Reviews: The Peanuts Movie
You\'re a good movie, The Peanuts Movie!
Let's be fair here, you can't really blame me for having negative expectations for a 2015 CGI-based Peanuts movie from the go. The franchise having been handled by, shall we say, less than ambitious franchise-handlers for decades and now being given to the third-rate sequel-spewing Dreamworks wannabes Blue Sky Studios? I couldn't stand it. The Head Beagle must have been sleeping on the job, or worse, had his job outsourced to the Chinese. After disconcerting reports about "meme-laden" trailers from associates of mine I wouldn't even give them that chance to shatter my belief in humanity like a tree shatters a kite. Anyway, one random day (the Sky was Blue that day so it was fate I guess LOL #SerendippityDoo) was at the library to get stuff. The Peanuts Movie was there on the front shelf, and it was free to borrow since the library was a library and library stuff is free at the library, and I figured it couldn't be worse than Linus rollerblading for fifteen minutes so I figured what the hey. I'm a magnanahieronymous kind of guy. ...From the moment I heard the unexpected strains of Vince Guaraldi's music open the movie, my armor of cynicism came flying off faster than CB's clothes after a line drive. My low level of expectations was exceeded to the point it looked like an ant from my new sky-high vantage point of uplifting movie awesomeness. The characters were on point, the CGI conversion had lost none of the Schulz charm, and it just took me back to when I was a kid (when I ironically wasn't watching Peanuts because I was busy watching A Goofy Fucking Movie fifteen times in a day) just having fun watching a Big Damn Movie. You couldn't have forced the smile I wore for its entire runtime If you'd stabbed me in the nutsack with a weaponized marshmallow. And that's disregarding the fact that marshmallows make for terrible shivs. ...Point is, s'was, s'was good is what I'm sayin'. Granted, it's still marred a fair bit by the seemingly requisite rapid-fire pace of everything; a symptom of contemporary animated films in its vein having fear of being perceived as "boring" and "slow." Guys, motocross cars move at a more leisurely pace than this. I could have also done without what's-her-face... the "All About That Micropterus" lady. Can't stand people waving their piscaphilia in my face. But these are all concessions that can be made if the movie itself is good. ...which it is, if you hadn't caught onto that already. It's a love letter to everything Peanuts, and with its uncharacteristically upbeat tone, offers a kind of alternate universe resolution for the "longest-running story ever told by a single person" (and now these guys, I guess). Long-term fans and newcomers alike should walk away satisfied and then some. ...Unless you're even more of blasť douchebag than I, in which case, may the Great Pumpkin have mercy on your soul. I jest, of course. You obviously don't have one!
I was genuinely surprised by this movie. It's already grown to be one of my favorites in such a short time. The main reason being that it doesn't try to modernize it like a fair amount of other movies such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and others. It keeps it rather traditional to the typical Peanuts writing, humor and traditions along with some clever references that will make any Peanuts fan be crushed by a grand piano of nostalgia (the stinger is a friggin' whole new dimension of nostalgia for die-hard fans.) This so obviously could of backfired and turned into a case of "Charlie Brown get's an iphone and has to learn how to use emoji's and modern pop culture and everything!"...Well, okay, that kinda happened in the previews, but that doesn't count. The only real time they kind of modernize it is with a few pop songs that appear as background music in some scenes. But fortunately, those pop songs are pretty catchy for what they are! There not like the usual pop songs where there's a gangster rap about Charlie Brown, it's just a simple, mellow, original collection of songs. It's very much a good case of relaxing music, depending on your taste of course. My only gripe is the sequences with Snoopy's love story, which aren't bad but feel like a totally different movie. It should of more or less been an extra short on the DVD or Blu-Ray then an actual B plot in the movie. But, that's just one problem. It's like having a spelling error in the world's greatest book (Which according to a certain nerdy young girl is something called "Leo's Toy Store" by Warren Peace...huh...). So, I'd say check it out for what it is. Oh, and one last thing. There was a different Blue Sky Studios logo and short during the beginning of the film. It's nothing terrible, but I just wanna take the time to say the following. *clears throat* YES!!! WE GET IT!!! YOU MADE ICE AGE!!! CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING ELSE TO ANIMATION WON'T YOU!!! That is all.
Blue Sky's Magnum Opus and a Labour of Love
When I first heard about Blue Sky's Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, I wasn't sure what to think. A CGI adaptation of a beloved comic strip that's influenced so many of the world's most popular properties? That could easily spell disaster and possibly taint the franchise if poorly handled...and then I saw the teaser trailer. That teaser gave me hope. It made me think that everything was going to be alright. Then more trailers eventually popped up. I watched them and I had more reasons to be excited. The entire cast of Peanuts characters showing up in the film? That had a lot of promise that this movie wouldn't skimp on any of Peanuts' history since a lot of those characters have both a lot of historical context and would also be fan-favorites among older fans. Then the film finally was released in cinemas and honestly, I can say that the wait was absolutely worth it. Where to start with this film? The animation is phenomenal and the look of it reminds me of both the specials I grew up with and the comics that I've recently read up on in preparation for the movie. It has those little drawn effects and touches that show a massive amount of love and care that went into the movie. The music I think was also a treat to hear. Most of the film consists of Vince Guaraldi's music that he did for the Peanuts series and some songs that are pop songs do show up but they're downplayed enough and take so little screen-time that it almost doesn't matter. I won't say which older songs show up but let's just say I was (and hopefully you would) be surprised how much care went into their recreations. The writing is everything I love in a movie. It's hilarious, touching, heartbreaking, awesome and really speaks volumes about how much they wanted to make sure they wouldn't screw The Peanuts Movie up. They clearly knew what they were doing and for what they accomplished, I congratulate them for doing the franchise justice and the best part is Charles Schulz's son and grandson both produced and wrote the screenplay alongside others who clearly respect and love the series immensely. I'm glad I finally have seen the film. It was worth it. Thank you Blue Sky Studios for making this movie that does justice to this wonderful franchise.
A Strong A Plot with an average B Plot
I think it goes without saying that The Peanuts is a classic and up until the movie's release, there was a lot of fear for their portrayal in the modern age. Thankfully, those fears can be put to rest. The Peanuts remain timeless with no unnecessary technology or trends added to the narrative. We all know the A story; Charlie Brown is a good-natured but horribly unlucky kid. He's surrounded by a mix of people who encourage him (like Linus, his best friend) and discourage him (like Lucy, Linus's sister). He has to deal with difficulties in baseball, kite eating trees, and the need for psychiatric attention (but who wouldn't for five cents). His life is changed when a new kid moves to the neighborhood, a little redheaded girl. Experiencing love for the first time, he tries to get her attention by partaking in a talent show, dance, and a book report. The whole time, he continually fights the universe for his one chance at happiness. The B plot follows his dog, Snoopy, attempting to write a novel detailing his fight against the Red Baron for his own love interest. The Peanuts movie is filled with several gags and homages to the comics and television specials. Its CGI is very unique, original, and gorgeous. The voice acting is well done by the child actors, as is the archived voices for Snoopy and Woodstock. Though not perfect, the new and old music work well together (I gotta give major props to Meghan Trainor's song). So what're the problem? The B plot of Snoopy and the Red Baron is very loosely tied to Charlie Brown's story. Its mostly there for padding the movie, as Snoopy's writing doesn't help Charlie Brown with his problems or further Snoopy as a character. Likewise, Charlie Brown and Linus don't have as many existential/philosophical moments as I would have liked to see (I can only recall one "wall" scene between them). All-in-all, it's a good movie you should see if you're a Peanuts fan.