The Peanuts Movie

Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home to win the love of his life.

 

Director: Steve Martino

Starring: Kristin Chenoweth, Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Alexander Garfin, Mariel Sheets, Venus Schultheis

Rated: G

The Peanuts Movie

By Matt Greene

The Peanuts are a rightfully beloved American fable that have permeated the culture so deeply that one needs not to have ever read a single strip to know of and adore the ill-fated antics of Charlie Brown, his over-achieving dog Snoopy, and their childish gang. The Peanuts Movie is a film version of a smile, capturing with such reverence what we as culture have always loved about Schultz’s creation. At its worst moments, it’s a passable nostalgia trip for families to take together. At its best, however, it’s a cute and gently funny little-kids film with strong morals and a giant heart.

It plays very much like a compilation of the daily comic strips strung together by a somewhat loose narrative of Charlie Brown trying to impress the ever allusive Little Red-Haired Girl. It’s magically fun spending time in this world, free of adult cynicism, focusing instead on Charlie Brown’s own good-natured and childish neuroses. His predictable but sweet arc is like a first coming-of-age story for preshoolers. Each of the other main Peanuts (Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Pigpen, etc) get their moments, all appropriately charming and faithful.

All of this is animated with beauty and such respect for its own history. That respect, at times, is the main real downfall of the whole, at times retreading and calling-back some of the classic jokes and references we all know in a somewhat clumsy way (Does Linus really have to talk about the Great Pumpkin so out of context?). Mostly, though, Peanuts is a truly funny all-ages romp that refreshingly never resorts to cheap innuendos to keep parents engaged. Timeless and absolutely adorable.

3.5 out of 5 Stars

 

The Peanuts Movie

By Cole Schneider

Charlie Brown’s newest (mis)adventures are innocently humorous and uncontrollably cute. “The Peanuts Movie” captures the essence of Schultz’ comic in so many ways: the animation stays true even while adding realism to the backgrounds, the supporting characters remain thinly realized associations of Chuck, and the plot remains a slice-of-life wrapped up in larger story of little consequence.

There is one thing, though, about “The Peanuts Movie” that rings dishonest to the comic. While the film is melancholic and bittersweet, it’s a little too happy, too nice. While there are happy endings in the Peanuts cannon–”A Charlie Brown Christmas” comes to mind–it is the exception not the rule, and it is purposeful to the contained thematics of its narrative. This Peanuts movie, though is absolutely the happiest. The end here is happier than even the Christmas special, Charlie Brown is nicer to his sister, Snoopy is nicer to him, everyone is nicer to everyone, Charlie Brown (the kid who always fails) finds success.

It isn’t honest to the story. Instead it reeks as a ploy to get modern kids to connect (via ticket sales) with a decades old property, as if children today wouldn’t benefit from being able to identify with a kid who can’t get things to go his way, can’t fly a kite, can’t win the girl, and doesn’t have to sit in his own despair for very long. Peanuts has here been reduced to just another kids movie that says, “be good and good things will happen”. It’s a message that rings pithy to kids who’ve heard it from all angles, while the more daring and true message, “if you feel like a failure, you’re not alone” gets pushed aside.

2 out of 5 Stars

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