Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: The Peanuts Movie

I didn't watch "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown" this year.  But I did manage to see the recently released "The Peanuts Movie" and I feel the need to discuss its merits.

First, I am a huge fan of Peanuts, and I believe Charles Schulz is not just a great cartoonist, but a true National Treasure.  His little creations have captivated audiences for generations, do so all these years after his death (despite no new comic strips) and will certainly continue to entertain people for many decades to come, if not until the end of time itself. I reviewed the early Peanuts strips in this post back in 2014.

Now, the legacy of Peanuts was long ago transferred to the big and small screen via some really clever animation and  classic story lines, chief among these being the first Christmas and Halloween specials on TV. There have even been some animated special produced since Schulz's passing. However, this version of Peanuts is different on one big way: it's animated using modern 3-d technology.  When the first trailers came out, I heard a lot of people decry this choice, not wanting to walk all over the classic look of the strips and previous animation. However, I'd say the animators did a wonderful job translating the Peanuts characters and environments. They didn't try too hard to make things special just because they were 3-D.  What I mean is there wasn't a lot of gratuitous 3-D scenes. Instead, the animation really takes a back seat to the story.

And the story is classic Peanuts! There's one new character, who's really a figment of Snoopy's imagination, and a lot of classic characters that aren't updated, modernized, or made "cool".  This movie should be enjoyable for generations to come.  The only thing I noted they took liberties with was having all the kids attend the same school, when we all know Peppermint Patty and her gang are supposed to be from "across town".  And the ending is a little saccharin, but I think they had to give Charlie Brown at least one win.  After all, his charm is that he stays the nice guy and keeps trying no matter how many failures life hands him.

Snoopy has a great subplot also, interacting with the rest of the cast in the zaniest ways. I laughed a lot at the Snoopy scenes, but also at plenty of others, including Peppermint Patty;s inability to stay awake in class.

As I said, classic Peanuts!  I'm hoping for a sequel!

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