Verdict: Peanuts for Dummies
Growing up, if you could never relate to good ol’ Charlie Brown and his insecurities, you were either the local stud or in serious denial. Growing up, if you never heard of good ol’ Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie could be a good start after you’ve thrown away the rock you were living under.
It is the 65th anniversary of the Peanuts comic strip and a 3D animated feature film featuring the adorable Peanuts gang seems like a legit celebration. So, it’s all exciting as you get comfortable in your seat waiting for the movie to begin. And when it does, you have an instant smile on your face. A home run to start with. For the better part of the movie, the smile stays.
For those familiar with the comic strip and the characters, it is but obvious what the film is going to be about. It is exactly that! Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie chalks out the story of an adorable loser who is trying his best to get the better of his circumstances — Charlie Brown is crushing hard on the new kid in town (of course, the Little Red-Haired Girl); Lucy van Pelt is giving him a hard time; Snoopy has Charlie Brown’s back and is only too eager to jump on his flights of fancy as the World War I Flying Ace; and all that Charles M. Schulz has made us fall in love with.
The movie stays painfully faithful to the strip; ‘painfully’ because it eventually becomes the film’s sore point. There is barely anything new that Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie has to offer. The animation style is understandably to stay true to the soul of Peanuts. To a large extent, it is even pleasant but it also falls short of what one is used to with animated films these days.
Perhaps what strikes the most is the lack of a coherent story. The movie eventually looks like a bunch of Peanuts strips put together. Not a bad thing at all but then a gentle reminder – this is a movie not a comic strip you are reading. It is most telling when the makers find it absolutely necessary to include almost every popular theme from the strip in the film; be it Charlie Brown’s poor kite flying and baseball skills, Snoopy’s typewriter, Woodstock, the Red Baron and finally, even the football-kicking one. In stark contrast was the 2011-released The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn that while based on the comic books did fabulously well interpreting the characters and the story yet managed to offer a plot that seemed fresh and appealed to both Tintin loyalists and the ones who only wanted to enjoy a fun animated film.
What not surprisingly works is the very apparent effort to not make this a “funny movie”. The comic strip rarely made you laugh out loud but it inevitably helped you smile every time. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie achieves that well.
It is only too difficult to not fall hopelessly in love with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang once again in the movie just like we all did reading the comic strips. So, well done there, Steve Martino. Charles M. Schulz wouldn’t have been very disappointed and neither will you as a viewer.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Why? Well because it is Peanuts, of course. Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is a fine excuse to get all nostalgic with good ol’ Charlie Brown and the gang. It is also a wonderful way to introduce the uninitiated to what will forever be one of the most lovable comic strips.