This weekend David and I went and saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which is a heart warming tale of a dog and his boy. The movie was really cute and highlighted the relationship between Peabody and Sherman, but it would not be Peabody and Sherman without time travel. The whole idea of inventing a time machine (called the Way Back) to teach your son about history is fascinating. The time travel that they show in the movie is great in mine opinion and they went to more than one location, which is part of what made it so interesting.
There are a few interesting things about how they decided to look at time travel in this movie. One, is that the things they do in the past seems to not affect the timeline and even seems to be incorporated into how history occurred. Next, is that they only travel to the past and back to their own time. They seem to be only able to move through the past and not into the future. Finally, the one big rule of time travel is that you do not cross your own time stream, which leads to interesting consequences. (Spoilers for Mr. Peabody and Sherman after the jump)
Effect on Timeline
Peabody and Sherman travel to multiple points in the past, but it does not seem to affect the future at all, it even seems that them being a part of history is part of the timeline already. The biggest example of this is at the beginning of the movie when we see them travel to France right before the Reign of Terror. They are eating cake with Marie Antoinette and she is saying yes in french, which of course Sherman thinks she is saying “we”. Then she clarifies and says “Yes, let them eat cake”. You can pretty much tell where this is going because the starving people overhear the comment the news spreads and we move straight in to the Reign of Terror. The implications seems to be that the effect of Peabody and Sherman traveling in to the past has already been incorporated in to the timeline. This makes sense because if they travel through time as much as they seem to it would be difficult to do anything if everything you did caused a change in the timeline.
Travel to the Past
Now I did not think about this when they originally talked about it, but the Way Back can only travel to a point in the past. The whole purpose of creating the machine was to teach Sherman about the past, so it makes sense that he had only travelled to the past. It is not until the end of the movie that it comes out that they have to change how the Way Back runs in order to travel in a few seconds in to the future. There is probably some scientific reason that traveling to the future, but I do not know what it is. It makes sense that the past has already happened so it would be easier to plot the distance between the two points unlike the future which has too many unknown variables. It does show that the timeline is considered very linear in Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Don’t Cross the Streams
The one rule of time travel in Mr. Peabody and Sherman is to not go to a time where you exist, or, do not cross your own time stream. Now of course Sherman breaks this rule, although for a kind of good reason. Sherman thinks that Peabody died when saving him from impending doom. So he goes back to shortly before they had gone back in time to get the help of Peabody to save Peabody. Sherman thinks that he has avoided himself, but that is not true and we soon end up with two of both Sherman and Peabody. Two of Peabody because he was not really dead. The two versions cannot touch each other because time wants to fix the paradox; this means making the two one. So of course Sherman ends up shaking his own hand and explodes to make one Sherman, which also creates only one Peabody. This then proceeds to tear a hole in space and time. With all the running through history the one big problem is meeting yourself tears a hole in the fabric of space and time.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman make some interesting uses of time travel. I actually heard in an interview that they had a scientist consult on the movie so they got time travel accurate. They tried to avoid anachronisms, but did leave a few in because it was just too funny. The movie in general is a fun romp through time and has some neat looks at various historical figures and events. We would definitely recommend going to see this, especially if you have already seen the Lego Movie!