We like the snappy sort of casual conversation happening here. This is a hard thing to capture in comics!

I saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman over the weekend, and I liked it, so here’s a review of it.

I enjoyed Mr. Peabody and Sherman, but I couldn’t point to any one thing that really made it for me. Stephen Colbert was excellent, but then so was most of the voice acting. Outside of [a friend of mine] I can’t imagine many people caring too much / paying too much attention to voice acting, but there’s something to inflection and things of that sort that are hard to get right. I liked that Ty Burrell played Mr. Peabody as someone who’s too intelligent to have anything other than a sort of monotone voice. No situation gets the best of him, which gives / gave impact to when he became stressed or upset. It’s nearly genuine emotion! And the kids’s voice actors weren’t annoying, which is obv important.

Speaking of praise: I liked the central theme: the relationship and circumstance surrounding a dog raising a kid. It’s, if nothing else, at least original, or would be if early in the movie that dynamic manifested itself in a better way than giving a school bully ammunition, and something to do with biting. The dynamic of the dog son relationship doesn’t get good until it becomes apparent that Mr. Peabody communicates with Sherman mostly through commands, telling Sherman to fetch or sit or stay by his side.

Now that I think about it, DreamWorks has actually been doing a lot of stuff about Dad’s and their struggle to deal with their aging children. The Croods is about a Dad who can’t deal with his daughter being interested in people who aren’t her family, or just less interested in the Dad. How to Train your Dragon features a Dad who doesn’t understand and can’t understand their kid. Kung Fu Panda is nothing but Dad problems, and Kung Fu Panda 2 has the same story.

Anyway, the movie plays the weird dog son relationship well, and the adoption relationship well, and actually does a pretty decent job of packing an emotional punch into Sherman yelling something. If you do see this, which you should, then you’ll know it when you hear it. There is a handful of what is supposed to be more emotional moments near the end of the movie, none of which are terrible, some of which are emotional, but none of it is quite as good as that, or even as good as when Mr. Peabody gives Sherman a dog whistle.

Speaking of towards the end of the movie: This is speculation, but speaking as a person who works under a constant, unforgiving deadline, I think the people who made this did come up with something original, and great, but then ran out of time before they could finish it. Around the end of the second act, the movie suddenly sprints towards the finish line. The first hour, and especially the scenes that take place in the past, have a sort of meandering quality to them, which is great. When Mr. Peabody and Sherman travel to the French Revolution, they don’t just hit the landmarks and split, they spend their time eating cake, or trying to eat cake, and then they engage in an enjoyable action set piece. Later, when the climax comes around, or even when the time paradox is supposed to be resolved, the movie just snaps its fingers and then moves on to the next scene. It’s at least aware of what it’s doing when it resolves its conflict with an emotional, impassioned speech in front of a crowd, but it still does it. I’m reminded of the old adage: ironic shit posting is still shit posting

So it’s a good movie, not a great movie, but it does have pieces of a great movie in it