Rating: 4.5 Stars
Good grief, another beloved property has gotten the big screen treatment. Is nothing sacred to them? Well at least it’s sacred to the people who made this, because it shows. The people behind The Peanuts Movie waste no time establishing the storyline: Charlie Brown gathering the courage to talk to the Little Red Haired Girl while facing mishaps every step of the way. We begin with a snow day that establishes Charlie Brown as the down-on-his-luck guy who won’t give up on achieving his dreams. Meanwhile, Snoopy is there to support him, and write his own story based on what he sees, creating a story-within-a-story that is easy to follow for anyone. Throughout these two stories (which is an obvious sign of needing to stretch the movie to a ninety-minute run time), Charlie Brown is developed as the lovable failure we know from the TV specials ABC runs every year, and so is every other character, who are voiced by actual children you’ve never heard the names of before, which adds a layer of genuineness, but their similarity to the original voices makes me wonder if they edit the recordings to sound more like the original actors. At least they didn’t force well-known celebrities into this, or mangle it beyond recognition to do so. The care that went into translating the comic strips and TV specials to film was so obvious, they even left in little details that wouldn’t work if it were about something else, and instead of forcing it into a cookie-cutter style of animation, they stick to the art style and tropes of the comic strip and TV special. However, they go wrong when they use a pop song for Charlie Brown’s “learning to dance montage,” and the winter dance. It’s just totally wrong to use that there, I cannot forgive forcing pop songs into somewhere they have no place. Maybe the credits, but better yet, pop songs have no place in the Peanuts lore. Guess nothing is sacred. Except for also using true-to-the-source music and actual music from the TV specials in one form or another for authenticity. Overall, the Peanuts Movie will make you think “good grief” when you hear it exists, but will make you think “yay!” when you see it.