A First Look at DreamWorks’ “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”

The first set of stills from the upcoming DreamWorks feature Mr. Peabody & Sherman were published in a USA Today article. We’ve posted large versions of the stills in the gallery below.

The film is based on Peabody’s Improbable History, a segment that appeared on the classic Rocky & Bullwinkle TV series. The new CGI Mr. Peabody and Sherman, directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little), will be released theatrically in the U.S. on March 7, 2014.


  • Charlie Gavin

    Realistic irises and faux hawks.

    • optimist

      Faux hawks?

  • STAEDTLER MARS PLASTIC

    So sad to see such fun 2D designs go complete FLAT in 3D.

    • Jonah Sidhom

      What do you mean by flat? Just curious.

      • elliot Lobell

        i think he means uninspired

      • George_Cliff

        I can’t speak for Mr. Plastic, but if you ask me it’s pretty gutsy trying to reproduce in 3D something that had such gorgeous line work in 2D. The style of the original had an energetic intensity that I don’t think you can reproduce with shaded 3D models. That aspect just gets lost in translation.

        • Jean Morel

          It’s just the usual…’turning them into plastic dolls for believability’ purposes.When you look at cg cartoon characters,they are solid objects like live actors,not the same as drawings,for which you have a different mindset to accept as real…curious.

          • Chris Sobieniak

            At least we’re not dealing with skin texture or pores here! I can do without that.

    • IJK

      Claiming Mr. Peabody and Sherman weren’t drawn and animated in a completely flat style.

      I think the word you’re searching for is “unappealing”, which I disagree but whatever. I can tell you’re one of those people who constantly echoes how 3D sucks and “da concept art was better!!!” (Failing to see concept art for EVERYTHING is always better).

      • Not Without

        Sure but with CG concept art can BE THE DESIGN

    • meh

      They’re not necessarily flat as much as they completely lose the iconic silhouette for each character which are at the very essence of the original designs. They’ve so laboriously rendered details like perfectly manicured cow licks, realistic eyes, and wet dog nose textures that nothing is left to the imagination.

      The designs still have their “charm”, but it’s the same pablum that we’re all used to seeing now in 3D animation. It will really depend on the animation if they’re able to pull off the tongue-in-cheek humor of Jay Ward. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

      However, I do like those cars in the background with the Vespa.

  • Jonah Sidhom

    Looks interesting. I love the colors. Looking forward to seeing how this one turns out!

  • Brittany

    I heard good things about the themes in the movie so I’m not giving up hope yet. These designs just look okay. I’m rather disappointed in the girl’s face, she kind of looks like a plastic doll rather than a cartoony little girl. The boy’s face is MUCH cuter and childlike.

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    Mr. Peabody looks enough like Mr. Peabody. Sherman looks like… a generic ‘cute’ bucktoothed kid. And who’s the girl?

    • optimist

      The linked article explains it.

    • smarmy

      ROMANTIC INTEREST!! Because, you know, that an INTEGRAL part of all Peabody and Sherman story lines.

  • tom bancroft

    Yeah, they lost the Sherman look (he is a bit generic) but, generally, I like the fun cartoony look of these characters! I with the Bgs were equally stylized, but in the CG world, you take what you can get as far as style goes.

  • George_Cliff

    As far as I’m concerned the single most critical aspect they have to nail is getting the voices right. If Mr. Peabody doesn’t sound almost exactly like the original I just can’t see myself sitting through this movie.

  • http://deaniac.deviantart.com/ Deaniac

    I know it’s easy for some people to be turned off by the character designs, but after reading the USA Today article it sounds like the producers really are trying to stay true to the source material. Time travel is central to the story and Peabody still makes corny puns. As long as those things remain intact, I see nothing wrong here.

    That said, the character design and art direction overall look splendid. I’m actually shocked how close Peabody’s CG design is to the original form. Aside from his wacky hairdo, Sherman looks okay too. Those environments look gorgeous and vivid. I’m eager to see a trailer for this movie now.

    • Barrett

      The character designs are probably the best possible ones for turning Ward’s hyper-2D visuals into 3D. The ancillary characters look too modern, nothing like what a Jay Ward-designed girl would look like. So many modern female character designs go for the same wide head shape and almond eyes. Jay Ward characters tended to have buggy round eyes.

      I’ll hold off on critiquing the film itself until there’s anything substantial to see. As long as the story revolves around time travel and has a lot of puns and quick timing, it should be at least serviceable.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    It’s never just a solid black pupil really.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Party pooper.

  • Dabadie

    THOSE STILLS ARE ABSOLUTELY AWFUL. UGLY. THE POSINGS DON’T WORK AT ALL (look at the way they are running or walking on those stills >> this is an insult to the incredibly funny designs – and posings – of the Ward & Scott Productions). THIS IS NOT ONLY GENERIC ; THIS IS TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE. WHO IS THE NEXT ONE TO GET ADAPTED IN A DUMB 3D PRODUCTION ?? ROGER RAMJET ? MISTER MAGOO ?
    All that stuff is SO SAD, SO PITIFUL.

    • Matthew Koh

      And that my friends, is how a CB reader behaves in it’s natural habitat.

    • JB

      So what you’re saying is…

      WAH!!! THEY LOOK NOTHING LIKE PEABODY AND SHERMAN! THE ORIGINALS WERE BETTER! 3-D SUCKS! 3-D ANIMATION IS A PLAGUE ON CINEMA AND THE CULTURE AT LARGE! A POX ON DREAMWORKS AND THEIR STUPID 3-D MOVIES! LONG LIVE 2-D!

      Give me a break.

      • Dabadie

        Nooooo. What I am saying – with insistance – is that THOSE ADAPTATIONS, most of them made in 3D, are AWFUL. Trying to adapt those kind of designs (Jay Ward Prod., Bagdassarian’s Alvin & the Chipmunks…, Roba’s Smurfs…) in a three-dimensionnal universe is a very risky challenge. Most of the time, it DOES NOT WORK. There can be some exceptions. And that is not a matter of 3D animation against 2D animation ; please, don’t make a caricature of what I wrote : I work with those technologies, so I know how touchy, capricious, they are. Those visual universes produced in the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s were cutely dissymetrical, were very funny and efficient as they were drawn in a nick of time, with talent, by wonderful professionals. Trying to adapt in 3D animation the Yellow Submarine or Mr Peabody & Sherman’s time travels, or Alvin & the Chipmunks, or Roger Ramjet, Mister Magoo, etc., is almost absurd, at least very very very complicated.
        Wreck-It Ralph, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Brave… have a strong, consistent, design, because they were developped, based on original ideas ; designs which were not translated (with bad taste), but created. I could criticize several 2D adaptations (bad adaptations) with the same harsh tone. Either contemporary or oldie. For example, De-Patie – Freleng’s adaptations of Theodore Geisel’s books were not really really good ; to my point of view, the ending credits of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, using kind of cut-out animation, do not work very well…
        So that’s not a matter of 2D against 3D.
        And that is not a matter of old classics against animation produced today.
        That’s only a matter of creativity and sharp eye.
        What I observe on those few stills is bad design, bad layout, bad posings, lousy color design and generic soft lighting.

    • Why…..why……why……

      No… the next one is Popeye.

      • Funkybat

        Ugh, don’t remind me.

        Well, I am willing to have *some* hope for the Popeye movie mainly because Genndy Tartakovsky’s directing, and because it’s Sony, and I feel like between Hotel Transylvania and the Cloudy movies, Sony is doing pretty well when it comes to making 3D feel “cartoony” when it comes to posing and timing.

        Still, I don’t expect anything to capture the “feel” of Segar’s strips in 3D, it’s almost as preposterous as that 3D Charlie Brown movie that’s in development. Jay Ward, Charles Schulz, Segar…..these are not artists whose drawings are really translatable to 3D in any kind of meaningful way. Disney features, it was possible and with a lot of blood sweat and tears, they finally made it work in Tangled. But that’s because Disney has always drawn characters with dimensionality and volume. Jay Ward is about as far from that as possible, and for what his cartoons were, that was GOOD, in much the same way the early Simpsons worked in part because of the “bad drawings.” Not every animated thing needs to be drawn (or rendered) like a maquette. I wish that any digital Mr. Peabody & Sherman or Bullwinkle adaptation would go the route of South Park; use digital technology to move around a bunch of layered “flat” shapes. THAT would have been cool to see.

      • George Comerci

        Wait….you’re kidding right???

  • Jason Cezar Duncan

    Even if it’s “good”, even if it rings true to the original, I ask “why?” Why do they insist on reviving 30+ year old properties made for television in 3D animated feature films?

    • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

      Money.

    • Mac

      30+?That + is another 25 years.Mister Peabody turns 55 next year.

    • Mac

      Oh,and that 55 translates to 495 dog years.

  • ILDC

    Looks almost like a lower-budget CG movie.

  • TStevens

    Where’s Ponsonby Britt when you need him the most???

  • IamSam

    Looks like something anyone can render on their pc

  • Arthur F.

    Well, the motorcycle and sidecar look great, but like they must come from another project. They have dimensionality, wonderful material/lighting qualities that contrast with the flatly dull character faces (and the secondary girls characters especially.) Peabody is ok enough, the voices will make up some of the difference, but still, one has to ask, with all the time-travel that has already entered cartoon lore, and dogs/humans relationships since then, why not just have embarked (yes, intended) on an original version. I watched the original series and it’s not about feature length, it’s about being a vignette inside of a variety of vignettes, catering to shorter attention spans, and that assists the occasional pun from overstaying its welcome.

    • Funkybat

      I think we all know the answer to your questions, so I don’t even really need to spell it out for you, other than with this symbol; $.

      That said, there is always a chance that a reboot/revival/cash in movie can be something original and entertaining. Don’t forget, every year there are plenty of “new ideas” for movies that get written, directed and produced, and what ends up on the screen is pure garbage. Even if you want to talk about indie/non-Hollywood original films, for almost every good or great “arthouse” film there is one that would more appropriately called “outhouse” due to bad acting, poor storytelling or direction, or all three.

      I am kind of tired of all the adaptations and reboots, but give it a chance, some of them are actually really good films. Hell, even The Iron Giant was an adaptation of an old kid’s book.

  • Alex Irish

    As I look at these stills, I see a whole bunch of expressions I’ve seen on a lot of other CGI features. This is one of the few times I can honestly say that. Based on these expressions, I can tell the animation acting/movement is going to be stuff we’ve seen before, too. This was a case of making poor choices when adapting such a graphically-oriented cartoon to photo-real CG.

  • Laura Hohman

    I saw a few scenes of this at ComicCon and was really surprised. I agree its not the most appealing or original character design, but I really dug how they translated the source material and kept the vibe of the 2d animation. Give it a chance!

  • UsaMiKo

    It looks …cute. I guess there’s really no way to tell what kind of story it’ll turn out to be ( well, unless of course you’ve seen the shorts from yesteryears, then you could make a pretty informed guess) until it comes out. But in all truth the only thing I’m really excited for from Dream works is My Shadow and Me. No offense to this movie or anything, but I’m just so excited to see some form of 2d animation on the big screen again, even if it in small parts. But this one looks ..okay.

    • Funkybat

      Seriously. I was pissed when I heard “Me & My Shadow” had been put into “development hell.” That movie was the #1 thing I was waiting for the most out of Dreamworks. I hope it lives to see the light of day!

  • Is it Just me?

    Is it just me, or does this look like a bad student film? The characters look really awful. Lifeless faces, devoid of appeal. Maybe this is from the DW crew that brought us Bee Movie, and not the crew that brought us How to Train your Dragon?

    • Chris

      Look like a bad student film?
      Wow!
      Did you make a student film? I’d love to see it, with your exceptional high standards :)

      It must be pretty darn amazing if the above pictures represents “bad student film”

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Looks okay. I knew they’d give Sherman a romantic interest.

    • Funkybat

      It would be nice if, just for once, they set up the whole boy/girl thing to make the audience *think* that a romantic interest is brewing, but then derail it irrevocably. I really liked that aspect of Paranorman, though I would love to see it come even earlier than the epilogue.

  • Barrett

    One could theorize that Dexter might have been partly inspired by Sherman. As I look at him more and more, I’m also pretty sure that Brian from Family Guy was inspired by Mr. Peabody. People have gotten a lot of mileage about of comparing Brian to Snoopy, but aside from the build and the anthropomorphization, I never really saw it. On the other hand, Mr. Peabody and Brian are both somewhat full-of-themselves and smarter than their companions. (They also have done quite a bit of time-traveling, but Brian only did that later on and with Stewie as the “scientist” of the pair.)

  • Dabadie

    Discovering those stills made me really angry.

    Why ? Because they tend to become the dominant kind of animation we may see on screens in the forthcoming years. Studios making money like this have become models. The model to follow. That kind of desparating, anti-creative, formula has always existed, ant that clearly won’t change. But, those last few years, it saturated the market.

    When I discovered Leslie Nielsen disguised as Quincy Magoo, I got so sad for him. This was so pitiful.

    When I watched the 1st ten minutes of Underdog, with that cute little doggy wearing his cape, when I watched the Rocky & Bullwinkle feature produced by De Niro, with the very unfunny Kenan Thompson & Kell Mitchell guest appearances, when I discovered the first tests of the – fortunately – discarded Yellow Submarine mo-cap feature, when I watched the Alvin and the Cheapmunks feature, with their hyper realistic 3D fur, their very vulgar and flat humour, when I had a glance of the brand new Yogi & Boo-Boo (burp jokes), when I saw the Smurfs’s texture used on their blue skin… well, I was so sad. So sad for all those sympathetic little dollars that could have been invested in original projects, with a design developped following a concept or a script which basically is ORIGINAL. So sad for all those people wasting their talent – when talent there is – and their time while working on such mediocre projects.

    Good animated adaptations, or reboots, have been produced those last few years, either in the tv series area or the features, but they are unfortunately rare.

    Anyway, there are two risky parameters to consider :

    1/ the feature’s LENGTH >> there are some wonderful concepts which work perfectly in a less or more short format and the clearly don’t work when spread out on 120 minutes (Beavis & Butt-Head, for example).

    2/ The choice of TECHNOLOGY & RENDERING. And the talent – or the lack of talent – of the people that use that technology. Today, you can use a 3D software, or vector animation software like Flash, or compositing software, and be able to create a very very large palette of designs, a very large palette of styles of animation. And not necessarily very costly.

    Could you imagine Jay Ward & Bill Scott & Ted Key, in front of a computer, working on the 2013 Peabody & Sherman Improbable History feature. Would they have produced hyper-texturized, smoothed, 3D animation ? Would they consider it appropriate ?

    You can’t use the color palette of Fragonard’s Escarpolette, with characters built as Polly Pocket puppets, and hope bringing potentially funny visuals to the screen.

    Let’s get back to the Peabody & Sherman stills ; let’s focus on the way they run on those stills >> these are the kind of posings (the orientation of the knees, of the elbows…) which is almost realistic. If you substract the skin and the proportion, and only consider the poses, Peabody & Sherman seem to be running like Action Man or GI Joe.

    Those animators did not understand the material, the references, they were working with.

  • George Comerci

    Not familiar with the original Peabody and Sherman, but this looks good. Everything seems stylized and smooth, so there’s that. The animation seems very detailed, almost like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. I’m sure that’s what they were going for, because it’s VERY well done.

    • Dabadie

      NO. Sorry to insist. It is not very WELL done. It is clean, yes ; it will be smooth : obviously, as they will render every frame ; rythming ? Timing ? >> No comment : we only have a few stills.
      BUT those characters are supposed to move in a not-realistic way. And what we can observe on those stills is obviously NOT the appropriate approach.
      Funkybat wrote in a much better language than mine what had to be written. Logically, the producers aiming at adaptating those licenses’ designs : Charlie Brown, Jay Ward stuff, etc., may try to understand, then adapt, what made the original success of those licenses. For the case of Jay Ward productions, that CAN’T be done with 3D animation as ALL the charm comes from drawings that are more than simply flat, they are dissymetrical, almost cubicist, and very quickly drawn. The charm comes from spontaneity : drawings produced in 15 seconds.

      • George Comerci

        I see your point…what do you think the Peanuts movie will look like?

        • Dabadie

          I don’t know. And don’t have any pre-conceived idea about CGI animation ; with lots of work and enough talent, it could work. Anyway, the 1st challenge is the tone, the pacing, and that typical sense of humour used in the Peanuts comics : Charles Schulz’ characters are very talkative, and don’t move a lot. This is so subtle, sophisticated. Many actual productions tend to develop gags with lots of gesticulations + minimalistic dialogs (+ farts, + burps…). If they try to mix those formulas with Schulz’s universe, either in 2D or 3D animation, that may be a pure catastrophy.

          What Bill Melendez & his crew produced many years ago was rather cool (I love She is a good Skate, Charlie Brown). They managed to animate gags based on subtle choreographys and well paced dialogs. and that was really clever and funny. The french voice acting (I am french) was really really good. This is not nostalgia as I have watched a few episodes last year.
          I do hope that the Normaal Studio (Paris & Angouleme, France), that is working on a Peanuts tv serie at this present time, will manage to produce something good.

          They had adapted Franquin’s Gaston Lagaffe comics as an animated tv serie two or three years ago (a comics star in France and Belgium) ; and it was rather funny. But the animation was mostly minimal cut-out. After Effects or Flash ; I don’t know. And, to my mind, that was not the ideal kind of animation for Gaston Lagaffe.
          BUT that style of animation may work rather well with Charlie Brown & Snoopy. Probably far better than with Gaston Lagaffe.

  • Cezar

    The reason Brian the dog and Stewie were created.