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Hammerle On … 'Mr. Peabody & Sherman,' '300: Rise of an Empire'

Robert Hammerle
March 26, 2014
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bob hammerle movie reviewsMr. Peabody & Sherman”

Like many kids growing up in the 1950s, I fell madly in love with the cartoon show featuring Rocky and Bullwinkle. Lasting from 1959 through 1964, creator Jay Ward brought us some memorable characters with Dudley Do-Right and his girlfriend, Nell; their enemy Snidely Whiplash and the conniving Natasha and Boris Badenov. However, my champions have always been Mr. Peabody and his adopted son, Sherman.

I am delighted to say that director Rob Minkoff’s film “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” captures that everlasting spirit. Sure, it suffers from being a bit foolish, but the movie forces the viewer to relive key moments in human history as well as confronting the meaning of being a good father.hammerle-peabody.jpg

As I watched Mr. Peabody defend his status as a dog who has adopted a human child, I couldn’t help but think of the criticism thrust at homosexuals in today’s world. Much like Mr. Peabody, you see decent people attacked for being unworthy parents. The film provides a meaningful reminder as to why we need to think deeply about living in a state where so-called political leaders are championing a ban on gay marriage.

In addition, we see Sherman being maligned by fellow students at school because of the status of his father. Just like he suffered being called a dog because his father was one, you could only imagine the vitriol thrown at the children of gay parents.

However, the meaning of the film is left for the viewer to comprehend as you watch Mr. Peabody, Sherman and a prejudiced young student named Penny Peterson travel in the WABAC Machine to visit prior civilizations. They tangle with King Tut, duel with Robespierre during the French Revolution, join the Greeks in the Trojan Horse as they prepare to demolish Troy and give advice to Leonardo da Vinci as he tries to get his morose model to smile while painting the Mona Lisa.

All of this is as educational as it is entertaining. Some of the moments are genuinely funny, one centering on Marie Antoinette indulging in her love of cake.

The movie reaches an enjoyable denouement as Mr. Peabody’s world begins to unravel as his WABAC Machine malfunctions, creating a time warp that brings many of the above members of a bygone era into the present world. Many manic encounters follow, including Robespierre’s fascination with a stun gun. Also, watch for a screamingly laughable moment when former President Bill Clinton appears, defending Mr. Peabody’s unfortunate biting of a sinister female welfare investigator with the immortal words, “I’ve done worse.”

Many actors do a fine job contributing their voices to the principal characters, most notably Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Ty Burrell as Mr. Peabody. Thanks to them, the film reaffirms the simple fact that all young boys need a father, something that is terribly lacking today in major metropolitan areas across our country.

If kids have no dad, society has to respond. Any suggestions?

300: Rise of an Empire”

Hollywood has an abysmal history when it comes to action films and the portrayal of women. More often than not, they are little more than attractive, provocatively attired victims in need of help. I truly like both Natalie Portman and Emma Stone, but think of their roles in the recent “Thor” and “Spiderman” movies.

However, director Noam Murro has brought us an intriguing exception to that rule with “300: Rise of an Empire.” Eva Green plays Artemisia, the leader of the Persian naval fleet, and she is a nasty villainess who you will love to hate. Lacking an ounce of compassion as she seeks to destroy a rebellious Greece, wait ‘til you see her seductively kiss the lips of a captive’s head she has just severed.

Like its predecessor “300” (2006), this is a film that you should try to see in 3-D at an IMAX theater. Filmed at times in slow motion, they center on a continual flow of battles where people are brutally killed with blood flying at the screen. Like them or not, they are clearly not for the weak of heart.

Taking place at the same time as the 300 Spartans fell to the Persian God King Xerxes in the Battle of Thermopylae, Persia seeks to get even for the killing of Xerxes’ father by a Greek hero. While Artemisia does the king’s bidding, she is the only person on earth tempestuous enough to insult him.

Sullivan Stapleton plays Themistocles, the Greek naval commander seeking to unite his country. Severely outnumbered by the Persian Fleet, any hope of success depends on convincing the Spartan queen to join the cause. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, as Queen Gorgo, played with passion by Lena Headey, is still mourning the death of her husband, Leonidas, at Thermopylae.hammerle-300.jpg

While the movie is like a painting brought aggressively to life, it is Artemisia’s attempt to seduce Themistocles that commands your attention. The scene where they meet during a truce at sea portrays both opponents perfectly, particularly when they end up having violent sex. Their lovemaking is a visually stunning scene simulating a public execution.

Green is at all times a sight for sore eyes. Much as she did as the distraught vampire who pursued Johnny Depp in the underrated “Dark Shadows” (2012), she basically gives an adversary two choices: Marry me or die. She will soon appear in the sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” and I can’t wait to see what happens to the poor soul who makes the mistake of loving her.

Without giving away the ending, our two antagonists meet in a climatic naval battle. In one of the most historically brilliant lines uttered by a completely unforgiving woman, Artemisia, armed with two swords, sneers at Themistocles as they stand face-to-face, “You fight much harder than you f _ _ _!”

Artemisia was not a woman you would dare bring home to meet mommy.•

__________

Robert Hammerle practices criminal law in Indianapolis. When he is not in the courtroom or working diligently in his Pennsylvania Street office, Bob can likely be found at one of his favorite movie theaters watching and preparing to review the latest films. To read more of his reviews, visit www.bigmouthbobs.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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