Release Date: November 6, 2015
Director: Steve Martino
Writer: Brian Schulz, Charles M. Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano
Cast: Trombone Shorty, Rebecca Bloom, Anastasia Bredikhina, Francesca Capaldi, Kristin Chenoweth, Alexander Garfin, Noah Johnston, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller, Micah Revelli, Noah Schnapp, Venus Schultheis, Mariel Sheets, Madisyn Shipman, A.J. Tecce, Marleik Mar Mar Walker, William Wunsch
MPAA Rating: G
Runtime: 93 minutes
Production Company: Blue Sky Studios, Peanuts Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown! Nearly everyone loves Charlie Brown. He was a part of growing up for countless decades in the past that brought smiles to many faces. Based on the Peanuts Comic Strip, The Peanuts Movie dives back in time to the adorable low self-esteemed boy that reminds you that everyone doesn’t have the best of days. The unforeseen terrors of life can be a burden, and doubting yourself, thinking twice, or failing miserably is exactly what this film is about. Charlie Brown is just another incarnation of that reassuring you that you’re not alone, and is the author of the book Panic Attack. That’s not a real novel, but convincing enough if Charlie Brown was a part of it. With this adaptation, it nearly hits all the necessary marks to reminisce on childhood moments that some may have been dying for. If not, it’s another retelling of a classic lovable character, and all his adventures, in a world absent of adults that’s a ton of fun.
Going in I wasn’t sure if I wanted more of the same or something new. Luckily we got a little bit of both. What’s most notable is the characters that returned. Not being a diehard Peanuts comic genius, it seems like everyone is back for the reunion. Linus still has his blanket, Pigpen still hasn’t bathed, and Snoopy is still Snoopy. Though it looked like the ladder character went on a diet which did come off a little distracting. Even from the opening credits seeing Schroeder passionately play the piano brought joy to the auditorium. This guy carries that piece of equipment around everywhere like it’s his own wallet. I soaked it all up from his enthusiasm alone.
I’m on the fence with the story. The film is only 88 minutes long, and it seemed to struggle to even get to that point. While Charlie Brown is being his typical self, trying to impress the new girl in school, the dream sequences of Snoopy vs. the Red Barron didn’t do much for me. There were no loud noises in my theater, crying babies, or someone behind me kicking my chair, but every time snoopy turned his doghouse into a fighter plane my mind drifted off into the clouds. I only cared about Charlie Brown and him getting enough confidence to ring a door bell to make an acquaintance, or show his new dance moves at the school dance. He did so in great fashion, finally facing his fears which made me happy, and was the highlight of the film. He’s such an innocent person which is the reason you may have fallen in love with him from the past, and in today’s reimagining of his existence. Nothing ever goes right for him even with all his best efforts, but he never seems to give up. I was probably too young to get all the smart references as a child, but as a young adult they stood out as strong as ever. With that being said the undertone is once you fall just get up and try again. Surprisingly the film was also filled with a ton of adult themes relating to today’s pop culture. They’re all hilarious cracking you up with laughter barely giving you a moment to breathe in between. It was a great feeling as if I had no worries to take care of in the real world, and makes me want to revisit the world again and again.
The film nearly hit all the marks from the classic story, and I mean just that. I began to get frustrated though when I saw Linus a few times without his blanket, or not enough “wah-wah-wah-wah”, references from the teacher over the intercom speaker. If there was a checklist of beats to hit to make the perfect classic tale, it hit eighty percent which is fair, but annoying due to the wasted bland screen time of Snoopy trying to save the day. With that being said how do you fail at the best relationship this property has to offer? In my opinion, the relationship between Snoopy and Charlie Brown is like white on rice, but that wasn’t the main focus of the movie. It didn’t have to be entirely, but it was clearly missing which didn’t bring my entire childhood experience to the forefront. I still loved both characters and all their mishaps, but it wasn’t enough to say they knocked it out of the park.
I had low expectations for The Peanuts Movie, and walked away happy with the overall outcome. While it wasn’t a masterpiece making me run home telling all my friends, it was more than enough to keep me satisfied. I nearly got everything I wanted to see, even if some of those classic moments didn’t come until the ending credits. What I did come home doing is humming some of the classic songs in my head, while doing the classic dance moves in my kitchen with my held high, as all the characters did with their bright smiles. That right there is enough to say the job was done well, and more than enough to warrant your time in the theater. It seemed like the insecurity of Charlie Brown was cranked up a few notches, but with this I can still say he’s one of my favorite characters that I may be able to share with children of my own someday.