A Look at “The Peanuts Movie” (2015)
I’ve been badgered into not keeping my thoughts to those in my immediate presence about film, so now I have to write about them. Here’s the second in what I’m assured will be an ongoing series.
I grew up watching The Peanuts on television, like a good child of the 1970’s that I was. I dutifully watched every holiday special. I went to the theatres to see the theatrical releases. I even enjoyed the comic strip, despite my love of Garfield as I got older.
But then something happened as I hit my teens … my zest for watching or reading anything Peanuts related wore off. Chalk it up to discovering pop & rock music, MTV videos, a growing love of visual mediums (film & t.v.). But the lustre wore off and I left Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest behind … a footnote in my childhood growth.
Then a few days ago, I finally sat my two kids and I down to watch 2015’s the Peanuts Movie. I had heard good things about it from some film critics that I like/appreciate/respect their opinion. It had a pretty good Rotten Tomatoes score.
I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to like it. I don’t think my kids expected to like it as much as they did, either.
Blue Sky Studios, the makers of this film, is mostly known for producing the ICE AGE movies, a hit and miss series for me. I wasn’t expecting the total heart that exists in The Peanuts Movie, or the amount of simple humour – some of which actually had me laugh out loud. Not bust a gut like Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s been known to do to me, but good and honest out loud laughs. All of the characters were true to what I remember from my childhood. That sense of innocence not yet spoiled by the real world. Where those neuroses we all have as kids, as shown through the eyes and actions of Charlie Brown, we know as adults we’ll still have, and yet wish we had been able to deal with them as well as Charlie Brown.
I was surprised that they got me to at least giggle at some of Snoopy’s antics, and actually laugh at Woodstock. All of the other Peanuts characters got their little moments to shine. As relative newcomers to The Peanuts, my kids seemed to understand just fine who all the gang were meant to be. But mostly I loved the movie because it reminded me of something that we should always strive to remember: as Charlie Brown does throughout the film, we must always remain honest and true to who we are.
Blue Sky Studios knocked this one out of the park. The animation worked, matching the heart and antics of the original (especially the way the kids walk), and managed to make Pigpen actually look as if he’s got a swatch of dirt & dust following him around, like a living entity.
Have to give it a rating? B+. Have to give it stars? 4 out of 5. This is the kind of film that will stay with you as a warm glowing memory.
Reasons to see it? So, so many. But the heart of it is some of the creativity in it. There’s a sense of love of the original material, and it shows.