On Thanksgiving Day of this year, I and my family, having had to make our plans for the day’s observance conform to my work schedule, decided after a turkey dinner at Marie Callendar’s to go and catch a movie. The movie we saw was The Peanuts Movie. Anyway, I wanted to get my five cents in about this film. So, briefly, this is what I thought of The Peanuts Movie.
This is the story of one Charlie Brown, who lives in a town where he is merely tolerated by most of his friends as the awkward kid that seems irredeemably average. However, this starts to change when the new kid moves in across the street: a pretty red-headed girl. Charlie then begins his mission to make himself standout in order to impress the new kid, but somewhere on his quest to attain likeable uniqueness, he proves that just maybe there was something special in Charlie Brown, all along.
Have you ever gone to the theatre to see the big-screen send-up of a beloved childhood property only to discover that the film-makers merely took its name and hollowed it out to fill with their own tripe and demonstrate their failure to understand what made this property a success in the first place? Well, I have… many, many, times. Peanuts is, thankfully, not that movie. This film got to the real core of the Peanuts comic strips and cartoons and nailed exactly what we like about it: its heart. While it is filled with nostalgic homages to its previous T.V. appearances, it is still original material that nonetheless has a feeling that makes it fit quite well into the continuity of those early specials. I personally applaud the producers for resisting the urge of updating it much, in an attempt at chasing the elusive and mythic animal of relevancy. As a result of letting the story and characters stand on their own merits, the film has a timeless feel to it, and its relevancy is proven in the laughter of the children who were taken to see it. In a wise move, they even have the Vince Guaraldi music in it! Additionally, it’s animation style is inspired, a sort of compromise between classic cell animation and CGI, producing the characters in textured 3-D, but rendering the faces in pencil lines and approximating the frame-rate of the original T.V. specials in how the characters moved, while at the same time using a greater frame-rate for background scaling and tracking.
So if you haven’t already seen it, or you could see it again, I highly recommend The Peanuts Movie. It is remarkably creative, faithful to the source material, and emotionally evocative. Adults will enjoy it, plus, it is a rare thing being a children’s film that is safe for children to see. I give it a four out of five.