Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a 2014 American computer-animated science fiction comedy film based on characters from the Peabody’s Improbable History segments of the animated television series The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film was directed by Rob Minkoff from a screenplay by Craig Wright, with Alex Schwartz and Denise Nolan Cascino serving as producers and Tiffany Ward, daughter of series co-creator Jay Ward, serving as executive producer. Mr. Peabody & Sherman features the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, and Allison Janney.
It is the first DreamWorks animated feature to feature characters from the Classic Media library since its acquisition by DreamWorks Animation in 2012, the first animated adaptation of a Jay Ward property, and Minkoff’s first animated film after having co-directed The Lion King for Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1994.
Mr. Peabody is a gifted anthropomorphic dog who lives in a penthouse in New York City and raises his adopted human son, 7-year-old Sherman, and tutors him traveling throughout history using the WABAC, pronounced “way back”, a time machine. They visit Marie Antoinette in Versailles during the French Revolution in 1789. Getting caught in the Reign of Terror, Peabody is nearly sent to the guillotine to be executed by Maximilien Robespierre, but escapes with Sherman through the Paris sewers.
In the present day, Sherman attends the Susan B. Anthony School on his first day, while Peabody struggles to come to terms with Sherman’s growing maturity as he fears of losing his bond with him. Sherman’s knowledge of the apocryphal nature of the George Washington cherry-tree anecdote leads to a fight with one of his classmates, a bossy girl named Penny Peterson, in the cafeteria where she puts him in a choke hold, accusing of him of being a dog due to the fact that he was raised by Peabody. Peabody is called in by Principal Purdy as Sherman had bitten Penny in self-defense, and also confronted by Ms. Grunion, a Child Protective Services agent, who suspects that Sherman’s behavior is due to being raised by a dog and plans to visit to their home to investigate whether or not he is an unfit parent. Peabody invites Penny and her parents, Paul and Patty, over for dinner to reconcile before Ms. Grunion arrives. Penny calls Sherman a liar for claiming first-hand knowledge of history. Despite Peabody’s contrary instructions, Sherman shows Penny the WABAC to show proof and takes her into the past, where she stays in Ancient Egypt in 1332 BCE to marry King Tut. Sherman returns to get Peabody’s help. Peabody hypnotizes the Petersons and heads to Egypt to stop the wedding. Penny initially refuses to leave, hoping to achieve Tut’s riches after he dies, until she is informed that she as well will be killed alongside Tut during the wedding and escapes with Peabody and Sherman.
While trying to return, the WABAC runs out of power, so they stop at Renaissance Florence in 1508 where they meet Leonardo da Vinci and Lisa del Giocondo, pioneering Mona Lisa’s famous smile. Penny and Sherman explore da Vinci’s attic and find his flying machine. Penny goads Sherman into flying it, which he manages to do before crashing. Da Vinci is thrilled the device works, but Peabody is upset that Sherman was almost killed, while also having destroyed a historical artifact. When they resume their journey, Sherman learns of Ms. Grunion’s plot to take him away and enters a fight with Peabody. As they feud, a black hole in time forces them into an emergency landing during the Trojan War in 1184 BCE. Upset about Peabody not trusting him, Sherman runs away and joins the army of King Agamemnon in the Trojan Horse, but reconciles with him during the battle. During the final parts of the Trojan War, Penny and Sherman are trapped inside the Horse as it rolls towards a ravine. Peabody saves them but presumably dies during the attempt. Believing Peabody to be dead, Sherman breaks down in tears over his apparent death while Penny comforts him.
Feeling bad for his actions, Sherman decides to go home and pilots the WABAC to a few minutes before they left in the present to get Mr. Peabody’s help to fix everything, despite Peabody’s earlier warnings to never return to a time when they existed. As Sherman and Penny try to explain the situation, Sherman’s earlier self shows up. When Grunion arrives, Peabody tries to conceal from the Petersons the presence of two Shermans; but the second Peabody arrives back from Ancient Troy, complicating the situation. Troy Peabody reveals he survived the crash, much to Sherman’s relief. Grunion attempts to collect both Shermans, but they and the Peabodys merge back together, causing a massive cosmic shockwave. Grunion grabs Sherman to take him away for good, to which an enraged Peabody reverts to his natural dog instincts and furiously bites Grunion in retaliation, who then calls the New York Police Department. Peabody, Penny, and Sherman race to the WABAC, but cannot time-travel due to a rip in the space-time continuum caused by the merger of their cosmic doubles. The collision caused a portal to appear above New York and historic objects and figures rain down everywhere in the city.
Mr. Peabody crash-lands the WABAC in Grand Army Plaza at the base of William Tecumseh Sherman’s statue. Historical figures and police officers quickly surround them, while Grunion calls in animal control to arrest Peabody. Penny explains that everything was her fault, but Grunion contends that it is all because a dog cannot raise a boy. Sherman counters Grunion by saying that if being a dog means being as loving and loyal as Peabody is, then he is proud to be a dog, too. Penny, her parents, the historical figures, and others all make the same pledge. George Washington grants Peabody a presidential pardon which is supported by Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton. When larger objects such as the Sphinx, the RMS Titanic and the Florence Cathedral begin falling through the rip, the people of the present and the past are forced to brainstorm ideas to prevent disaster. To close the rip, Peabody and Sherman take off in the WABAC, travel into the future for a few minutes, and undo the damage. The historical figures are dragged back to their respective times, with Agamemnon abducting Grunion back to his own time as she vows revenge on Peabody.
Sherman returns to school, having become great friends with Penny. History, meanwhile, is contaminated with modern traits, with Tut throwing a New York-themed party, da Vinci and del Giocondo pioneering pop art, Washington and Benjamin Franklin competing over the value of the banknotes with their respective faces on them, Albert Einstein going into a rage upon being unable to solve a Rubik’s Cube, Robespierre failing to use a taser properly, and Grunion and Agamemnon getting married in the Trojan Horse by Odysseus.
Ariel Winter and Ty Burrell at the film’s Australian premiere in Sydney
Ty Burrell as Hector J. Peabody, a talking intelligent white beagle, business titan, inventor, scientist, Nobel laureate, gourmet chef, and two-time Olympic medalist.
Max Charles as Sherman, Peabody’s seven-year-old adopted young boy.
Ariel Winter as Penny Peterson, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson’s daughter and Sherman’s classmate.
Stephen Colbert as Paul Peterson, Penny Peterson’s father and Patty’s husband.
Leslie Mann as Patty Peterson, Paul’s wife and Penny’s mother.
Allison Janney as Karen “Edwina” Grunion, the bigoted and stocky Children’s Services agent.
Stephen Tobolowsky as Principal Purdy, the principal of Sherman’s school.
Stanley Tucci as Leonardo da Vinci
Patrick Warburton as King Agamemnon
Zach Callison as King Tut
Steve Valentine as Ay
Dennis Haysbert as Judge
Leila Birch as the WABAC
Karan Brar as Mason, one of Sherman’s friends.
Joshua Rush as Carl, another one of Sherman’s friends; he also wears glasses and is seen in a wheelchair.
Thomas Lennon as Italian Peasant 2