The Peanuts Movie
The Peanuts Movie marks the 65th anniversary of Charles Schultz’s comic strip, and is the first movie featuring the lovable gang of children and Snoopy for 35 years.
Having always been a big fan of The Peanuts, and not only in comic strip form since discovering the Snoopy Come Home (1972) movie in the eighties, I was delighted to be able to share this new movie release with 3 of my kids. Animation has come a long way in 35 years and the 3D aspect certainly provided further enhancement.
The co-screenwriters are Charles Schultz’s son and grandson, Craig and Bryan Schulz. They were both keen to remain true to the original Peanuts strip. Bryan Schulz says “He and his dad worked to make it the best film it could be and to preserve the artwork and humour, wisdom and heart of his grandfather.” They certainly succeeded. All of the well-loved characters are back to share their special life perceptions, and although light on plot the team carry the film with their traditional quirks. The kid characters are (as they have always been) performed by actual kids, while the voice of the teacher and other adults is once again portrayed by using a trombone to produce their ‘waah-waah’ sound. Adults are heard but never seen, which is definitely an idea I would support in real life – it would definitely save having to decide what to wear each day.
The storyline follows Charlie Brown with his hapless obsession for the Little Red-haired Girl, who has just moved into his neighbourhood. Being Charlie Brown he has no confidence at all that she will ever notice him. His constant failures with baseball, football and kite flying have given him plenty of insecurities. Running alongside this plot is the ever confident Snoopy, as usual up on his dog house with Woodstock going into battle with the Red Baron in his spare time.
The resident know-it-all Lucy (my favourite character with the perfect name) is on form. Operating her nickel-a-session psychiatric booth for advice, tormenting the Beethoven fixated musical Schroeder and helpfully pointing out all of Charlie’s shortcomings for him. There is always a touch of melancholy in the Peanuts, it is easy to feel sad for Charlie as he struggles to succeed, but it is so satisfying to see that he never gives up. There is also the traditional Schultz positive message in the film, this time that being honest and having integrity is more important than being cool and fitting in.
The Peanuts Movie is a nostalgic walk down memory lane for adults who enjoyed Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang in the past, and an entertaining discovery for children who have never known them before. The blend of childhood innocence with both laugh out loud funny and sweet touching moments is typical Schultz. My kids adored it, laughed throughout and now have their own favourite characters – Pigpen, Peppermint Patty and Snoopy. A fun holiday movie for the whole family.