“… it felt like these characters never left.”
Charlie Brown is a character that is beloved by countless people across the globe, including myself, and he made a ‘comeback’ of sorts (not that he needed it) with The Peanuts Movie. Now The Peanuts Movie is not really a modern version of the characters that we know and love, but instead it is just a new adventure for all of the friends to partake in; this is why the film works so well. The Peanuts Movie follows Charlie Brown, who’s life seems to be getting worse and worse until he spots the new girl who movies in across the street from him and falls in love. The movie then shows Charlie Brown trying everything he can to get the girl to not only notice him, but also see him as a confident, successful man instead of the self-conscious boy that he is. While this is happening, Charlie’s dog Snoopy is going on an adventure of his own, the goal of which is to catch the Red Baron and save the love of his life, Fifi.
That plot synopsis might have sounded a little busy, and although that may be the fault of my poor writing, it could also stem from the fact that the film is kind of all over the place. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when you think of the intended audience of the film and how they have shorter attention spans than most, but it does show a couple of times. By this I mean The Peanuts Movie suffers form a few instances of feeling more like a clip show than a coherent film, with Charlie Brown quickly moving from scheme to scheme to try and impress the new girl. Although this gets mildly frustrating, the film manages to be fun throughout.
The thing that sticks out to me the most about The Peanuts Movie is the animation. Not unlike The Lego Movie, The Peanuts Movie really aims for a certain realism in its animation, and it nails it. The detail shown throughout the film is unlike anything I have seen in a while, and I was in a constant state of awe when looking at even the smallest things such as Snoopy’s fur or a character’s hair. The animation also works because although it gives a ‘modern’ look to these characters that have been around for ages, it doesn’t completely abandon the aesthetic that the original comic strips (or cartoons) had; often times paying homage to them which really made this movie feel like home. One issue that I did have with the animation in The Peanuts Movie was that every once in a while it appeared to be choppy, looking almost like a stop motion film that was missing a few frames. This didn’t ruin the film for me, but as soon as I started seeing examples of this it did become a little distracting.
Of course one of the main parts of a Peanuts cartoon is the music, and The Peanuts Movie definitely delivered on that front, offering many classic songs that we know and love. Another small issue that I had with the movie is that I wish it had opted for more of a score, reminiscent of the old music, instead of the couple of ‘modern’ songs that we got. Again, I completely understand why it was done, but that is really the only thing that stuck out to me, and I know for a fact that it will date the movie.
But, The Peanuts Movie would’t be anything without the original characters and luckily this film captured them perfectly. Never once did I question an action or line of dialogue, because it all fit with what we know of the characters. There were a few instances of retelling old jokes, which filled me with nostalgia and still had me laugh, but there was also a good number of new situations and dialogue from the characters that worked beautifully. The voice acting was also wonderful, each voice being similar to the older cartoons, but still bringing something new to the performance with a lot of emotion and animated tones. The best way to sum these thoughts up would be to say that it felt like these characters never left.
Ultimately The Peanuts Movie is a beautiful continuation of the lives of characters that everyone loves. It is perfect for those who are fans of the original Peanuts works, as well as entertaining enough for new fans; which is exactly how it should be.
I give The Peanuts Movie an A