For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
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We are amid the heat of America's political season. And like it or not, this country's politics manifests in the form of an uncompromising dichotomy between the right and the left. The republicans and the democrats. The conservatives and the liberals. The red and the blue. As we explored in September, the elephants and the donkeys. And now, a new rift has been drawn in the world of irresistible albeit cholesterol-hiking foodstuffs: pizza and burritos.
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have staked their claims in this war. Earlier this week, President Obama took a side-jo in the small town of Henderson, Nev., as a pizza delivery boy in an effort to encourage support for his campaign. Following this, Romney stopped by a Chipotle Mexican Grille in Denver, Colo., to pose for a photo opp with the restaurant's staff members.
And so it begins. The democrats have claimed pizza, the republicans burritos. There's no reversing this decision now — whichever flavorful treat you prefer is how you'll have to decide your vote come November. But if you're torn down the middle (or one of those ungodly salad eaters), we've plucked some the greatest representatives of pizza and burritos from film and television history, and have pit them together in a cutthroat political race to determine which of the pair you might wish to align yourself with ideologically. Don't take this too lightly... the future of your country is at stake*.
*Steak has actually been claimed by the Libertarian Party. Johnson/Gray '12!
The Tossup District: Walter White's Roof Pizza Vs. Ron Burgundy's Road Burrito
Representing Pizzylvania: That glorious Breaking Bad scene during which Walter White, in a fit of frustration, threw an entire pizza pie onto his estranged wife's roof.Platform: Revenge is a dish best served cold... much like pizza! Which is equally best served hot.
Representing Burritown: That scene in Anchorman when Ron Burgundy, blinded by the deliciousness of a burrito, opted to chuck his lunch out the window of his moving car... a decision that would send him down a dark path.Platform: Never before has a single dish played such a colossal role in the life of an otherwise indestructible man.
Yes, Walter White might be a ruthless, conscious-lacking two-bit drug dealer and murderer who'd sell his own friends and family down the river to uphold his pride, but the man is one hell of a crust-chucker.
The Humworthy District: "Pizza Power" Vs. "Taco Flavored Kisses"
Representing Pizzburgh: The classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles number "Pizza Power."Platform: Eating pizza will abet your forays into world-saving.
Representing Burritopia: Eric Cartman's hit single from South Park, "Taco Flavored Kisses"Platform: Taking down celebrities was never so tasteful
The Ninja Turtles take this one, for both the majestic role the foursome played in our childhoods, and because (unlike South Park's) its song isn't incredibly offensive.
The Space District: Pizza the Hut Vs. The Hubble Telescope
Representing Sauceton, Massacheesitts: Pizza the Hut, from the classic Mel Brooks comedy SpaceballsPlatform: Spaceballs the Political Party! It was bound to happen.
Representing Buerto 'Rito: A scene from the 2010 IMAX movie Hubble 3D, during which an astronaut makes a burrito... in space!Platform: If there's no gravity, don't gain any weight, right?
Spaceballs is good for a laugh, but that guy is really making a burrito in space. Call it a win.
The Big Dreams District: Cosmo Kramer Vs. Homer Simpson
Representing Sliceland: The early episode of Seinfeld when Kramer first introduces his aspiration to open a pizza place where customers make their own pies.Platform: Hey, it's better than his idea for beach-scented cologne...
Representing North Tacotia: The Simpson scene in which Homer is pulled away from a strike against the oppressive management of Springfield's nuclear power plant by his craving for a burrito.Platform: In this time of social upheaval, Homer maintains values we can all respect.
Kramer may have gotten his wish, but Homer is the one who truly deserved it. The burritists take this round.
The Happy Dance District: Britta Perry Vs. the Adventure Time Gang
Representing Saucington, P.Z.: The scene in Community's iconic "Remedial Chaos Theory" episode, when Britta takes it upon herself to entertain her friends with a marijuana-induced musical celebration of the arrival of pizzaPlatform: She has a point, pizza does go in tummy.
Representing Burritington: The "Everything Burrito" dance, as introduced to the planet Earth by the cartoon series Adventure TimePlatform: There is literally nothing this burrito does not have.
The Adventure Time dance might have provided a good deal of joy, but Community's little jig actually contributed to the maintenance of the fabric of the universe. Britta for the win!
The In-Your-Head-Forever District: "P-I-Z-Z-A" Vs. "The Best Burrito"
Representing Pizzadelphia: The Olsen twins' early-'90s pizza-celebrating music video, slowed down hilariously by the people who control the InternetPlatform: '90s nostalgia and the provision of a drug-free equivalent of an acid trip
Representing Burritopolis: The never-ending "This Is the Best Burrito" jingle, written by the great Parry GrippPlatform: The ability to stay in your head for the rest of your hellish life
Both sides have strengths in their corner, but we have to call "Best Burrito" the ultimate victor, as there is nary a meme in the vast cosmos of the Internet that will stick in your brain more effectively. Yum, yum, yum.
Thus, another tie: three to three. And so, the war between pizza and burritos wages on... but at least there is one food both candidates can agree upon:
We might never settle any of these age old battles, but they are certainly delving into. Educational, entertaining, and perhaps even a motivation to learn about the real issues. Stay tuned for the next installment of Hollywood.com's Pub Culture Elections!
[Photo Credit: AP Images(3)]
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