Director: Steve Martino
Cast: Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller & Trombone Shorty
As I watched the much anticipated Peanuts movie, I found myself questioning whether the generation comprising my young nieces and nephews would enjoy the animated film. Afterall, the movie based on the acclaimed comic strip by Charles M. Schulz offered no fancy schmancy graphics such as those recent animated films such as “Inside Out” and “Frozen” were peppered with. The animation crew has stuck to minimal 2D animation which was pleasing enough for me since it successfully triggered memories of having buried my nose in the beloved comic strip.
The plot is simple. On second thought, I might need a word simpler than ‘simple’ to describe the storyline. The perennially ill-fortuned good ol’ Charlie Brown pines to be noticed by the new addition to the class – the little (nameless) red-haired girl. Whether or not he succeeds makes up the rest of this 93 minute long animated flick. On his journey to success, we see several bouts of misfortune being generously dished out to the round-headed kid. He almost manages to impress his counterparts at the Winter Dance with his uber cool 70s dance moves, only to slip and fall miserably at the end of his act.
He tirelessly works on a thousand word book report based upon Tolstoy’s “War & Peace”, only to have it ripped to shreds.
You cannot possibly overlook the running theme of depression manifested in the figure of Charlie Brown. Although a lemonade stand run by Lucy is not quite the most professional form of psychiatric help, it’s evident that it was Schulz’s way of addressing a heavily suppressed issue in the 1970s. If I had to highlight any shortcomings of the film, it would probably have to be the high-pitched, squeaky sounds emitted by Snoopy and Woodstock whenever they conversed. They especially did no justice to the loveable beagle whose witty humour on print is far more welcome than his squeals on the big screen.
Interestingly enough, Bryan and Craig Schulz have remained faithful to the yesteryear imagination of the senior Schulz by employing trombone-like sounds to represent the voices of adults, such as Miss Othmar, the Peanuts gang’s teacher, without giving her a physical form. There are also interludes during which we see Snoopy taking to the skies to battle his bitter rival, The Red Baron.
Is this film adaptation worth a watch in cinemas? Definitely. Especially if you belong to the generation which looked forward to reading the comic strip in the Sunday funnies without fail. The film is a wonderfully warm serving of nostalgia – just perfect for Christmas.
Rating: 7.5 / 10