(Image Credit Mashable.com)
I know we hard-core fans of the comic strip “Peanuts” were shocked and dismayed when we learned Hollywood couldn’t help itself from sucking in even more revenue by scooping up and sending off our innocent, timeless beloved characters to the big screen (with the appropriate corporate tie-ins, of course) in computer animation…and in three dimensions no less.
Rest easy those of us nuts for Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts.” You can put down the pitchforks and plunk down the money to see “The Peanuts Movie.” And if available to you…do see the 3-D version.
You probably can’t find one positive review to this film that doesn’t allude to it being a “love letter” to all fans that have followed Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang for sixty-five years plus now. I believe this is considered the fifth theatrical movie featuring the “Peanuts” gang. I remember seeing the first with my Dad…1969’s “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.” (The last one shown in theaters was 1980’s “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown”)
USA Today writer Bryan Alexander noted in a recent column Producer Craig Schulz (Schulz’s son) was determined if any new project was going to be made in this day and age it would be done the Schulz way – timeless and classic. Blue Sky Studios said they would honor his challenge.
They met their commitment and then some…guided by a screenplay carefully and lovingly crafted by Schulz, his son Bryan and Cornelius Uliano. Just about anything you associate or remember from this historic strip or its iconic television specials is stuffed into a film that only runs ninety minutes or so. Flying a kite, playing losing baseball, that Little Red-Haired Girl, the evil Red Baron, the jazz themes of Vince Guaraldi, trying to kick a football, paying five cents to see a shrink. It’s all here. It pretty much plays out like a longer version of the television specials that have meant so much to so many for so long. However…make no mistake it is indeed enriched and enhanced by the modern technology we fans originally feared. All the characters…they jump off the screen (especially in 3-D).
Mind you this is not “Star Wars.” (There are some aerial fight scenes but let’s not give too much away here)
Director Steve Martino understood quite well he was dealing with a global fan base already on edge a film was even being done. Martino as quoted by Alexander, “It was not the time to be reinventing (these characters).” Martino was likely selected for how critics believed he preserved the sensibilities of Dr. Seuss’ Horton in his 2008 adaptation of “Horton Hears A Who!”
This is a G-rated, wholesome children’s movie…for adult fans of “Peanuts.” It is a newly-generated form of artistic expression designed to pay tribute to what this comic strip has meant to the world. I highly doubt a new generation of youthful followers will spring forth. That would be great. I hope everyone who has loved these characters has passed them down through the ages but in an era where your four-year old can show you how to turn Wi-Fi on and off on your smart phone…well, this quiet, simple film is likely not going to take over their lives. I don’t know how many kiddies we can expect to leave the theater with a burning desire to learn more about the richness and quality of Schulz’s long-running strip and its stars.
Indeed…there are a couple new “twists” added for veterans of “Peanuts” including a pop song by Meghan Trainor. But none of the new takes from the familiar.
The release of this movie in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the first airing of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV later this month will surely leave an indelible, memorable impression on every fan.
Stay patient and wait for the credits to end. I promise you’ll get one more memory (and smile) to leave the theater with…on top of all the other memories and smiles you’ll take home…
I am positive Charles M. Schulz would have put his stamp of approval on this hi-tech take to his classic characters.
So shall I.