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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Every year, people all over the entertainment world pull together their lists of the best performances, actors, directors, film, and shows of the year, making special note of all of the newcomers who managed to breakthrough into the mainstream with exceptional projects in 2013. However, when we were running through out lists of the best breakout actors of the year, we happened to notice that many of our new favorite television characters bore some strong resemblances to some of our favorite characters from classic sitcoms.
With that in mind, we've picked 10 of our favorite breakout television stars of 2013 and cast them in roles from our favorite shows of yesteryear.
Joe Lo Truglio as Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith ShowAs the weird, bumbling, food-obsessed Det. Charles Boyle, Joe Lo Truglio has been stealing scenes week after week on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and we think he could continue to put all of that strange ineptness to use as Barney Fife, the nervous, incompetent deputy to Andy Griffith's Sheriff Andy Taylor. Lo Truglio's proven that he excels at making life more complicated for others, and he would be able to portray the perfect mix of heart and humor.
James Wolk as Wally Cleaver from Leave It to BeaverJames Wolk specializes in characters that are charming, popular and intelligent, which makes him the perfect pick to play the Beaver's charismatic older brother. Sure, he's a lot older than Wally was on the show, but it's hard to think of an actor who would be better at portraying a character described by all of the girls as "the most," because as Zach on The Crazy Ones, Wolk is the most charming, funny and attractive actor on TV right now.
Tatiana Maslany as One of Charlie's AngelsIt's not quite a sitcom, but Charlie's Angels had the right combination of action and comedy that would make it the perfect vehicle for Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany. On the show, she's proven that she can handle whatever twists and turns come her way, as well as being able to hold her own in a fight, but Maslany is also funny and charming enough to handle the show's more humorous moments with ease. Plus, with Maslany at the forefront, this would finally be a Charlie's Angels reboot worth watching.
Andre Braugher as Lou Grant from The Mary Tyler Moore ShowAndre Braugher's been a well-respected television actor for a long time now, but as Captain Ray Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, he proved that he can handle comedy just as well — if not better — than he does drama. We think he'd be perfect to take on the role of Lou Grant, Mary Richards' tough but loving boss on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He's already got plenty of experience keeping a group of goofballs in line, and it would finally give him the chance to break out and play something other than a cop for a change.
Malin Ackerman as Samantha from BewitchedJust try and put the terrible Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell film out of your mind for a second, and instead picture Malin Akerman as the loveable witch struggling to balance her magical powers and her role as a normal housewife. Ackerman's honed her comedy chops on the new sitcom Trophy Wife, and her perky-yet-sarcatsic demeanor makes her the perfect choice to take on Samantha. Plus, she's proven that she's great with phsyical comedy, which will come in handy when it's time for her to wiggle her nose.
Nicole Beharie as Agent 99 on Get SmartA beautiful, intelligent, highly skilled agent tasked with balancing both her bumbling, confused sidekick and a top secret mission? It may sound like Nicole Beharie's Sleepy Hollow character Abbie Mills, but it's actually Agent 99 from the sitcom Get Smart, which proves that Beharie would be the ideal choice for the role. She's got the looks, smarts, and comedic chops to take on the slapstick spy comedy, but also has plenty of experience with the more action-intensive elements. On top of all that, she's a compelling actress, who would be able to give the character enough depth to keep her from being a complete caricature. Just add Tom Mison as Maxwell Smart, and you've got yourself a show.
Albert Tsai as Dennis from Dennis the MenaceAt only nine years old, Albert Tsai has become one of the biggest breakout stars of the year through his role as the quirky, hilarious Bert, one of Kate's stepsons on Trophy Wife. When it comes time for Tsai to properly break out, say into feature films or a reboot of a classic sitcom, we think there would be no better vehicle for him than as everyone's favorite troublemaker Dennis the Menace. He's got enough charm to keep Dennis loveable, despite his antics, but would also be able to give the character a much needed dose of weirdness.
Corey Stoll as Fred from I Love LucyAs Rep. Peter Russo on Netflix's House of Cards, Corey Stoll did most of the show's heavy emotional lifting. If he's looking for some lighter fare, we think he'd do a great job as Fred Mertz, the stingy husband of Lucy's best pal Ethel. Since Fred fought in World War I and lived through the Great Depression, it gives Stoll enough gravitas to ground the character, while also giving him plenty of screwball plots and slapstick comedy to keep things light and up-beat — plus, no Kevin Spacey around to manipulate all of his actions. It's a win-win.
Rebel Wilson in Her Own Version of The Carol Burnett ShowRebel Wilson's show Super Fun Night may not have done as well as many were expecting, but she's still had a pretty stellar year. We think that the best way for her to capitalize on that would be her own Carol Burnett-inspired variety show. She's already got plenty of experience writing sketches, and even created and starred in several sketch shows and comedies in Australia. And since she showcased her musical talents in last year's Pitch Perfect, she's become the ideal candidate to bring back the variety show format to a younger generation.
Michael Ealy as Lionel from The JeffersonsThough his new sci-fi drama Almost Human has only just begun airing, Michael Ealy has become one of the most popular new television stars, due to the perfect combination of good looks, charm and talent. We think all of those qualities would serve him well as Lionel Jefferson, the smart, kind, wise-cracking son of George and Louise. Ealy's already proven that he has enough charm to take on the part, but Lionel's complicated relationship with his father and his wife, Jenny, would give him plenty of opportunities to showcase his acting talent. With Ealy on board, there's no doubt that Lionel would become much more than just a funny supporting character.
While recent animated blockbusters have aimed to viewers of all ages starting with fantastical concepts and breathtaking visuals but tackling complex emotional issues along the way Ice Age: Continental Drift is crafted especially for the wee ones — and it works. Venturing back to prehistoric times once again the fourth Ice Age film paints broad strokes on the theme of familial relationships throwing in plenty of physical comedy along the way. The movie isn't that far off from one of the many Land Before Time direct-to-video sequels: not particularly innovative or necessary but harmless thrilling fun for anyone with a sense of humor. Unless they have a particular distaste for wooly mammoths the kids will love it.
Ice Age: Continental Drift continues to snowball its cartoon roster bringing back the original film's trio (Ray Romano as Manny the Mammoth Denis Leary as Diego the Sabertooth Tiger and John Leguizamo as Sid the Sloth) new faces acquired over the course of the franchise (Queen Latifah as Manny's wife Ellie) and a handful of new characters to spice things up everyone from Nicki Minaj as Manny's daughter Steffie to Wanda Sykes as Sid's wily grandma. The whole gang is living a pleasant existence as a herd with Manny's biggest problem being playing overbearing dad to the rebellious daughter. Teen mammoths they always want to go out and play by the waterfall! Whippersnappers.
The main thrust of the film comes when Scratch the Rat (whose silent comedy routines in the vein of Tex Avery/WB cartoons continue to be the series highlight) accidentally cracks the singular continent Pangea into the world we know today. Manny Diego and Sid find themselves stranded on an iceberg once again forced on a road trip journey of survival. The rest of the herd embarks to meet them giving Steffie time to realize the true meaning of friendship with help from her mole pal Louis (Josh Gad).
The ham-handed lessons may drag for those who've passed Kindergarten but Ice Age: Continental Drift is a lot of fun when the main gang crosses paths with a group of villainous pirates. (Back then monkeys rabbits and seals were hitting the high seas together pillaging via boat-shaped icebergs. Obviously.) Quickly Ice Age becomes an old school pirate adventure complete with maritime navigation buried treasure and sword fights. Gut (Peter Dinklage) an evil ape with a deadly... fingernail leads the evil-doers who pose an entertaining threat for the familiar bunch. Jennifer Lopez pops by as Gut's second-in-command Shira the White Tiger and the film's two cats have a chase scene that should rouse even the most apathetic adults. Hearing Dinklage (of Game of Thrones fame) belt out a pirate shanty may be worth the price of admission alone.
With solid action (that doesn't need the 3D addition) cartoony animation and gags out the wazoo Ice Age: Continental Drift is entertainment to enjoy with the whole family. Revelatory? Not quite. Until we get a feature length silent film of Scratch's acorn pursuit we may never see a "classic" Ice Age film but Continental Drift keeps it together long enough to tell a simple story with delightful flare that should hold attention spans of any length. Massive amounts of sugar not even required.
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
Ten inspiring honourees from across the globe were celebrated for their goodwill efforts as they were brought on stage at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles to receive awards from a host of celebrities, including Greg Kinnear and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
In one of the night's most emotional moments, James Bond star Pierce Brosnan recalled his late wife Cassandra Harris, who died of ovarian cancer in 1991, while paying tribute to breast cancer survivor Andrea Ivory, who helps provide free screenings in Florida.
Eva Mendes awarded the Hero of the Year prize and a $100,000 (£62,500) grant to 21-year-old Efren Penaflorida, who founded a mobile pushcart program to distribute books to children in slums in his native Philippines.
Country sensation Carrie Underwood, R&B singer Maxwell and pop star Leona Lewis all performed at the event, which will air in the U.S. on Thanksgiving (26Nov09).