Producers: Blue Sky Studios
Runtime: 93 minutes
MPAA Rating: G
EE Critic Score: 8/10
I saw the Peanuts Movie over the Thanksgiving Weekend and…ugh…
One of the first things I saw was a gratuitous cameo from Redfoo, that guy from that group from several years ago. In a blind grasp at hipness and being up-to-date, one of the beloved childhood characters refered to his music as her “j’zam”. And it just got worse from there, with more dated pop music, flatulence jokes, and acutely humorless quips. It…it was just awful.
Oh, no. Not the Peanuts Movie. I was talking about the trailers for the new Alvin and the Chipmunks movie that played before hand. The Peanuts Movie was fine. I was mad about this:
I guess I kind of liked the part where the annoying chipmunks got hit with golf clubs, but I don’t think that’s the part I was supposed to feel happy about.
But anyway, Peanuts Movie.
This movie shows a sharp contrast to the Alvin franchise. This movie is…good, for one thing. But beyond that, it was made with respect. It is Peanuts. It is Snoopy and Charlie Brown. No attempt has been made to update the characters; no attempt was necessary. Peanuts still works, as is.
Peanuts is, at its core, the story of two characters: Charlie Brown and his dog, Snoopy. Charlie Brown’s character is that he is very bad at everything, though he always tries. Snoopy’s character is that he is very good at everything, though he is a dog. These characters play against each other quite well, so long as Snoopy doesn’t dominate too much (as happened in later strips).
The movie has several of the strip’s storylines in it, such as Charlie Brown’s attempts at flying a kite, and Lucy’s psychiatrist booth. The main thread is Charlie Brown’s panic over the Little Red-Haired girl. All of these stick to the strips, even though they aren’t strict visualizations.
Snoopy has two of his best storylines combined for the movie. He sits atop his doghouse with an old typewriter writing a novel about a WWI Flying Ace. It’s a clever way to bring the Red Baron bits into the larger context.
The only new thing in the movie is some of the music. The Vince Guaraldi stuff is still in there, but its joined by some Meghan Trainor stuff. It isn’t bad, I just don’t know if anything is gained. Here’s one of the songs that shows up in several scenes.
Unless you really hated that, you’ll be fine.
Altogether, this was a fine movie. I’m a big fan of Peanuts, so I might have liked it more than non-Peanuts fans. Still, there’s no need to make a special trip to the theater if you don’t want to. But check around Christmastime to see if it’s been released for home viewing.