Review of 'The Peanuts Movie'

the_peanuts_movie.jpg I was not too convinced when I heard that the company that produced the Ice Age films would be turning their hand to making a Peanuts movie with their style of computer-generated imagery - Would they be able to keep the gentle, simple spirit of the beloved comic strip or would it become yet another Ice Age-wannabee? I am delighted to report that “The Peanuts Movie” stays true to Charles Schulz's creation, repeating the familiar character elements that have allowed the strip to continue for so long.

The film follows two separate stories: Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) faces terminal shyness as he finds himself attracted to a new girl at school. Numerous attempts to talk to her are strangled by his sense of inadequacy. Meanwhile, Snoopy (archivally voiced by Bill Melendez) attempts to write a spy story, seeing himself fighting the Red Baron and winning the hand of an attractive fellow aviator…

The look of the computer animation is not at all like the flat two-dimensional comic strip nor even the more familiar previous big-screen outing from 1965 “A Charlie Brown Christmas” but it manages to capture the spirit of the various characters in both simplicity and style – It is as if Schulz himself had drawn the characters in 3D. The characters are all true to their nature and we see on the screen the various on-going gags we are familiar with from over the years: Snoopy and the red baron; Schroeder and his piano; Lucy and her bossiness…and her rather unhelpful psychiatric advise service; Pigpen and his perpetual cloud of dirt; perennial loser but good-natured Peppermint Patty and her compliant friend Marcie…They are all here and there is even, in the post-credits, a sequence with Lucy holding a football for Charlie Brown to kick…Of course, all of these familiar plot lines are writ large for the big screen where it is not limited to three small frames in the back of a newspaper – Everything is much bigger and more grandiose as the filmmakers elaborate and make best use of the animated medium – It looks great.

Some may find this film a bit tedious and it may not enthral viewers new to Peanuts but for those of us who have grown up with them, this is a warm, welcome big screen adaption we should have seen many years ago. Not much of a story but some cracking animation and a gentle, calm humour very much missing from modern life.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-12-31

Directed by: Steve Martino

Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Animation

Year: 2015

Length: 88 minutes

Genre: Animation