This evening, Suzanne and I went to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman. As long-time fans of these characters when they used to appear on “Rocky and Friends”, we were anticipating a very enjoyable and funny experience and we were not disappointed. It is quite true to the Peabody and Sherman that we remember, right down to the witty puns (something I particularly enjoyed.)
For those of you who do not remember Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Mr. Peabody is a genius dog who has invented many things, including a time machine he calls the Wayback Machine, and Sherman is his adopted son. It’s a very funny role reversal. The movie is full of the kind of fractured history and humor for which Sherman and Peabody are deservedly famous – or, at least they were. If, like me, you’re a fan (my inner child relates to Sherman in a number of ways), you will find the movie familiar, fun, and a very good time. The children there seemed to enjoy it too.
There are a couple of moments in the movie that humorously teach our philosophy. Without giving away too much plot, there is one scene where Peabody, Sherman, and Sherman’s new friend Penny are in the Renaissance visiting Leonardo DaVinci (you’ll have to see the movie to see why they made that visit.) While DaVinci and Mr. Peabody are doing some work, Sherman and Penny are exploring. They come upon DaVinci’s flying machine. They figure out how to fly it and are happily flying all around town without incident. They fly by where Peabody and DaVinci are working and Mr. Peabody asks Sherman what he is doing.
“Flying,” Sherman says happily.
“But you can’t fly,” says Mr. Peabody.
“I can’t?” Sherman asks, sounding puzzled. At that point, he crashes the flying machine.
There is another point toward the end of the movie where the situation has gotten ridiculously, humorously, hopelessly out of hand. In the presence of what Mr. Peabody proclaims “the greatest collection of geniuses ever”, it is Sherman who comes up with the pivotal idea that saves the day. As Peabody tells him, “you are a genius.”
These two moments carry important lessons. First, as Henry Ford once said (no, he’s not in the movie), “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” As long as Sherman thinks he can fly DaVinci’s machine, he files it fairly effortlessly. As soon as Peabody reminds him that he can’t fly, suddenly he can’t. He crashes. Do you think you can or do you think you can’t? Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t fly – especially if you’re flying at the time.
And Sherman really is a genius. He simply listens to his intuition, states his idea in its brilliant simplicity (which Peabody then turns into a compilation and calculation), and they execute it, thus solving their problem and returning things to proper order. Sherman is a genius partly because he has grown up with Peabody, but he is also a genius because he follows his own brilliant idea. Are you willing to follow your genius, no matter how ridiculously simple it may appear?
All in all, an enjoyable evening at the movies. And as Mr. Peabody always says, “no doubt about it – every dog should have a boy.” Especially one like Sherman.