I went on a school trip the other week: Thomas’s class were visiting the local cinema to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The (somewhat tenuous) curricular connection concerned the fact that a portion of the time-hopping animated movie is set in ancient Greece – specifically by the walls of Troy, where a group of brawny warriors are sitting inside a large wooden
rabbit badger horse. For the uninitiated, the film is about Mr. Peabody – a scientifically brilliant (but emotionally aloof) anthropomorphic dog with a fondness for bow ties – and the human he adopts. Mr. Peabody and Sherman build a time machine and and the rest, as they say, is history.
If this is all sounding a little bit familiar, it’s the Ouroboros effect: the original Mister Peabody preceded Doctor Who by some years, and the influence of one on the other are uncharted. Certainly Mr. Peabody as visualised here is a well-meaning but borderline inapproachable genius in the manner of Tom Baker, although he’s also a dab hand at mixing a cocktail. There is also yet another explanation as to how the sphinx lost its nose. In any event, Dreamworks did acknowledge the similarities between the two in a trailer they released last November.
Much of the film is spent dealing with characters and situations the Doctor seems to have avoided, at least in his TV adventures – but there are connections, if you know where to look. The visualisation of the time vortex, for example, is quite striking.
But if you’re going to do a Peabody / Who mashup you really can’t just Photoshop the TARDIS into the blue swirly thing and leave it at that. There’s also the fact that they visit sixteenth century Florence, just as Da Vinci is finishing off the Mona Lisa, and so –
Meanwhile, back in New York, there’s a Blinovitch effect when two Shermans meet –
(And yes, the heads are horribly over-sized. It fits with the film, and Dick and Dom got an entire show out of it.)
Finally, in the fields near Troy, Steven Taylor has clearly forgotten to pull up the handbrake on the wooden horse.
And yes, unless you’re familiar with ‘Mawdryn Undead’, ‘The Myth Makers’ and ‘City of Death’, those are going to pass you by. Still, there’s this.
If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing
well hastily, while primary school children are pulling at your arm and nagging to use the computer. I’d say that we should stop there before we go too far, but I fear that ship has sailed.