When it comes to commercially viable properties that appeal to modern children, we can’t help but think that “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” based on Jay Ward‘s characters from the “Peabody’s Improbably History” segments of “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show,” might be a little dusty for today’s young audiences. Then again, DreamWorks Animation, a studio that knows how to hip anything up, is reviving the time-traveling characters, and based on the just-released trailer, it looks like there might be some life left in this franchise after all. Plus, check out a Halloween-y set of brand new posters.
In the trailer, we’re introduced to Mr. Peabody (voiced by “Modern Family” star Ty Burrell), the genius inventor dog, and his adopted boy Sherman (Max Charles). When Penny Peterson (Ariel Winter) comes over to visit, Sherman tries to impress her by showing her the WABAC machine, a device that sends its passengers back in time. The two kids jump in, mess up history, and it’s up to them (with the help of Mr. Peabody, of course) to correct everything before the fabric of time and space are torn apart forever. In the words of Marty McFly: heavy.
The animation in the trailer is pretty gorgeous, and it looks like there’s a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” component to the feature, where the historical figures are brought into present day. We just hope there is some heart to go along with the seemingly endless series of gags. This has been a problem for DreamWorks Animation in the past, but with recent features like “The Croods” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” the studio seems to be learning and getting closer and closer to that perfect ratio.
There are also some brand new posters. The first set of posters, via IMP Awards, features Mr. Peabody as a Roman soldier, complete with shiny, festooned helmet. Other designs featured on the site show Mr. Peabody in a Napoleonic hat, a Lincoln beard, and dressed as an Egyptian pharaoh. Another exclusive poster, revealed by Fandango, has the super-smart dog wearing a George Washington-style wig. Both carry the tagline “He’s leaving his mark on history,” which we’re pretty sure is suggesting that Mr. Peabody is just going to be pissing all over the place. But we sure hope not.
Rob Minkoff, the director of “The Lion King” and the two live-action “Stuart Little” movies, directed the project, which features a script by playwright and screenwriter Craig Wright (who wrote memorable episodes of both “Six Feet Under” and “Lost“). Danny Elfman will be providing the score (his recent animated work includes “Frankenweenie” and “Meet the Robinsons“). The cast also includes Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Allison Janney, and wonderfully stunt-y bits like Mel Brooks as Sigmund Freud, Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci and Lake Bell as Mona Lisa.
“Mr. Peabody & Sherman” will be released on March 7, 2014.