MAN is most definitely a dog’s best friend in Rob Minkoff's computer-animated time-travelling yarn based on characters created for segments in the 1960s TV series, The Rocky And Bullwinkle Show.
Mr Peabody & Sherman harnesses the latest digital trickery to propel the hyper-intelligent canine protagonist and his adopted son on a rip-roaring adventure, including pit-stops in besieged Troy, 18th century France and the Italian Renaissance.
Mr Peabody (voiced by Ty Burrell) is a talking dog, whose myriad achievements include a Nobel Prize, two Olympic medals and the invention of zumba.
As a potted history lesson, the film shoehorns facts and figures including the mummification rituals of King Tutankhamun (voiced by Zach Callison) between breathlessly orchestrated action set-pieces and slapstick humour.
Craig Wright’s smart script refuses to roll over for sugary sentiment, charting a less obvious route to our heartstrings as the four-legged lead character learns that when his son says, “I love you”, it’s unacceptable to respond “I have a deep regard for you as well”.
It’s this touching central relationship that anchors the picture, ensuring Minkoff's colour-saturated romp is a well-groomed pick of the animated litter.