The Peanuts Movie full movie review - Sparky would be proud :)
I'm sure I'm not the only one, but a lot of us grew up with the beloved comic strip "Peanuts" as well as the countless TV specials that came with it.
Memorable characters like Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, and of course that lovable beagle Snoopy are parts of our childhood that most likely will never leave our hearts. We may never get that jazzy theme out of our heads (but then why would you want to?), and nowadays watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is one of the few ways I can get into the holiday spirit. So when I heard that a full-length movie was in the works, I only had 2 words: Good grief! Yeah, I'll admit that I was skeptical at first; these days, movies and TV shows try to update classic series for the modern audience, and to be honest it almost never works. *cough cough* Pink Panther *cough cough* I was afraid that Blue Sky Studios was gonna screw everything up and modernize the heck out of it, and let's be honest it would've been kinda strange if Lucy had a cell phone or something like that. Of course that was before I saw the trailer for the film which actually looked pretty promising, and it made me excited to go see the movie when it came out. And what do I think of it now that I've seen it for myself? Let's just say that Charles Schultz would be very, very proud.
Let's cover the story first; it's simple and easy to follow, but that's always worked for Peanuts. Basically, on one end Charlie Brown is trying to work up the courage to talk to and impress a new girl in town, known only as the Little Red-Haired Girl (more on her in a bit), while Snoopy gets his own story-line where his imagination runs wild, leading to a few clashes with his nemesis the Red Baron. Both are entertaining story-lines and I enjoyed each one equally, and Snoopy's shenanigans had me laughing a lot throughout the film. There are plenty of light-hearted moments that will have you laughing, and just about every trope you can associate with Peanuts is in the movie somewhere: Snoopy's typewriter, Lucy pulling the football away, Charlie Brown getting clobbered by a baseball, etc. Blue Sky Studios kept things simple, much like the classic Peanuts formula, and that's something I can appreciate.
Of course, where the movie really shines for me is the presentation: the animation is very crisp and while it is CGI, I'm not complaining because it's still very reminiscent of Schultz's artwork. Rather than try to implement modern elements into the world of Peanuts such as computers, cell phones and all that stuff, the world remains where it's always been which is a simple suburban environment. The music is a charming mix of classic tunes from the specials such as "Skating" and of course the classic Peanuts theme "Linus and Lucy", and a couple of songs by Meghan Trainor are also in the film. I'll admit I'm not the biggest fan of Meghan Trainor (understatement of the year), but her songs do fit with the film's theme and I gotta give her credit for that just this once.
As for the characters, I was blown away; every single one of them is in character, and they look and even sound a lot like they did back in the days of the specials. It really helps that the cast is filled with child voice actors who sound a lot like the Peanuts gang and makes the performances more believable. Lucy is as bossy as ever, Schroeder's love of Beethoven hasn't waned an inch, Linus is supportive of our hero, Snoopy is a delightful mix of supportive, creative and mischievous, and Charlie Brown is maximum Charlie Brown, never giving up even when the odds are against him which is really admirable to me. In the case of Snoopy and Woodstock, recycled voice clips were used from the specials, but they never sound out of place and watching the two characters interact is just adorable and funny. I do have to point out one slight inconsistency and that's the appearance of the side character Patty: in the specials she had brown hair and wore an orange-red dress, while in the film she has blonde hair and wears a green dress. But honestly that's just me nitpicking. Also, I love the fact that they went so far as to include the Little Red-Haired Girl in the film! For those of you who aren't aware, in the comics the Little Red-Haired Girl is the object of Charlie Brown's affection, much like she is in the movie, but sadly he never got up the nerve to talk to her and so we never actually see her with the exception of a silhouette once. But here, we finally get to see her in her first vocal role which I'm really happy about. And this is just a small detail, but I have to bring it up: the animators paid so much attention to detail that they even got each character's signature dance down correctly! That's just perfect, okay?!
Overall, I can honestly say that I'm proud that Blue Sky Studios did the source material justice. If you're a fan of Peanuts, then take it from me right now: go see this movie! It's a big ol' ball of nostalgia for any fan, it's a good film for kids and adults alike, and when it's over, I can guarantee you'll leave the theater with a big smile. Now if you'll excuse me, I feel the sudden urge to save up for a keyboard; I wanna learn how to play "Linus and Lucy"...