“The Peanuts Movie” is a suitable movie for families to watch over the weekend or over Winter Break.
By Sophie Yang, ’19
“The Peanuts Movie,” which came to theaters on Nov. 6, is a lighthearted, animated comedy that follows Charlie Brown through a school year from chilly winter to sweltering summer vacation.
The film, which is based on the classic American comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz, was produced by his son and grandson—Craig and Bryan Schulz—alongside Paul Feig, Cornelius Uliano and Michael J. Travers. Directed by Steve Martino, “The Peanuts Movie” is the first Peanuts-based feature film in 35 years, the fifth overall and definitely the first that appears in 3D.
In 93 minutes, the movie explores the stories of Charlie Brown, voiced by Noah Schnapp, and his pet beagle Snoopy, voiced with edited recordings from the late Bill Melendez. The plot centers around Charlie’s attempt to “become a winner” and impress the Little Red Haired Girl, a mysterious new student in his class.
In all, the movie centers around a series of scenes that take place throughout the year, including a talent show and school dance. Charlie’s story is separated by Snoopy’s fantasies at a typewriter; he imagines dramatic episodes of fighting his nemesis—the Red Baron—to win his true love, a poodle named Fifi.
However, these “chapters” Snoopy writes, which are aimed toward younger audiences, often distract from Charlie’s struggle. Although captivating and well-animated, a flight past the Eiffel Tower isn’t relevant to Charlie overcoming his misfortunes. In fact, the only time the two storylines clearly coincide is in Snoopy’s Chapter 7, which begins with the uplifting words of “Never give up.”
Charlie Brown, the underdog, appears to sincerely agree with Snoopy’s message, showing perseverance throughout the film. Charlie doesn’t forget his dreams after failing to fly a kite in the middle of winter or being ridiculed by all of his peers. Even after he remarks, “Why is it that everything I try goes wrong?” he picks himself up and pushes forward. Charlie chooses honesty and others over his own goals several times, presenting a positive moral to viewers.
Despite this message, it’s a bit difficult to form a strong bond with all the characters of the film. With only a few windows to meet the full Peanuts cast, non-enthusiasts don’t have much time to gain insight about Lucy or Peppermint Patty. Perhaps part of the problem is due to the characters’ ages or their conformity to the original comic. Charles M. Schulz wrote Peanuts from 1950 to 2000, so some occurrences could have been written and developed decades ago.
“The Peanuts Movie” pulls a variety of elements from the comics, including the recurring outcry of “Good Grief!” and Lucy’s psychiatry booth. Items like Snoopy’s dog house are also familiar from previous films like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
Finally, much of the enjoyment of the film comes from the situations and dialogue. One example is Charlie’s laughable declaration: “The whole world seems to be conspiring against me.”
As a G-rated movie, though, there naturally isn’t too much suspense in the film; it’s certainly not for someone anticipating action. Instead, with its casual backdrop and classic characters, “The Peanuts Movie” is a suitable family film for a weekend or winter break.
A modern version of a classic, the movie follows Charlie Brown through both humorous and significant moments in which viewers hope for Charlie’s triumph. With its interesting instances and deeper morals, “The Peanuts Movie” is a good break from more serious live-action movies.