Movie Name: The Peanuts Movie
Studio: Blue Sky Studios
Release Date(s): November 1, 2015 (Premiere)/November 6, 2015 (US)
MPAA Rating: G
Charlie Brown has found a new love. A Little Red Haired Girl has moved into Charlie Brown’s class…but he’s too afraid to talk to her. Now, Charlie Brown is out to woo the Little Red Haired Girl, but can a blockhead like good ol’ Charlie Brown ever win?
Directed by Steve Martino, The Peanuts Movie is the big screen adaptation of Charles Schulz famed comic strip which began in 1950. The film was released in 3D and used CGI animation. The movie had a strong showing at the box office and received mostly positive reviews from critics.
Peanuts was always one of my favorites growing up. A Charlie Brown Christmas is my Christmas special of choice, and it is the comic strip’s oddity that makes it different. Charlie Brown and his friends talk like adults but for some reason, it was still enjoyable for kids. The Peanuts Movie has a lot of what made these specials fun but also seems to get a bit long in the tooth.
The biggest problem for The Peanuts Movie is that for the most part, Peanuts doesn’t work in long form. Besides It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas, many of the specials are kind of tedious. They revolve around a loosely written story with bits from the comic strip fit into them. This is kind of how the movie works, but the movie needed more filler and it sometimes feels like more filler.
I’m also disappointed that with such a long format, that more characters weren’t used. Over the course of Peanuts, there were tons and tons of characters. I actually prefer the early Peanuts to later Peanuts when it became mostly about Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus…in addition to being over-the-top Snoopy–centric. Here, I wish that more characters had been used. I was happy to see Patty (the pre-Peppermint Patty character) but would have loved to see Shermy, the twins, and some of the other odder characters (Lucy and Linus’ brother Rerun didn’t even show up).
The movie is a really strange blend of CGI. Part of what made Peanuts so distinctive was Schulz’s art. This could not change or The Peanuts Movie would have lost its connection to the characters. The result is a rather flat but at the same time three dimensional world. Occasionally, the film uses Schulz’s animation for stylized looks and I do like how that was incorporated.
Overall, I enjoyed The Peanuts Movie for its simplicity. It wasn’t fantastic but it was a little better than I thought it would be from word-of-mouth. With a decent return at the box office and the strength of the brand, I’m sure that gang from Peanuts will be back and I’d actually look forward to it.