more quietly.

The big disappointment was the short that ran before the film itself. It was called "Home Planet" or something like that. It had a neat premise, tasty animation, and great visual gags, but a short like this ultimately succeeds or fails, at least for me, on the turn right at the end. The Pixar shorts are great examples of this.Sadly, this short did exactly what I thought it would do, but which I hoped it wouldn't because I couldn't see a way to make that joke work well. And when it was over I still hadn't seen a way to make that joke work well. I've come up with a better ending now, but only because I'm not ashamed to borrow a trope from Theodore Geisel.

Anyway, Mr. Peabody & Sherman was goofy in some of the same ways that The Lego Movie was, but where The Lego Movie featured pop-culture references galore, Mr. Peabody & Sherman rolled out the historical ones. The voice acting was wonderful (I got just the right amount of Warburton) and Danny Elfman's soundtrack was perfect. The film has a little bit of a Finding Nemo vibe to it on the father/son front, and although it's nowhere close to being the film that Finding Nemo was, I had a great time. It's #2 for the year for me, and by the time we get to December, it may actually still be somewhere in my top 15.

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