The Real Impact of Mr. Peabody & Sherman


A groundbreaking movie directed by Rob Minkoff, director of The Lion King, was a hit for a moment, but was and is greatly underappreciated eight years later. A talented inventor, scientist, and genius dog adopts a young child: as the child grows, the two of them embark on one of the most extraordinary adventures imaginable as they race against time to repair history and save their futures. Rob Minkoff is the director of the 2014 animated masterpiece that didn’t get enough love, Mr. Peabody & Sherman

Sherman, a seven year old boy, lives with his adoptive dog father, Mr. Peabody. On Sherman’s first day of school, he makes a mistake and hurts another kid. Sherman’s mistake is seen as a parenting error so bad, the school and Child Protective Services (CPS) feels the need to investigate. In order to show that Mr. Peabody is a good parent, he invites the parents of the kid Sherman hurt, Penny, over for dinner the same night CPS is coming to investigate. At dinner, Sherman tells Penny about The WABAC, a time machine Mr. Peabody designed to take Sherman to the past and teach him about history. Sherman and Penny end up taking the WABAC and things go awry. The rest of the movie is Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and Penny trying to desperately fix their mistakes and get back home before Penny’s parents realize they’re gone, and before the CPS agent shows up. 

The movie explores a theme of discrimination against minorities in a subtle way. Social services and CPS officials can be quick to jump to bad conclusions about parents based on their race, ethnicity, past, etc. This is represented in the movie through the fact that Mr. Peabody is a dog. He is a minority in the situation, and the CPS official jumped to conclusions about him being a terrible father because of it. Even though this is a kids movie, subtly exposing them to problems in our society allows kids to comprehend said problems better in the future and Mr. Peabody & Sherman does it perfectly.

Through the duration of the movie, they travel to four different historical events. The French Revolution in 1789, the reign of King Tutankhamun of Ancient Egypt in 1332 B.C.E, The Italian Renaissance in 1508, and The Trojan War in 1184 B.C. When visiting the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette’s love of cake is extremely exaggerated but completely relevant to illustrating the start of the French Revolution. Although the movie is dramatizing the historic events for entertainment, it still manages to include key facts, such as the mention of the Reign of Terror, a large event where a series of massacres and numerous public executions took place. Mr. Peabody gets caught in this event and is to be executed by guillotine.

Outside of the historical aspect of the movie, there’s clear progression and growth of a meaningful and unique father-son relationship between Mr. Peabody and Sherman, as well as a romance subplot—an enemies to lovers if you will—between Sherman and Penny. Mr. Peabody adds some comedy in his life-of-the-party but somehow still serious personality, as he drops puns throughout the movie. Before you shy away from the mention of puns, they’re pretty good. When they go to Ancient Egypt to rescue Penny and she refuses to be rescued, Mr. Peabody says she’s “in deNile.”

This masterpiece of a movie is an over exaggerated, dissectible, and entertaining way of learning about important historical events. Even though the movie is made for kids, anyone and everyone can learn something. Rob Minkoff pulled off an incredibly crazy plot incredibly well, but was terribly short changed in the appreciation of the movie. A few students at Enloe had great things to say about the movie:

“Mr. Peabody & Sherman takes you on a beautiful journey and teaches you not only the importance of history but the importance of love, family, and friendship.”

 – Holly Smith, first viewed the movie at age 9


“The dog is cute and it makes history understandable to a young audience. It’s history but it’s entertaining. And the dog is cute-that’s my main point.”

– Malinn Welch, first viewed the movie at age 8


“I just watched it last night and I’ve already watched it two times since. It’s so entertaining. How could you not love it?”

– Rowan Burgon, first viewed the movie at age 16


If that doesn’t show you how much of an impact Mr. Peabody & Sherman made, and still makes, then the masterpiece will sadly continue to go underappreciated.