FIRST LOOK: Dreamworks’ Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Here’s our first look at the design of Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Dreamworks’ 2014 film based on the classic Jay Ward cartoon. Ty Burrell (of Modern Family) has been cast as Peabody and Max Charles (The Amazing Spider-Man) will vocalize Sherman. What do you think?

(via Collider)


  • Pedro Nakama

    I’m glad it’s going to be completely animated. Any other studio would have a CG dog with a real kid movie.

  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    I’m liking Peabody. I’m on the fence with Sherman. He’s not supposed to be cute, just nerdy. I’m definitely glad that they aren’t making Peabody look like a real dog. I think that there is a bit of the Jay Ward spirit in the limbs and body, but would like to see more before I make a commitment.

    • http://www.dailygrail.com Red Pill Junkie

      Nerdy *IS* cute ^_^

  • A Writer

    I wonder what you Dreamworks animators are doing over there in Sunny cali….

  • Toonio

    Don’t know if the design fits Mr. Peabody’s personality but Sherman looks way off.

    • Christian

      I agree. Mr. Peabody looks like a smart alec instead of that bored intellectual and Sherman looks typical – he doesn’t have that vapid look that made his character.

  • http://whataboutthad.com Thad

    W-T-Fffffffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu….

    • Jorge Garrido

      Likewise.

  • uncle wayne

    Looks wayyyyyy too much fun, and what a great premise for a great film. I can’t wait!!! (I shorrrrrrre hope they don’t fuck up the voices TOO badly, a la Yogi, etc.)

    • Jorge Garrido

      Dude, the voices (aside from the stunt-casting) were the best part of that piece of shit Yogi Bear 3D.

  • Jim Engel

    Thank God they’ve got those realistic taxidermied EYES, with the IRISES ans everything! That’s what I love to see!

    • CG_Animator

      How are those eyes remotely “realistic”?

      • Thomas anderson

        Google a pic of peabody and sherman. I agree with Jim. I HATE those eyes on cartoon characters.

  • Sarah J

    Sherman looks kind of dopey, but it’s okay. Mr. Peabody looks pretty good, just needs a bit more texture.

  • Deaniac

    Aside from Sherman’s buck teeth(??), the designs look alright. I mean hell, I’ll take this over a live action/photorealistic CG hybrid ANY day.

  • Rufus

    Wasn’t Peabody supposed to be vocalized by Robert Downey Jr.?

    I must admit my excitement for this has dropped. I like the earlier designs better.

  • Bud

    Looks rather juvenile.

  • Ed Thompson

    I’m not sure why Hollywood keeps making movies based upon early TV characters. Sure people 40+ years old will be interested, but for most people younger than that the old cartoon itself is not a draw. And usually someone wants to modernize the characters, to make them ‘relevant’. This destroys the last reason to use an established character because it ignores who that character is.

    • John A

      why does Hollywood keep making movies based on early TV characters? Because they were good original ideas, something Hollywood doesn’t have today.If simply copying something that was successful automatically made the copy successful,then I’ve got a painting on velvet of The Last Supper that ought to be worth a FORTUNE.

    • N W Smith

      Why does Hollywood keep making movies based upon early TV characters?

      For one thing, if you don’t do SOMETHING with a character, particularly an animated one, you risk having its trademark name/likeness fall into public domain, and thus lose the revenues generated by toys, t-shirts, under-roos, etc.

      It’s one of the reasons Marvel and DC comics keep “re-booting” the 2nd and 3rd string heroes and bad-guys every ten years or so – even if the comics fail, it’s cheaper than paying the lawyers to iron-clad a trademark renewal on dozens if not hundreds of characters and their likenesses.

  • http://www.elanapritchard.com Elana Pritchard

    Think up a new idea.

  • Kevin Martinez

    The best thing that could possibly come out of this is Dreamworks animating the opening and closing in 2D like they did with Kung Fu Panda. Ideally it would look like the original shorts (but with better animation) instead of… this.

    One thing I can’t stand about about these designs are the irises in the eyes. It makes the characters look creepy and erodes any appeal the designs might have.

  • Geoff

    Looks exactly what I expect, considering the current design trend.
    Despite that, I like it. Always a fan of the characters, so maybe i’m clouded by optimism.

  • Keegan

    Ughhhh why. Just leave pre-existing properties alone, Hollywood. Like fuck.

    They didn’t even try to stylize it. They just downgraded it and made it as generic as everyone other Dreamworks design. F*ck off.

  • http://www.nickbruel.com Nick Bruel

    I just don’t get why modern CGI animators feels so compelled to give their characters these intense, reflective, human eyes… especially when the characters aren’t human. It was what made the designs for “Smurfs” and “Yogi Bear” looks a little creepy, IMO.

    The cynic in me thinks that modern animators just aren’t confident enough that they can evoke the emotions they want with simple dots. But these are pretty talented folk, so that can’t be it.

    Is it because simple dots don’t work with 3-D designs? I’m not convinced. Imagine how awful Tim Burton’s designs for “Nightmare Before Christmas” would look if he had followed this trend.

    Is it because someone in studio marketing learned by way of focus groups that kids only respond to big glass taxidermy (as so aptly put by Jim Engel) eyes? I think the Simpsons has been proving that false for over 20 years now.

    I just don’t get it. I suspect one reason might be because it’s just so easy for CGI animators to go hyper-real with the eyes. But just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      They really should let it go for once. We do not need to see any of that glassy look in those eyes anymore than we have to in real life. One of these days I’d love to great a CG figure who’d be the opposite of all the trends we see CGI flicks that I deliberately make him stand out with this simple dots for eyes (or circles).

    • John A

      You’re exactly right Nick. Rankin Bass used dots for eyes on many of their (actual) 3-D characters and it looked just fine, and they didn’t appear to lose their ability to interact believably with the other characters, either.

      • dcuny

        And don’t forget the R/B blinks, where they’d replace the shape of the pupils instead of using eyelids.

    • Rodrigo

      DreamWorks is a place full of stodgy traditionalists. It goes much deeper than just the realistic looking eyes. Even the technical underbelly of how these CG movies come together is about very antiquated. I think it’s a mixture of old-fart artists/technicians who are comfortable and aren’t interested in innovation, and producers who only follow what has been “successful” in the past–in this case both eyeballs and concepts.

    • Tama

      If you want to see some great CGI that utilizes mostly dots for eyes, take a look at Pocoyo!

  • Chad B

    I think they pushed the “new’ style a little too much, they could have dialed back a bit and kept the models more true to their original style. I hope the script is better then their design. The last thing we need is another Smurfs movie…

  • The Gee

    They should go back in time and saw how they used to look.

    ba dump bump crassssh!

    That is Comedy Gold ™ You’re welcome!

    • The Gee

      by the way, that quip in the first sentence….it could be said to have a Moebius Strip-like sentence structure. The tense in the second clause is either wrong or totally right on.

  • Jason Campbell

    I’m interested in hearing Ty Burrell’s take on the voice, it is a bit of a leap for me to associate the character I remember from the cartoon with anything I’ve seen him do in the past.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly? Most (not all) of you sound like a bunch of whiney, judgmental, people who haven’t even seen more than 2 images from a film. What do you know about it’s potential? This site isn’t a place for snobbish, sloppy comments, rather a place to share inspiring animation/art and constructive criticism.

    They did a pretty darn good job of translating those 2d designs, thank you DreamWorks, for having the guts to do all types of movies with varying styles, and please ignore these pretentious idiots who seem to have lost all hope way too soon.

    • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

      Maybe I’m a pretentious idiot but I think that’s better than taking existing characters and making them look generic. If I were Jay Ward I wouldn’t be too happy with this redesign . Sherman may look cute or even funny, but he’s not the same character at all, and the whole “drawing” style has changed. Mr. Peabody is acceptable.

      They don’t look “terrible” but they look generic and probably the script will add generic emotional conflicts and generic humor. Just imagine Peanuts characters being redesigned in a simmilar way. That would be sacrilege.

      But a long feature with these characters still have some potential if the script is any good, so I have some hopes even if I would much prefer to see Sherman with his original hair and eyes.

      • Mike

        Not a site for snobbish comments you say? Tohohoho, welcome to Cartoon Brew!

      • axolotl

        Yeah, maybe it’s wrong but it’s what makes CB fun to read…

    • Jack

      Uh, they aren’t critiquing the movie, they’re critiquing the designs. And lets me honest, the realistic, glassy eyes on once dot-eyed 2D characters looks very dead and creepy ( actually, those eyes in general look unappealing. Just look at Megamind ).

      As for it’s “potential”, are any movies of this type ever good? We’ve been through Scooby-Doo, the chipmunk movies, the Smurfs, Yogi Bear, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and many more in making. I frankly don’t blame anybody for judging it!

    • Jorge Garrido

      Except nobody actually attacked the film, we’re talking about the designs and nothing more.

  • Mister Twister

    They will never get even CLOSE to the original level of humor.

  • James

    Now Sherman not only has to put up with being Mr. Peabody’s intellectual inferior, but now he even looks the part of the stooge. Mr. Peabody sporting a suave, dapper profile also doesn’t do Sherman any favors.

    I agree that they strayed a bit too far from the Jay Ward style, which could work in CGI. Sherman in particular looks like any generic Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks animated kid with only the glasses and the shirt remotely identifying him with the classic character.

    One big plus: They didn’t wast time giving Mr. Peabody realistic fur, nose texture, etc which killed the Yogi CGI design.

    As for the movie, it does show some great possibilities. I hope they try and emulate the humor from the cartoon and especially hope they don’t try and add some forced drama. Otherwise it wouldn’t be Mr. Peabody and Sherman.

  • JM WALTER

    WHAT?? Where´s Robert Downey??

    Phil Dunphy is a funny guy tho, that´s true.

  • feldfein

    Mr Peabody looks ok, Sherman just looks like any other kid-design from a cg movie.

  • http://tlsaz.tumblr.com Tom

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen Mr. Peabody smile.

    • Steve Gattuso

      Mr. Peabody would smile, but it was always a small turn up of the corners of his mouth, not quite this broad. Amused, but never openly laughing or joking. And Sherman was the quintessential wide-eyed little boy who was amazed by everything. Not quite THIS wide-eyed (cut down on the boy’s Ritalin, STAT!), but just a little kid who happened to belong to the world’s smartest dog.

  • Arthur F

    It’s hard for me to give an opinion because we know this is not how we will see them, the way they will appear, moving within the style of full scenes around them, will make the difference. The beauty of the original was the style. I would say the era of “Dexter’s Lab” cartoons would have had a better chance of capturing it. But I assume Dreamworks CGI wants to have a tv spin-off, filling the other boy with dog, Jimmy Neutron, void. I also wonder how time-travel to history, a unique mainstay of the original series, is going to be interesting to any younger viewer today, as most tv cartoons lazily resort to it.

    • James

      I REALLY hope this isn’t going to turn into Jimmy Neutron. That would kill this movie–surrounding Peabody and Sherman with “real life situations”, stock parents and school children no one cares about and putting too much focus on wacky inventions.

      Not to knock Jimmy Neutron, but that is far and away what Mr. Peabody and Sherman derived its humor from or even what it was about. It should really focus on Mr. Peabody teaching Sherman about history in a funny way using time travel. It’s Mr. Peabody’s time machine after all.

      • Arthur F

        Agree that THE interesting point is a dog with time machine…then teaching history to a kid.
        But by now, SO many cartoons have done this or were created on this theme (“Time Cops”), I will be curious how they will seperate this one, other than nostalgia (like setting it in the early 60s or something, which would be tricky but work for the tv version.)

  • http://vimeo.com/26371073 Dabadie

    Oooooh my GOD !…
    Rocky & Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right had already been ruined. Now, that’s Peabody & Sherman’s turn…

    Such a shame.

    No. Peabody DOES NOT LOOK OK. And Sherman’s teeth aren’t cool.

    This is awful. Simply awful.

    I do hope they will add tons of farts, plus a dozen hurt testicles. Ah!Ah!Ah! That will be veeeery veeeery fuuuuny.

  • DonaldC

    The whole detailed hair thing is distracting on such stylized characters.

    Kinda coming off as uncanny. Kinda.

    • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

      Yeah, I actually dislike the hair more than the eyes. If Sherman had the same haircut as usual and less detail in it I think he would look closer to his original self.

      I don’t think the eyes are extremely realistic and/or ugly, but I like “dot eyes” and I think they could work in CGI, especially in a character with glasses. They would probably look a little more weird in a Tintin design, cause we would see the dots attached to the flesh, but the dots moving behind the glasses should work as they do in 2D animation.

  • J Lee

    Peabudy design — OK. Not great, but at least in the ballpark (and since the Ward original was fairly rounded for a Jay Ward character, easier to emulate to begin with).

    Sherman? Whoever came up with that design should probably have done to them what Walter Tetley’s mom did to him. Walk gingerly back to the drawing board and try again.

  • Greg Chenoweth

    I don’t like Sherman’s teeth but I want to see a trailer to get a feel for the movie.

  • John A

    Mr. Peabody’s original voice and personality was based on Clifton Webb, known for the Mr. Belvedere films and the film noir classic “Laura”. No matter what the situation was, he was always cool, collected and dignified. You’d never catch him with a smirk like the one on this CG impostor.

    • optimist

      Say what?!

      Clifton Webb, while often deadpan, also smirked quite a bit throughout his career, as per his usual supercilious,superior character personas. Mr. Belvedere sure does in “Sitting Pretty” etc.

      That said, for a licensing/promotional single image like the above it’s unlikely any characters would be posed looking bored or unsmiling. He’s still in character-he’s not grinning broadly, after all.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I’m feeling like I’m the only one on this board who thinks that it would have been better to go with a live/CGI hybrid. Of course, full animation will determine just how crazy the action can be. I do agree, however, that Sherman looks too much like Timmy Turner.

  • http://cjartportfolio.blogspot.com/ CJ

    The designs aren’t so bad imo. I think there is something a little dead about them though, a bit uncanny. The dog looks almost perfect but the boy is a bit off. His style seems to conflict with the angulation of the dog’s as though they’re from two different cartoons.

    If you look a the original designs the characters were both shared similar roundness and angulation on the curves and dips of their lines and anatomy. If they aged Sherman up a bit and gave him a bit more angulation in his anatomy as well as did something different with his eyes his design would work better with Peabody’s and have the same amount of fun. :)

  • http://cjartportfolio.blogspot.com/ CJ

    Looking back at the original concept art for Mr. Peabody, both work,but I prefer the build of the 2D design so much more. :(

  • AaronSch

    Since my first reaction was to smile, I have to give the designs a “thumbs-up.” I agree that Sherman seems a bit “off.” However, the bucked teeth aren’t all that exaggerated and the updates seem rather measured. I just hope Sherman is wearing his vintage Keds Hi-Tops!

    I don’t have a problem with the studios resurrecting old properties as long as the spirit of Jay Ward’s original incarnations is not lost. If successfully executed, parents will enjoy the nostalgia and their children will be introduced to characters with more wit and charm than the vast majority of those created in the last few years.

    Thankfully, Mr. Peabody and Sherman will exist in a fully animated world.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It would be kinda neat if they give Sherman that collar belt he had on in the first couple episodes but I doubt that would happen.

  • David

    You guys think this looks bad wait’ll you see the CG designs for Blue Skys Peanuts feature. Charles Schulz is spinning in his urn.

  • Ken Layton

    Oh gawd this looks awful. Please kill me now!

  • Why?

    Am I the only one that is wondering WHY would they make a Sherman and Peabody movie? Whats next, a Gertie the Dinosaur reboot?

  • William

    They look like typical CGI translations. I prefer them drawn by hand.

  • Skip

    The key ingredient that made the original cartoon work so well was the writing. Since I do not like the designs, lets hope that’s because most of the energy has gone in to the writing.

  • Andy

    I can hardly wait.
    The Wayback machine was a few squiggles, dials, and sound effects. It will now become an overblown feast of design and effects. I can already see them hurtling through time, while the theater vibrates from the noise.
    Millions will be spent on updating, and ‘improving’, a cartoon that was done on a shoestring, yet manages to still resonate 50 years later. Somehow I doubt this movie will have the same impact.
    As long as they’re doing it, I’d love to be proved wrong.

  • http://cartoonmonkey.com Chad Essley

    Horrifying. Throw in some auto-tune music and some explosions, and maybe the kids will eat it.

    It’s rare that a 2d cartoon can translate well into dimensional 3d shapes. The thing that gave these cartoons their unique appeal was the abstraction in the shapes of the drawings themselves. The simplicity designed for aesthetics and practical limited cel / cutout animation.

    But then again, it’s easier to stick bones in 3d puppets and have people wiggle them around to make them dance. Is that the theory? In any case it looks terrible.

    I’ll hold out for nice film transfers of the original cartoons on Blu Ray or higher definition. It blows my mind that this hasn’t really been done yet for the vast majority of cartoons shot on film that these companies have in the vaults.

  • Scarabim

    Wow, those are great designs! They don’t stray too far from the originals, yet the’re even more appealing. Kudos to those involved. I’m eager to see this now!

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    It’s apparently futile at this point to complain about the universal, photoreal puppet look. It’s a waste of resources that hampers expression rather than enhances it. It places designers and animators in shackles. The original 2D characters were much stronger visually.

  • http://www.toonocity.com fremgen

    Wait- it’s all a cartoon? Not just a cartoon dog in the real world? Ok, I can get behind that. As for the models, not great but they can work.

  • TempleDog

    The writing better be DAMN good. Having sed that, Peabody is cool, Sherman looks like a background extra from, oh, pick a North American CGI feature.

  • Mick Collins

    This will only be good if the writing is good. So far, Jay Ward remakes are zero for two. Perhaps the third time will be the charm, but I’d be lying if I said I had my hopes up. This is Hollywood we’re talking about, after all. I’m sure the animation work will be fine; I’m confident of that, but what will make or break this will be the story, and if they glop over this with the same hoary old forced emotional tropes (“He’s my best friend…and now he’s gone! What’ll I *do*??) shot through with butt-sniffing/toilet drinking jokes, then they’ll get what they deserve at the box office.

    • John A

      Believe or not, there have been FOUR movies based on
      Jay Ward’s characters: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, and Boris and Natasha. All of them were terrible. Unless someone is able to nail Jay Ward’s writing style, this one will probably be terrible too.

      • TheBandSnapsBack

        All we need now is a film of Quisp and Quake.

      • John A

        TheBand, I could slap you right now for even suggesting such a thing.

      • Ray Ray

        It won’t be surprised Hollywood milks the cereal characters.

      • Falcione

        “Milks”, get it? Hehehe.

  • Joel

    I’d be less trepidatious (heck, I could even get past the eyes) if Dreamworks didn’t have a consistent track record of making boring, bland, generic, and sometimes downright bad movies. They’ve struck gold a few times and have made some great movies, but considering how many more uninteresting movies they’ve made, I’m really unconfident about this. I’m not boycotting this, I’m really stoked that a “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” movie is in the works and will see it. I’m just hoping it’s actually good and enjoyable.

  • dbenson

    I dunno. A big part of the appeal of Jay Ward’s shows was how the animation looked dashed off and improvised, matching the seemingly on-the-fly humor. Too much polish — in 3D or 2D — and you get something like “Freakazoid”, where good-looking animation and orchestral punching of every line undermined bits that probably killed as throwaway story sketches or recording booth asides. Or “Looney Tunes Back in Action,” which was amusing but too often stuffed with overcalculated inside jokes.

    Also, “Peabody & Sherman” was simply anachronistic gags about historical cliches, narrated by the smugly superior hero and capped with a lame-and-proud-of-it pun. Yes, you can expand on the semi-touching origin story (“Every dog should have a boy.”). But beyond that you’re on your own, and that’s where this will succeed or fail.

    The “George of the Jungle” movie worked precisely because it didn’t ape (heh) the animated show. It kept a few identifiers, but mostly giggled along with a different kind of comedy. And “Bullwinkle” was an honorable near miss, because it recognized and tried to address how the characters were so far removed from their proper time and place.

  • http://www.digthiscrazytestpattern.com Kevin Wollenweber

    If anything from the original cartoon will be included, I would expect that we’ll see a retelling of the origin, how Mr. Peabody, the Woof of Wall Street, came to adopt Sherman as his Boy; there is where extra “emotional” content will probably be inserted to add that Disney charm, so to speak–I’d just love to know how the Wayback Machine will look! And, yes, overall, I can only hope, dimly, that the writing will be as inspired, but that was then and this is now, and I don’t think I have to go into detail on that, my friends.

  • The Gee

    Okay. Okay.

    I will acquiesce to the self-decalared “Anonymous” who posted last night.

    Yeah, verily, verily, I’m pre-judging this feature film based on an image prepped for licensing.

    Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the eyes. I haven’t been since…some pigeon movie from years ago. It is one step too far.

    Look at Disney’s “Chicken Little”. They went with dot eyes with the design on the lead character. The bonus is he wears glasses, too, like these two characters.

    It works. It can be done and done well, especially with glasses.

    For those saying Jay Ward cartoons are possible to do right if the writing is there:

    well, yeah. But, there is more to it than just that. There’s a simplicity to it all, design-wise, story-wise, and including gags. So, I’m really, really curious as to what rules were laid out for what they should NOT do, what should NOT be included or attempted.

    I guess it can work and work well even if the end result is totally different than the original, even if in spirit it is different. But, considering the starting point is something already established, no one should expect people to just embrace it out of the gate. If it were Totally New, yes, be shocked at people complaining or making fun of it. But, this is based on an established cartoon property. Expect people to already have something in their heads as to what to expect.

  • Tedzey

    Mr Peabody looks okay, but Sherman…. KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!!!!

  • Alissa

    I thought these were supposed to be Mr. Peabody and Sherman, not Mr. Peabody and Generic Boy #143…

    That said, what is with the entertainment industry and obnoxious hyper-realism? The last place I’d expect to see glassy perfect irises and individual hairs would probably be a Jay Ward cartoon… Less is more people, less is more!

  • Spencer

    There’s a 10% chance this film will live up to its origins. 10.

    But these designs do look pretty cool. I agree that with the realism of the ideas, there’s a tremendous loss in the charm and absurdity of a 2D cartoon creation. It’s the simplicity that made the show a classic, and more so the writing!

    The degeneration of a lot of cartoon classics in the past 2 decades has been due to lack of creativity in cartoon writing with few exceptions. If they can take this model and use it to its maximum creativity, I’ll be sold.

  • Spencer

    If they animate this show with the same zing and sharpness of say Cloudy Chance of Meatballs, I think it’ll have a living chance.

  • Steven M.

    Mr. Peabody looks good, but I’m really not so sure about Sherman.

    Plus I also really hate those hyper-realistic eyes.

  • http://eliasseverin512.tumblr.com Roberto

    I really shouldn’t care anything about this, but this honestly looks like something from a crappy Nintendo 64 game, and I’m not trying to insult the animators or designers who are working on this neither. Hollywood, the executives overseeing these new films, and the animation studios need to work together to innovate and create new successful properties and gather some of the best animators around to create them without too much executive interference rather than recycling old ideas from the past and running them into the ground like this.

  • Scarabim

    Okay, I really don’t get some of the anal nitpicking that’s going on here. Somebody says Sherman looks like Timmy Turner. That brings to mind the hideous CGI renderings of Wanda and Cosmo in that stupid live action Oddparents TV movie last year. THOSE designs deserve to be ripped apart. But these? I was greatly relieved that they look so much like their 2D versions and are so cute. And really – you guys are aware that Jay Ward’s stuff was pretty damn cheap, right? That the animation, for the most part, wasn’t so much limited as it was lame? So what’s with all the fuss over tiny differences? If the movie brings to these fully-animated, CGI versions the same style of dry humor the 2D show had, plus adds a dash of heart, it could truly bring these otherwise-moribund characters back to life. And I say that’s a good thing.

  • MissConception

    Is there really a market for this?

  • http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com Cory Gross

    I LOVE the Rocky and Bullwinkle show and am not particularly offended by these designs. It is 110% better than putting a CGI dog in the real world, and a full 220% better than putting a CGI dog in the real world when the CGI dog doesn’t look like either a real dog nor the original character. The only frame of reference I even have for putting straight Jay Ward designs into 3D is the Peabody animatronic at the old Bullwinkle’s pizza place that my city had when I was a kid… Based on those recollections, I can’t say that a more on-model design would have worked. The one poster above was completely right that the effect of Ward’s animation was not so much a matter of style as technical limitation. It wasn’t for nothing that Rocky and Bullwinkle was called the best radio show on TV. I honestly can’t see a translation of those limitations into CGI and the big screen being appealling.

    As a few people have said, what will make it or break it is the story and its delivery. It has to capture Ward’s frenetic humour, wit and irreverence. The Boris and Natasha movie was actually oddly fun because it was just so weird. The Rocky and Bullwinkle movie was just plain awful because it had some pithy moralizing about friendship and believing in yourself. Granted, I could not bring myself to see Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle. The script is what concerns me, not the designs. The designs are fine.

    And if this works, then I guess Fractured Fairy Tales are Crusader Rabbit are next!

  • Mark Walton

    I may be the only one here who (if I must choose) prefers the look of the new Sherman to Mr. Peabody. while I would be delighted if they could translate the old designs perfectly, in a way that looked good in 3-D (and it can be done – translating a very flat, simple,g raphic character into 3-D – as has been mentioned here: Nightmare before Christmas, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Madagascar, The Incredibles, The Muppets, etc.), but I’d rather see an intentionally different interpretation of a classic character (Sherman – not hideous, IMHO, but definitely different) than a version that looks like a poor, amateurish copy of the original – almost there but not really (Mr. Peabody). It could be worse, and they didn’t go crazy with the fur texture, and at least the pupils are inobtrusive grey and free of veins, etc. – but if you’re going to come that close to the original design, why not go all the way? And yes, I will add to the chorus that DreamWorks will completely ignore: you do not always need pupils! They tend, at best, to look weird and distractingly out of place in simple, cartoony characters, and at worst are ugly and creepy (The Smurfs). I’d love to see an animation test where they actually tried matching the look of the original designs as closely as possible in CGI, dot eyes and all (someone out there should try it!).

  • Steve Gattuso

    I will only be truly disappointed if they fail to end the film with a horrible pun followed by a blat from a tuba.

  • David Breneman

    The bow tie looks weird just stuck on Peabody’s neck. With a high-stylized hand-drawn cartoon, “shortcuts” like that are part of the abbreviated style. With CGI, it just looks weird.

  • Gray64

    The designs look faithful to the Jay Ward originals. As to the CGI over hand drawn, come on folks. We all lament the decline of hand-drawn feature animation in the US (hand-drawn’s alive and well on TV,though), but realistically, more people go to see CGI films than hand drawn ones; or at least, that’s what Hollywood thinks. So long as they keep thinking it, they’re gonna keep making CGI animated films, and not hand drawn ones. You might as well say “why couldn’t this have been done with puppets?” I just hope it’s a good movie.

  • Mac

    I’d never seen a Sherman and Peabody cartoon before this movie was first mentioned here on the Brew. Since then I’ve tried to watch a few of the original cartoons, but I’ve never been able to make it through more than a couple of minutes. I don’t get the appeal of these ugly, boring and unfunny cartoons and don’t know why anyone would want to see full length movie starring even uglier 3D versions of these characters.

  • Brad Constantine

    “If it aint broke, Don’t fix it”
    My and your Grandpa!!

  • Scott

    Ward cartoons worked even without images. The stories were excuses for a non-stop stream of puns – you can listen to them without any picture and the wonderful humor is all there.

    We all know this movie is going to be an “adventure”, with chases, explosions, characters overcoming personal life issues, and a big fight at the finish.

    It’s wrong, and shouldn’t happen.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    On an unrelated note I thought the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie was ok. I mean, it wasn’t a masterpiece or anything but it was entertaining. The characters were CGI but they had a very traditional look and were pretty much like the original designs, the humor was silly but tried to imitate the show, and the emotional scenes were kept to a minimum. Rocky and Bullwinkle, especially, were spot on in their dialogue and characterization. Piper Perabo was ok as the human character, she’s cute and her performance didn’t bother me as she played it like a regular girl who just met his cartoon heroes. I think she was much better than Brendan Fraser and Jenna Elfman in Back In Action, who tried a little too hard to be funny and they mostly weren’t, often interrupting, commenting and overexplaining Bugs’ and Daffy’s gags.

    The main flaw of the movie were the actors playing Boris, Natasha and Fearsome Leader (yes, Robert DeNiro himself). While they were a decent cast since they look like the cartoon characters they often overact way too much, and they were more exaggerated and silly than the cartoons.

    It was far from a masterpiece but it proved that it’s possible to make a movie with Jay Ward characters without adding too much fake emotion or changing the character look or personality. I thought it was as good, if not better, than Back In Action and probably better than full animated movies like Horton or The Lorax (which weren’t “awful” either but they are less sincere).

    If this Sherman and Peabody film is as decent as the Rocky and Bullwinkle one I think that should be enough.

  • http://ryuuseipro.blogspot.com/ John Paul Cassidy

    I’m personally very impressed with these designs. For one thing, they are actually recognizable as Mr. Peabody and Sherman (yes, even with the updated hairdo)! That alone encourages my support for this project. I’m just thankful that they didn’t make them look photorealistic (ala the Chipmunks, Yogi Bear, Tintin, etc.), or do some in-name-only live-action attempt like UNDERDOG! *This* is how Underdog should’ve been done! (It’s too bad Disney chose not to do it like that, whereas DreamWorks, for once, does something right.)

    Although they *do* have hip ‘tude poses in this pic, at least they don’t have the annoying ‘tude faces (one raised eyebrow, smug look, etc.)! They look just right.

    Aside from the designs, I can at least hope the film itself will be good.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    If you found that kid design without Peabody next to him I doubt he would be recognizable as Sherman.

  • http://CartoonBrew D.C.

    HMMMMM…why bother doing this? Even though the characters and cartoons are over 50 years old, they are still very good and have the right look and feel to them. Don’t mess with the classics. If one wants to make a movie do it with original ideas and characters!

  • Annie Allison

    I think Sherman’s design is pretty good. The only thing I don’t like are his eyes. They kind of look brown in this poster, but in another they looked orange or something. It specifically says in the show “I looked into those BROWN eyes” !!! I hope they make them brown. That sounds really stupid, but I can have a small pet peeve. Anyway, huge DreamWorks fan and I WILL be seeing the midnight premeire since its over spring break and I don’t have school the next day. I’m super excited!!!!

  • jarek

    I can’t believe no one is mentioning the voices or personalities of the characters. The voices sound absolutely nothing like the originals and the personalities are not in keeping with the series either. Absolutely terrible.