Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Film Review: "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014).

“It's easy to feel hopeful on a beautiful day like today, but there will be dark days ahead of us too. There will be days where you feel all alone, and that's when hope is needed most. No matter how buried it gets, or how lost you feel, you must promise me that you will hold on to hope. Keep it alive. We have to be greater than what we suffer… I know it feels like we're saying goodbye, but we will carry a piece of each other into everything that we do next, to remind us of who we are, and of who we're meant to be.” This is what The Amazing Spider-Man 2 brings in this American superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb and released by Columbia Pictures. It serves as a sequel to the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man and was announced in 2011. In the film, Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

The film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti and Sally Field. The performances in this film were all varied but brilliantly performed. Garfield showed appropriate earnestness. Stone was captivating, she gave this character a tough core of intelligence and wit. DeHaan was wonderfully debonair and Giamatti conveyed verve. However, Electro was a curiously meager and a more depressing character than his predecessor; I pitied him, but I did not fear him nor find him necessary for this film. The genius of Jamie Foxx is all but swallowed up in the paraphernalia of the role. But, it proved to me one thing; he is a good contender for the role of Spawn in Todd McFarlane's reboot of Spawn, to be released in 2015 (hopefully).

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 mostly just plods and lacks humor. For every slam-bang action sequence, there are far too many sluggish scenes. It’s missing the centrifugal threat of Rhys Ifans’ character, ultimately the three villains here don’t add up to one Lizard. Marc Webb overreached his grasp by allowing so many villains to roam in one flick. Especially with the Green Goblin is one bad guy too many. Easily the most complex and deftly orchestrated superhero epic ever filmed. However, the enormous amount of characters, action and sci-fi superhero plot going on in this film, the movie feels weighted down, tedious or boring. The script is busy with so many supporting characters and plot detours that the series' charming idiosyncrasy is sometimes lost in the noise. It will be a challenge for the filmmakers and the studio to fix the clusterf*** they have created. To conclude, the film is a mess. Having too many villains, subplots, romantic misunderstandings, conversations and street crowds looking high into the air and shouting 'oooh!' this way, then swiveling and shouting 'aaah!' that way.

Simon says The Amazing Spider-Man 2 receives:

Also, see my review for The Amazing Spider-Man.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Film Review: "The Lego Movie" (2014).

The Lego Movie is "The story of a nobody who saved everybody." This 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film written for the screen and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from a story by Lord, Miller, and Dan and Kevin Hageman. Based on the Lego line of construction toys. The film follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO mini figure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Producer Dan Lin conceived the idea for the film and began discussing it with Roy Lee before leaving Warner Bros. to form his own production company, Lin Pictures, in 2008. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara had recognized the value of the Lego franchise and purchased the video game license of Traveller's Tales. Through the success of the game and other subsequent Lego-based video games convinced Tsujihara that a Lego-based film was a good idea, and thus championed the development of this film. By August 2009, Dan and Kevin Hageman were hired to pen the script, which was described as an "action adventure set in a Lego world." The film would mark the very first animated feature film made by the newly reformed Warner Bros. feature animation studio called Warner Animation Group. In early development, the movie was titled Lego: The Piece of Resistance, with an earlier, different version of the script to the final film. In the earlier script, many of the character's names were different, R2-D2 and Indiana Jones being main characters, Emmet still living with his elderly mother, who turns out to be "the most powerful woman in the universe", had Bad Cop actually swear instead of saying "darn", Larry the Barista having a larger role, and Benny having a co-pilot that's an inanimate mop called Moppy. In June 2010, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were in talks to write and direct the film. By November 2011, Warner Bros. green-lit the film. The Australian studio Animal Logic was contracted to provide the animation. Around the same time, Chris McKay had also joined Lord and Miller to co-direct. In April 2012, Warner Bros. scheduled the film for a February 28, 2014 release date, which was then shifted to February 7 2014 in October 2012. By November 2012, Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Channing Tatum, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Alison Brie, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, and Nick Offerman rounded out the film's cast.

The visual aesthetic and style of Brickfilms served as a major influence on the film. Animal Logic tried to make the film's animation replicate a stop motion film even if everything was done through computer graphics, with the animation rigs following the same articulation limits actual Lego figures have. The creators deliberately tried to make the movie feel like stop-motion animation, and avoided making the computer-generated effects look too obvious. This was done, to make the movie look like it contained real Lego. In order to add more realism to the movie, the Lego bricks have scratches, fading, and even fingerprints to make the movie look like someone was manipulating real bricks in a stop-motion fashion. The bricks are also affected by their locations, with the bricks in The Old West realm being more dusty and faded from the sunlight. McKay explained: "We wanted to make the film feel like the way you play, the way I remember playing. We wanted to make it feel as epic and ambitious and self-serious as a kid feels when they play with LEGO. We took something you could claim is the most cynical cash grab in cinematic history, basically a 90 minute LEGO commercial, and turned it into a celebration of creativity, fun and invention, in the spirit of just having a good time and how ridiculous it can look when you make things up. And we had fun doing it.'"

The film features Pratt, Ferrell, Banks, Arnett, Offerman, Brie, Day, Neeson, and Freeman. Where else can you find the varied likes of Pratt, Banks, Ferrell, Arnett, Offerman, Brie, Day and--yes--Neeson and Freeman together and all on their A game? Thanks to the cast, the animation here is certainly up to par. Even if the characterisations were a little bit stretched thin. But it may not have the magic of Pixar, not is the story nearly as creative as that studio's work, it is in a league of its own.

To say that The Lego Movie is among one of the most genuinely surprising achievements in cinematic history, and must be seen, is no overstatement. Warner Bros.' first animated feature has pushed the art form in thrilling new directions, completely redefining a much-loved children's construction toys that previously existed only in a child's imagination. The quirky humor, plucky characters and solid slapstick make this family comedy a frenetically tasty time at the movies. The film is smart, insightful on a host of relationship dynamics, and filled with fast-paced action. The 3D effects are wonderful, full of witty sight gags that play out both center-screen and on the periphery. The film greatly expands on the kids construction toys on which it's based in a clever and engaging adventure. The film is visually inventive and exuberant, and has some neat running gags. But its characterisations can be a tiny bit disappointing. This 3D cartoon based on the popular children's toy is sweet and fun -- not to mention a little trippy. So what could be better than an endless supply of Lego? Only a multiplex permanently stocked with smart, sweetly silly family films like this one. There are many funny moments and some pleasing suspense towards the end, but as a cautionary tale about the dangers of losing your imagination and child-like mind it's more likely to boost sales at Lego stores everywhere. That may be one good reason for watching it at the cinemas.

Simon says The Lego Movie receives:

Also, see my review for 21 Jump Street.

Film Review: "Rio 2" (2014).

"It's on in the Amazon" in Rio 2. This 3D computer-animated musical comedy film directed by Carlos Saldanha, written by Don Rhymer, Carlos Kotkin, Jenny Bicks, and Yoni Brenner, and produced by Blue Sky Studios. It is the sequel to Rio (2011). It's a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids after they're hurtled Rio de Janeiro to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all: his father-in-law.

In late January 2012, while speaking to the Associated Press, after the successful release of Rio, a sequel was in the works at Blue Sky Studios. In April 2012, Deadline Hollywood reported that Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway had signed on to reprise their roles as Blu and Jewel. In October 2012, Variety stated that Saldanha had officially signed a five-year deal with 20th Century Fox that allows him to helm live-action and/or animated films, with the sequel being part of that contractual agreement. In late November, Don Rhymer, one of the writer of the first film, died during the writing phase of the sequel, from head and neck cancer. In January 2013, it was hinted that the sequel's setting will involve the Amazon. Bruno Mars was cast after Saldanha saw his performance on Saturday Night Live. After working with Mars, he re-wrote his character to make him less "macho", and, after a recording session, had a segment reanimated to fit his singing. Janelle Monáe was cast due to her Rock in Rio (1985) performance in September 2011. Tom Waits, Josh Brolin, and Ian McShane were considered for the role of Eduardo. Isla Fisher was considered for the role of Gabi. Jason Bateman, Riz Ahmed, and Taron Egerton were considered for the role of Roberto.

The film features the voice talents of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, will.i.am, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jake T. Austin reprising their roles, with Bruno Mars, Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno, Rachel Crow, Kristin Chenoweth, Amandla Stenberg, Pierce Gagnon, and Miguel Ferrer. For as endearing as the characters' antics are, even they can't sustain the lackluster jokes that pass for humor for the bulk of the hundred and one running time.

Despite its impressive animation and the hilarious antics of the colourful characters, Rio 2 comes up short on the storytelling front. The first Rio more or less exhausted these characters and their world, and this film doesn't add much. The storyline wanes towards the end and, from the kids' point of view, the whole package lacks momentum. I've seen cooked spaghetti with more tension. A tad crasser and pushier than its predecessor, the film is still an entirely serviceable follow-up to the 2011 hit that will thoroughly amuse kids and get a rise or two out of parents as well. I'm not going to beat around the glacier anymore than I have. If you liked the first film, you're going to like this sequel.

Simon says Rio 2 receives:

Also, see my review for Epic.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Film Review: "Muppets Most Wanted" (2014)

“You mean all this time I've been trapped in a Russian Gulag, no one, not one single person from the Muppets, except Animal, noticed I'd been replaced by an evil criminal mastermind?” Which is what the Muppets bring this time around with Muppets Most Wanted. This American musical comedy caper film produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by James Bobin, the film is the eighth theatrical film featuring the Muppets and is a sequel to 2011's The Muppets. In the film, the Muppets find themselves, while on a grand world tour, unwittingly involved in a European jewl-heist/crime caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike and his dastardly sidekick.

The film was a breezy, mirthful caper enlivened by the comic talents of Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey the Muppets cast and its celebrity cameos. It was nice to see celebrity cameos such as Tony Bennett, Jemaine Clement, Celine Dion, Lady Gaga, Zach Galifianakis, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, Ross Lynch, James McAvoy, Chole Grace Moretz, Usher Raymond, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan, Danny Trejo, Stanley Tucci and Christoph Waltz, to name some. The performances in this film were hilarious, most of the laughs come courtesy of Tina Fey, in the role of a Siberian prison guard who can't/won't stop dancing. In addition, the Muppets once again did what they do best: put on a grand show.

It's not quite as sharp as The Muppets (2011), but Muppets Most Wanted is still a smart, delightfully old-fashioned tale that follows the formula established by the first film -- a madcap adventure assisted by a huge group of human stars. The plot of the movie has been seen before. However, everything in the film was enjoyable and Kermit and Miss Piggy finally solve their long-lasting relationship crisis. It’s another unexpected treat. The film effortlessly blends wised-up, self-reflective humor with old-fashioned let's-put-on-a-show pizzazz like its predecessor. Another mostly winning return for childhood favorites from a prior century that looks to accomplish its goal of pleasing old fans and winning new ones like The Muppets. The film has the same brilliant absurdity, anarchic humor, subtle uplift and ensemble comedy that fans have come to expect over the years. For those of us who've had Muppets in our memory since childhood, or the 2011 film, will find ourselves in a state of contentment. The result is refreshing on every level, a piece of nostalgia so old it's new again, and a breather from Hollywood's 3-D digital onslaught in favor of fur and fuzz. It’s much more than just an affectionate reimagining of familiar Muppets routines, but it is rooted in real emotions and characters, and that they remain as committed as ever to doing what Muppets do best: putting on a grand show. To conclude, it’s enjoyable outing with bouncy songs, a terrific ensemble cast and cameos and with nice use of various locations.

Simon says Muppets Most Wanted receives:

Also, see my review for The Muppets.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Film Review: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (2014)

“It is an extremely common mistake. People think the writer's imagination is always at work, that he's constantly inventing an endless supply of incidents and episodes; that he simply dreams up his stories out of thin air. In point of fact, the opposite is true. Once the public knows you're a writer, they bring the characters and events to you. And as long as you maintain your ability to look, and to carefully listen, these stories will continue to over your lifetime. To him, who has often told the tales of others, many tales will be told. The incidents that follow were described to me exactly as I present them here, and in a wholly unexpected way.” Which is what you’ll see in the mind of Wes Anderson with The Grand Budapest Hotel. This comedy-drama film is written and directed by Anderson. The film follows a concierge who teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder.

I would call The Grand Budapest Hotel major whimsy. It's a confection with bite, featuring an ensemble (that includes; Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Edward Norton, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Bob Balaban) led by the invaluable Ralph Fiennes, here allowed to exercise his farceur's wiles. As with all of Anderson's films, the magic is in the cast. Fiennes, with his stylized rapid-fire delivery, dry wit, cheerful profanity and rapier mustache, is hilarious, dapper and total perfection. In the end it's Fiennes who makes the biggest impression. He keeps the movie bubbling along. Here's to further Fiennes-Anderson collaborations. And Fiennes - who knew he was capable of such wicked, witty timing? My praise also goes to the rest of the cast who gave some of their best performances to date whether they are Wes Anderson-collaborators or not. But the praise also has to newcomer Tony Revolori, who gave a fine performance as the young Lobby-Boy.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is as richly conceived as the movie it appears to be. It is a film like no other, an epic, quirky comedy, with lots of ironic laughs and a humane and rather sad feeling at its core. The film is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal – and it shows Anderson has a knack for a good show. The work done by his collaborators shows amazing ingenuity and skill, and the music is both eccentric and just right. Having a quirky auteur like Anderson making this kind of film really shows that, this is really a Wes Anderson film. It’s a self-consciously quirky movie that manages to be twee and ultra-hip at the same time. In an age when everything seems digital, computer-driven and as fake as instant coffee, more and more artists, like Anderson, are embracing the old ways of vinyl records, handcrafted miniatures and basic human stories. To conclude, it’s both a delightful amusement and a distillation of the filmmaker's essential playfulness.

Simon says The Grand Budapest Hotel receives:

Also, see my review for Moonrise Kingdom.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Film Review: "The Wind Rises" (2013).

“I wanted to create something that is realistic, fantastic, at times caricatured, but as whole, a beautiful film.” Which is what Hayao Miyazaki has brought to The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu 風立ちぬ). This Japanese animated historical drama film written and directed by Miyazaki, and adapted from his own manga of the same name which was loosely based on the 1937 short story The Wind Has Risen by Tatsuo Hori, a writer, poet, and translator from mid-20th century (Showa period) Japan. The film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi (1903–1982), it gives us a look at the life of the designer of the Mitsubishi A5M and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero; both aircraft were used by the Empire of Japan during World War II.

For this review of Miyazaki’s last film, let us reflect and look back on the man himself. Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 Miyazaki Hayao) is a world renowned Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter. Through a career that has spanned six decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. The success of Miyazaki's films has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick Park, and American director Steven Spielberg. Born in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Miyazaki began his animation career in 1963, when he joined Toei Animation. From there, Miyazaki worked as an in-between artist for Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon where he pitched his own ideas that eventually became the movie's ending. He continued to work in various roles in the animation industry over the decade until he was able to direct his first feature film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979). After the success of his next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984), he co-founded Studio Ghibli, where he continued to produce many feature films besides during a 'temporary retirement' in 1997 following Princess Mononoke. While Miyazaki's films have long enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until Miramax Films released Princess Mononoke. The film was the highest-grossing film in Japan - until it was eclipsed by another 1997 film, Titanic - and the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki returned to animation with Spirited Away (2001). The film topped sales at the Japanese box office, beating Titanic, it also won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards and was the first anime film to win an American Academy Award. Miyazaki's films often contain recurrent themes, like humanity's relationship with nature and technology, pro-feminism, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women. While two of his films, The Castle of Cagliostro and Castle in the Sky (1986), involve traditional villains, his other films like Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke present morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities. Miyazaki's latest film The Wind Rises will be his final feature-length film, when he announced his retirement on September 6th, 2013.

Miyazaki has claimed he was retiring several times, but on September 6th, 2013, he assured his fans that he is 'quite serious' this time. He believes he is getting too old for the business, and wants to make room for new animators. He also says that the task of animating is "quite strenuous" and that he cannot work as long as he was once able to. However, he plans on pursuing new goals, such as working on the Studio Ghibli museum, on which he commented "I might even become an exhibit myself". Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki revealed that Miyazaki will continue to illustrate manga and is currently working on a serialized samurai series. Fellow animator Isao Takahata has publicly stated that he believes Miyazaki's retirement to be non-permanent, "...I think there is a decent chance that may change. I think so, since I've known him a long time. Don't be at all surprised if that happens." During a New Year's Eve radio show, broadcast on Tokyo FM, on December 31, 2013, Toshio Suzuki speculated that Miyazaki might revoke his latest retirement (apparently his sixth to date). A previous home that Miyazaki spent part of his childhood in has been transformed into a museum. The home's current resident, Asuko Thomas, says that she did not know that the house has once belonged to the family of the world renowned animator. The current owner of the house has named the gallery "Hanna", meaning "bond" and "harmony". Many elements of the house have been the inspiration for scenes in several of his films. One example is the stairs in the household, very similar to the hidden stairs in My Neighbor Totoro (1988).

The Wind Rises is the first film that Miyazaki has solely directed in five years; his last work was the 2008 film Ponyo. After that, Miyazaki wanted his next film to be Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea II, but producer Toshio Suzuki convinced him to make The Wind Rises instead. This film is based on a manga by Hayao Miyazaki, which was serialized in the monthly magazine Model Graphix in 2009. The story of the manga is in turn loosely based on Tatsuo Hori's short novel The Wind Has Risen, written in the late 1930s. Although the story in the film follows the historical account of Horikoshi's aircraft development chronologically, the rendition of his private life is entirely fictional. The character of Hans Castorp is borrowed from Thomas Mann's novel The Magic Mountain. Miyazaki was inspired to make the film after reading this quote from Horikoshi: "All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful".

With its epic story and breathtaking visuals, The Wind Rises, along with The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2014), is a landmark in the world of animation. The film is a powerful compilation of Miyazaki's world, an expression of his dreams and hopes, a cumulative statement of his moral and filmic concerns. It is not only more sharply drawn, it has an extremely complex and has an adult script and the film has the soul of a romantic epic, and its lush tones, elegant score by Joe Hisaishi and full-blooded characterizations give it the sweep of cinema's most grand canvases. The film brings a very different sensibility to animation, a medium Miyazaki views as completely suitable for straight dramatic narrative and serious themes. To conclude, it is a windswept pinnacle of its art and that it has the effect of making the average Disney film look like just another toy story.

Simon says The Wind Rises receives:

Film Review: "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014).

“… I think it's time to tell the truth. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not what we thought it was. It's been taken over by HYDRA… They almost have what they want. Absolute control… HYDRA will be able to kill anyone that stands in their way. Unless we stop them. I know I'm asking a lot. But the price of freedom is high. It always has been. And it's a price I'm willing to pay. And if I'm the only one, then so be it. But I'm willing to bet I'm not.” This is the essence of what is going down in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Captain America, is produced by Marvel Studios. It is the sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger and the ninth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. In the film, Captain America struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, but he and the Black Widow join forces to battle stop a a new threat from old history: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. A covert enemy that is hiding in Washington, D.C.

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote Captain America: The First Avenger, stated before that film's release that they were working on a sequel, and in June 2012, Anthony and Joe Russo entered negotiations to direct. The following month, casting of the supporting roles began with the additions of Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan and Robert Redford. Principal photography commenced in April 2013 in Los Angeles, California before moving to Washington, D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio.

The film stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson. The film contained brilliant performances, which added to the hard-driving old-school action, surprising character development and intriguing suspense in which the film intended to convey. Evans gave another brilliant performance as America's first avenger in which the soldier has to go through a darker and more personal battle just as Batman went through in The Dark Knight (2008). Johansson also gave another brilliant performance as the elusive and kick-ass agent. Stan gave such an intense performance as the film's main antagonist, without the aid of so much dialogue. Mackie gave a great performance as the first avenger's friend and sidekick. Finally, Redford gave a brilliant performance as the senior leader of S. H. I. E. L. D.

Dark, complex and unforgettable, Captain America: The Winter Soldier succeeds not just as an entertaining superhero film, but as a richly thrilling cinematic saga of its own. This political thriller captures the paranoid tenor of our time, thanks to the Russo's superb direction and excellent performances from Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson and Robert Redford. Like what The Dark Knight did, it redefines the possibilities for the superhero genre.The film goes much deeper than its predecessor, with a deft script that refuses to scrutinize its hero with popular psychology, instead pulling the viewer in with an examination of Steve Rodgers' psyche, as well as its political infused backdrop. The Russos have delivered the most accomplished, mature and the most technically impressive work , not only to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but to their career as well.

Simon says Captain America: The Winter Soldier receives:

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Film Review: "Mr. Peabody and Sherman" (2014).

" You used time-travel improperly... we must rewrite history in order to save the universe!” Brace yourself for this as this is what’s going down in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. This American 3D computer-animated comic science fiction film based on the characters from the Peabody's Improbable History segments of the 1960s animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. It is produced by DreamWorks Animation. Directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King (1994)), and executive produced by Tiffany Ward, daughter of Jay Ward, one of the creators of the original series. The film is the first DreamWorks animated film to feature characters from the Classic Media library since DreamWorks Animation's 2012 acquisition of Classic Media. The film centers on the time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created.

The original cartoons are about Peabody, a beagle who is the smartest being in existence. Peabody has accomplished many things in his life as a business magnate, inventor, scientist, Nobel laureate, gourmand, and two-time Olympic medalist. One day, Mr. Peabody becomes sad and lonely and decides to adopt his own human son. In an alley, he meets Sherman, a dorky, glasses-wearing, orange-haired boy. After saving Sherman from a group of bullies, Peabody discovers that Sherman is an orphan and decides to adopt him. After a court appearance and a talk with the President and the government, Peabody becomes Sherman's new guardian. Together they embark on wild and educational time-traveling adventures where they encounter such historical figures such as Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Marie Antoinette, William Shakespeare, Ludwig van Beethoven and George Washington (just to name a few).

The film features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci and Patrick Warburton. The film is a whip-smart, consistently funny and good-natured film due to some terrific voice performances and one of the most hilarious appearances ever by an animated version of a living human being. Burrell gave a brilliant performance as the intelligently sophisticated and witty dog Mr. Peabody. Charles and Winter gave incredible performances that captured the essence of what it is to be children at that age, given that one of them was raised by an intelligent dog. Colbert and Mann gave hilarious performances. Tucci and Wartburton gave the most comical portrayals of their historical counterparts I have ever seen on film.

Rob Minkoff's Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 3-D animated take on the classic characters that tries so hard, but its dazzling animation does not distract the audience from its dated source material and convoluted plot. The film may be a triumph of something — but it's certainly not the triumph we longed for. However the film offers surprisingly entertaining bursts of colorful all-ages fun here and there. To conclude, it’s nothing more than a eye-popping and touching yuletide toy of a movie. To an extent, this film is a case of style – and stylisation – overwhelming substance.

Simon says Mr. Peabody & Sherman receives: