The classic cartoon Rocky and Bullwinkle has already been mined for a feature film once in recent memory, for the dreadful live-action/animation hybrid that came out in 2000. Apparently the statute of limitations on doing such damage again has passed, so another set of characters from the original show are stepping up to the plate for their shot at feature film glory. As reported in Entertainment Weekly, the time-traveling duo of Peabody and Sherman are headed to the big screen through DreamWorks Animation, with Robert Downey Jr. already attached to voice the erudite, glasses-wearing dog Peabody.

The project is far enough along in development that it's set for a 2014 release date, with Rob Minkoff (most recently of The Forbidden Kingdom but also of Stuart Little and the Haunted Mansion) attached to direct. Weirdly Minkoff is already admitting that kids these days have no idea who Peabody and Sherman are: "Certainly for Boomers, they’re in the sweet spot of our childhood animation memories, but beyond there it gets a little bit, well, not quite as familiar."

If you're not a Boomer, or didn't watch Rocky and Bullwinkle every evening on Nickelodeon like I did, Peabody and Sherman were kind of like the original Bill & Ted, traveling through time in their WABAC machine to meet historical figures and learn a few lessons along the way. Peabody is a dog who's the smartest member of his family by far, while Sherman is a young boy who's maybe a little more enthusiastic than clever. There's no word on exactly where their adventures will take them-- Downey hasn't even recorded his lines yet-- but we'll be getting a look at the newly designed Peabody, who apparently looks a whole lot like the actor, in next week's Entertainment Weekly.

It's hard to deny that Downey Jr. has pretty much the perfect voice for an overly intelligent dog, but everything else about this already feels tired-- and that's before you realize it's being written by Jeffrey Ventimilia and Joshua Sternin, who wrote Yogi Bear. By the time Peabody and Sherman hits theaters in 2014 we'll have made it through The Avengers and who knows how many more Robert Downey Jr. movies, so even if it turns out to be an embarrassing disaster, he'll have enough other work to cover it up.

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