The Peanuts Movie is a beautiful little film”

by Steve Pulaski

While a film based off the beloved “Peanuts” comic strip in 2015 will appear a desperate cash-in for money-hungry Hollywood at a time where $1 billion grosses are now reasonable goals for some films, thanks to the participation of Bryan and Craig Schulz, the grandson and son of the late “Peanuts” cartoonist Charles Schulz, respectively, the humor and original spirit of the original product is still very much intact. With warm animation that delightfully mimics the look of the comic, while bringing computer animation into the picture.

The Peanuts Movie is a beautiful little film, one that doesn’t predicate its existence entirely on the nostalgia and warmth provided by the original comic strip and one that doesn’t get so blindsided by the glitz of Hollywood excess that it abandons its roots. Our story focuses on Charlie Brown, everyone’s lovable blockhead, who is usually found attempting to get his kite off the ground or avoiding being the laughingstock of his whole neighborhood. He also spends a great deal of time with his friends, such as Linus, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Sally, and of course, Snoopy and Woodstock.

The Peanuts Movie
Directed by
Steve Martino
Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller
Release Date
6 November 2015
Steve’s Grade: B

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Charlie’s whole world is turned upside down, however, when a beautiful new girl, known only as “Little Red-Haired Girl,” moves into the neighborhood and is placed in Charlie’s class. As usual, Charlie finds himself overcome with his klutzy nature and personal insecurities to make any kind gesture towards the apple of his eye. In an effort to make himself hipper and more admirable, Charlie begins to read a book that maps out the ten ways to be successful.

When Charlie and the Little Red-Haired Girl get paired up to do a book report together, and the Little Red-Haired Girl is out of town visiting her sick grandmother, Charlie motivates himself to do the book report by himself to impress his crush. Peppermint Patty informs him one of the greatest books of all time is a book called “Leo’s Toystore” written by “some guy” named “Warren Peace,” to which Charlie tracks down the book, reads the behemoth of a novel, and emerges determined to write one of the greatest book reports ever.

This should give you some sort of idea of what you’re in for with The Peanuts Movie. Also thrown into this charming story are many scenes involving Snoopy flying on his airplane with two goals in mind – taking down the infamous Red Baron fighter jet and winning the heart of the gorgeous poodle Fifi. It’s a tireless pursuit, and it’s one that is interjected in the film prolifically enough to really feel like a diversion to the fact that this is a story that would’ve probably been better suited for basic cable with a runtime of about seventy minutes. These are the scenes that really appear to be filler and work to distract from the more interesting and relatable story at hand. However, the “Peanuts” strips and specials were always cut from a rather slight cloth, so perhaps these sequences do indeed work to serve the better part of the spirit.

Nonetheless, I’m not one to complain when a product of the past gets its fair treatment on the big screen and that’s precisely what The Peanuts Movie gets: a very fair, very funny, thoroughly charming revitalization of characters that, to many, feel like old friends, created with unique animation that effectively blends styles of the past and present thanks to Blue Sky Animation. This film would be an ideal pairing alongside Disney’s Winnie the Pooh from 2011, both of which together would make for a lovely introduction to film for young audiences thanks to their warmness and genial spirit and humor.