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  • Adaptation Displacement: Though Rocky and Bullwinkle is iconic, the shorts the film are based off are rather obscure.
  • Accidental Innuendo: "Sherman! I've got to get you out of here before you touch yourself!" Though given Ms. Grunion's response, it was probably intentional.
  • Applicability: The entire custody arc works very well as an analogy for gay adoption. From Sherman being called a dog for having a dog father, to Peabody's hurt feelings at Sherman's insistence that he's not a dog, to the rallying "I'm a dog!" scene at the end.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: Penny. Many dislike her for her vicious bullying of Sherman, which is quickly forgotten about and never completely resolved, along with the fact that she causes most of the conflict in the film which goes uncalled out on, and her romance with Sherman coming completely out of nowhere. Others, however, still like Penny for the fact that she redeems herself by the end, apologizes for her actions, and the novelty of Ariel Winter Playing Against Type.
  • Catharsis Factor: While it leads to Ms. Grunion taking even further measures, seeing Mr. Peabody use his Papa Wolf instincts by biting the Fat Bitch as she was painfully taking Sherman away from him is tremendously satisfying.
  • Cult Classic: While it turned out to be an Acclaimed Flop, the movie has a fanbase among history nerds and is appreciated for it's Applicability in the titular duo's Interspecies Adoption.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Agamemnon, in part due to being funny and badass, and also Patrick Warburton voicing him.
  • Gateway Series: A lot of people were introduced to Rocky and Bullwinkle through this film, which was based on one of that show's supporting segments.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The gag of Benjamin Franklin pulling all the ladies to him is actually accurate to a degree: he was quite a ladies' man no matter how old and fat he got. To give some idea just how much: In addition to the unknown mistress who birthed his son William, he had at least two known mistresses in France, one of whom was married.
    • It's really no wonder the French general was outraged by the canteloupes; when it comes to fruit symbolism, melons have been symbols of gluttony, luxury, and wealth. All of which symbolize the aristocracy that were being reviled during the French revolution.
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    • The drink Peabody mixes for the Petersons, "Einstein on the beach", serves as a triple stealth pun: 1. "Sex on the beach" is an actual name of a cocktail, but adult beverages are bad enough in a children's animated feature without mentioning sex. 2. Albert Einstein's Theories of Relativity were instrumental in developing our modern understanding of time, which is what the portion of the movie bookended by the scene is all about. 3. The opera Einstein on the Beach is episodic in nature and doesn't have a plot per se, like the part of the movie that's bookended by this scene is.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Those very familiar with history may be uncomfortable with the film's Lighter and Softer versions of historical figures. King Tut's happiness losing Penny at the end and continuing his life back in his time period is very jarring for those who know he dies young, a fact that is even mentioned in the movie.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sherman and Penny's designs cause them to resemble John Egbert and Rose Lalonde from Homestuck. One person actually exploited this and by making some edits to a picture from the trailer managed to trick a good number of people into thinking that DreamWorks Animation was making a Homestuck movie.
    • Bolt also features a rather intelligent white dog and a girl named Penny. Even the Penny from that film has almost the same hair/eye color as Sherman.
    • Beethoven is seen playing on a Dance Dance Revolution arcade. DDR's rival Pump It Up has a song called "Beethoven's Virus". Coincidence or Shout-Out?
      • He's actually dancing to DDR's own Speed Over Beethoven.
  • Moe: Sherman.
    • Penny, despite initially being a Jerkass to Sherman, also counts.
  • Moral Event Horizon: When Ms. Grunion separated Mr. Peabody from Sherman. If you think that's a little undeserving, then there's the moment where she sports a Psychotic Smirk after Mr. Peabody let his Papa Wolf instinct get the better of him and bite her, showing that she's going to separate them permanently.
  • Older Than They Think: Not everyone seems to realize the film is based on a 1960's cartoon. At least on YouTube, some people who watched the trailers think that Mr. Peabody was based on Brian from Family Guy.
  • Squick: When escaping from the French Revolution Sherman trips and falls face first in a puddle of water, which he comments tastes gross.
    Mr Peabody: Interestingly, that's not water!
  • Strangled by the Red String: Sherman's (sudden and intense) interest in Penny is dropped in the audience's lap clumsily and with little warning or foreshadowing, especially in light of the fact that their main interactions so far have been ugly and antagonistic. As Mr. Peabody actually mentioned, it seems his crush on Penny developed out of jealousy when he saw that she was about to marry King Tut.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Many fans of the original show are complaining that Mr. Peabody appears to have Taken A Level In Kindness in the movie, as opposed to the more distant authority figure he is in the show. Others are complaining at how the duo's relationship is slightly altered (here, Peabody is Sherman's adoptive father and it's the heart of the story, instead of Sherman simply being Peabody's "pet" with the joke being that the dog/master roles are switched), or indeed, even elaborated on at all, from the original segments. Still others are complaining about the apparent Romantic Plot Tumor shown in the trailer. And then you have the usual purists who hate that it's in CGI.
    • There are also some who dislike that the film attempts to be more historically accurate (see George Washington and Cherry Tree), despite the fact that this is supposedly Peabody's Improbable History. Granted, there's still a lot of Artistic License – History, but nonetheless.
  • Toy Ship: Sherman and Penny, although they get off to a rocky start.
    Sherman: She hates me!
    Peabody: (in a hushed voice) Make it work!
    • Seems to be confirmed at least on Sherman's part.
    Sherman: Gimme a break! It’s not like I want to hold her hand or go to the park with her (dreamily) or watch her while she’s brushing her hair... (Sees Mr. Peabody looking unconvinced and snaps out of it)... or anything.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In the story perhaps Mr. Peabody himself. The movie suggests that most people in the present time are envious of his wealth and knowledge or just heartless to Mr. Peabody. Just think about it. In the beginning it was Penny's father, later Ms. Grunion herself and all the people in the finale? They just watched how Ms. Grunion wanted to separate father and son. You could say that Sherman is actually the only one who really loves him.
    • Also, nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than in the climax of the movie. While Mr. Peabody bit Ms. Grunion, it wasn't that penetrating, and it was out of self defense in the protection of Sherman. But how does she react to it? By immediately calling the cops, animal control, and also gleefully enjoying every minute she can on how much she plans on making him to die because of it. Not only is he certainly more powerful than her, being a business titan and captain of industry, to her he's a dog that deserves to be destroyed. For many fans, this was when she crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
      Ms. Grunion: Don't you know what happens to dogs that bite?
    • There's also the reason that Ms. Grunion wanted to separate Sherman and Mr. Peabody to begin with: because Sherman got into a fight with Penny and bit her. Sherman got into one fight (his first one) and bit Penny because she was continuously mocking him and holding him a chokehold. But it's all because Mr. Peabody is a terrible parent, because "normal" kids "don't bite", and as mentioned before, no one tries to talk back to her except the Principal, who is quickly glared down.
  • The Woobie: Sherman. As a baby, instead of being put in an orphanage or up for adoption, he was left in a cardboard box hidden in a dark alley with only glasses, a diaper and a nametag. Mr. Peabody found him crying in the box on a cold and rainy night and took him in as his own child. Despite being raised well by Peabody and he couldn't be happier, he is an easy target for those who feel like he is "different" because his dad is a dog. This is made worse by the fact that Peabody hadn't anticipated that Sherman might be treated differently or even put down by other kids because he is the only kid with a dog as a father. Blissfully unaware, Sherman walks into school the first day and he is already being bullied and harassed by another student. When they travel to Italy, Sherman is very respectful and obedient towards his father but when he becomes rebellious, his father scolds him and Sherman is rather sensitive about it. In the battle of Troy, Peabody presumably dies, leaving Sherman a complete emotional wreck and he has no idea what to do without him. Even after they come back home, Ms. Grunion forcibly removes him from Peabody's custody and when Peabody bites Grunion, she calls Animal Control to have Peabody put to sleep. Thankfully, everything gets better for him in the end.

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