MOVIE REVIEW: THE PEANUTS MOVIE
Directed by Steve Martino
Starring Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang have endured for well over fifty years due to Charles M Schulz’s comic strips innate sweetness and insight into the human condition. The late Schulz (who passed in 2000, aged 77) was, in many ways, our greatest modern philosopher – and a darned funny one at that.
This latest feature film adaptation – written by Schulz’s son Craig, grandson Bryan and his friend Cornelius Uliano, and co-produced faithfully by Craig – celebrates his wonderful characters in the spirit they were written – straight off the page, in fact. Importantly, this includes not trying to update them for the digital age: old style telephones with bendy cords sit in every house, Snoopy taps away on a typewriter, no-one is playing on smartphones or tablets, and adults talk only in indecipherable parps and squeaks courtesy of the legendary Trombone Shorty.
In this film the luckless Charlie Brown struggles to achieve anything, most of all get noticed by the cute red-haired girl new to their school. Lucy dispenses self-involved psychiatric advice for a nickel, Snoopy day dreams about fighting the Red Baron atop his dog kennel (which he imagines is a Sopwith Camel fighter), Woodstock and his buddies prove that yellow was goofily cute long before there were Minions, and the rest of the gang similarly reprise their comic strip roles and quirks.
The film is adorable, completely captivating family fun: anyone failing to engage and take away at least a warm heart and a glowing smile is seriously in need of therapy. Charlie Brown’s optimism in the face of constant setbacks as “the whole world seems to be conspiring against him” is an especially poignant theme: surely we’ve all felt like that some days (or months?!) in this more and more complicated world.
The Peanuts legacy is certainly in good hands at the moment, even though Craig Schulz has said he only wanted to make “one good Peanuts movie” and there may not be any follow-up films. With fifty years of comic strips to draw from, and this movie so note perfect, it would be a shame if they didn’t go back for more.
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Filed Under: Movie & Theatre Reviews
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