By Ivan Mateo
From Sunday newspaper comics in the 1950s to the 2-D animated cartoon specials in the 1960s, Charlie Brown and company came the big screen in a 3-D, computer-animated film. Director Steve Martino, who brought Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears A Who!” to the big screen, helms “The Peanuts Movie,” while Craig and Bryan Schulz, Charles Schulz’s son and grandson respectively, wrote the script.
“The Peanuts Movie” follows the simplistic formula of Charlie Brown vying for the attention of the Little Red-Haired Girl, who just moved in across the street. He wants to make a good first impression because she does not know of his past failures.
Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancin'” is featured in the film, and it actually fits nicely for Charlie Brown and his situation. The lyrics tell us not all of us can dance, but it does not hurt to try.
“The Peanuts Movie” primarily runs on nostalgia, complete with visits to Lucy’s psychiatric help booth, the baseball field, the kite-eating tree, Snoopy’s typewriter and more.
The complete “Peanuts” gang shows up on the big screen. Lucy aptly gives Charlie Brown much-needed life advice of the helpful, yet blunt variety. In one scene, Lucy tells Charlie Brown: “If you really want to impress people, you need to show them you’re a winner” then a moment later says, “Of course, when I say you, you know I don’t mean you personally.”
Schroeder still plays Beethoven on his piano at any opportunity he sees, but he also adds comedic relief. Linus drags his adorable, trustworthy blanket around, while providing insight and perspective for Charlie Brown. When Snoopy and Woodstock are not having their own adventures confronting the Red Baron, they try to help Charlie Brown whenever they can. Marcie still calls Peppermint Patty “sir.” Pigpen shows up just as dirty in 3-D, as he does in the comics and cartoons.
Speaking of 3-D and the computer-animated stylization, the transfer from 2-D to 3-D works seamlessly with colorfully vibrant animations.
In the film, much is the same yet slightly different. There are no new characters due to the many “Peanuts” characters.
Charlie Brown is often viewed as the archetypal “lovable loser,” who pessimistically over thinks, but he also dreams big. Throughout his many failures, he always picks himself up to try again. He perseveres no matter the situation, and that provides a wonderful message to audiences of all ages. “The Peanuts Movie” simply captures this message, which began in Schulz’s comics. Often, we tend to settle or compromise, but we could definitely benefit from dreaming big every once and awhile like good old Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
Audiences, who grew up waiting for the weekly “Peanuts” comic strips to arrive and watched the yearly cartoon specials, can now take their kids to introduce them to the wonderful world of “Peanuts,” which is full of dreaming, imagination, and perseverance: a world of which Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez (voice of Snoopy and Woodstock) would assuredly be proud of.
“The Peanuts Movie” is rated G.
“The Peanuts Movie” is playing in theaters now.
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
The Peanuts Movie
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