Good grief! Another Peanuts movie is here! For over 50 years the entire Peanuts gang including Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and Snoopy have entertained us in practically anything possible in various comic, TV specials, and movies. From picking out the perfect Christmas tree to waiting for the Great Pumpkin, these characters have had basic and relatable childhood situations make audiences both laugh and bring them to tears. There have been 4 previous theatrically released Peanuts movies most of which the characters are put into adventurous situations. The last one was released in 1980. With The Peanuts Movie being the first movie of the franchise to be released in 35 years, will this stack up to its' predecessors?
After seeing this film, I was beyond satisfied especially considering being a diehard Peanuts fan. This film is a bit different from Snoopy Come Home and Race for your Life, Charlie Brown and more like the first film, A Boy Named Charlie Brown. The reason is because there is no dramatic mission or adventure (With the exception of the Red Baron). The Peanuts gang isn't traveling to Europe or desperately trying to find Snoopy. Instead the Peanuts gang is in school and in there beloved town with a kite eating tree and adults that go "Woh woh woh wowoh wowoh woh". The plot may be more simple but it's perfectly alright with me. The Peanuts gang can have an imagination but most of their iconic moments go back to the lovable simple plots. Charlie Brown may just to get a Christmas tree but the hilarity of the story ensues when he picks a pint sized tree. Now I will say that a lot of gags from previous specials have been recycled into this movie. Still, it's enjoyable to watch. Old viewers can storylines such as Charlie Brown trying to read War and Peace in a new light that will still provide many laughs. This movie will also be a great introduction to new Peanuts fans. They will be able to easily identify beloved characters and get a first glimpse at Charlie Browns' not so lucky life. In fact they will learn from this movie is that all Charlie Brown wants to do is become a "winner"
He may sound selfish but this is coming from a poor kid who is regularly identified as a "blockhead" and loses every baseball game of the season for his team. The story in this movie revolves around Charlie Brown once again falling in love with the little red haired girl. Unfortunately Charlie Brown does not have much to offer. So he tries to continuously show off in front of her so he can win her heart. The film shows Charlie Brown as a hero for kids. For once he does not let the other kids bring him down. Instead he proves to himself that he really is great. Even though humiliation follows in true Peanuts fashion, Charlie Brown tries not to show a grudge and by the end of the movie learns a valuable lesson in honesty and respect. Viewers get to see action from the supporting characters too. Although they don't get as much individual time on screen like in previous specials, they still play a major role in Charlie Brown's goal. Some may tease him but his true friends like Linus will often still stuck up for him. Snoopy in particular helps Charlie Brown with impressing the girl of his dreams. His scenes show his always great comic timing and even his scenes as the flying ace show that he too can relate to Charlie Browns' problems. In the end the entire gang (Even Lucy!) see the sincere goodness in the iconic boy we know as Charlie Brown.
I was even impressed with the animation. The format may not seem normal for the Peanuts but you'll soon get used to it. The animators perfectly combined Charles Schulzs' drawings (Even images from the comics) with computer animation. It makes old drawings look more clear and due to the updates, even breathtaking. It's great that the Peanuts successfully transitioned into 2D format while still obtaining its simple format. Most computer animated films show up the characters from the different angles but for this film it had to be more flat. It's not at all a bad thing. In fact I would love to see this combination in future computer animated movies. It just gives a fresh new look.
I recommend this movie to any Peanuts fan, newcomers or someone who wants to see a nice family film. It's a great movie about acceptance with plenty of comic relief. It even has the potential to create a new generation of fans. It's very similar to what the Muppets are doing now with their new movies. Needless to say I won't be surprised if this is the first of all new Peanuts movies and TV specials.