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Old December 17th, 2015, 08:37 PM
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Default The Peanuts Movie

Saw the 10:45 am showing of The Peanuts Movie at the Ward Theater today (12/17/15).

The movie follows two storylines, one of which is Charlie Brown is trying to get the little red hair girl to notice him and the other is Snoopy trying to write a novel (which starts off with It was a dark and stormy night...) about the exploits of the World War I ace (Snoopy) getting the attention of flyer named Fifi (who is also a dog) while the Red Baron intervenes in their budding romance.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Noah Schnapps, Hadley Belle Miller, Mariel Sheets, Alex Garfin, Francesca Angelucci Capaldi. Written by Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, and Cornelius Uliano. Directed by Steve Martino.

For the lifelong fan of the Peanuts comic strip, there are a lot of reasons to approach the new, 3D, computer-animated The Peanuts Movie with trepidation. The graceful, gentle, pencil-drawn arc of Snoopy’s face, later rendered in Charles Schulz’s shaky hand, was always a simple, warm line that conveyed feelings of sincerity, simplicity, and warmth, just the right vehicle for Charlie Brown’s daily attempts at facing a world seemingly determined to make things as difficult on him as possible. It seems a sacrilege to attempt translating Charlie Brown’s perseverance to the shiny, slick, smooth style of today’s animation.

I hadn’t even thought of the animation when I first heard this movie was on its way. I was too concerned about whether devotees’ fandom would be rewarded with glimpses of such lesser-known characters as Spike, 5, and Rerun. While the film plays a little fast and loose with some established canon certainties (Linus is not in Charlie Brown’s grade! Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Franklin live in another neighborhood! Miss Othmar isn’t Charlie Brown’s teacher!), it absolutely caters to the older crowd with blatant references to the comic strip art and to the classic TV specials. It even pokes a little bit of fun at the ubiquitous Peanuts merchandising.

In fact, most of the story line is taken right from some of the classic strips. The plot revolves around Charlie Brown’s infatuation with the Little Red-Haired Girl, and includes episodes involving the kite-eating tree, War and Peace, and Snoopy’s endless rivalry with the Red Baron. The characters are mostly true to their history (especially Lucy, who is wonderful), and there are multiple sight gags that will have observant viewers laughing aloud. You know that kitchen scene in The Brady Bunch Movie, when “dinner tonight: porkchops and applesauce” is written on the note board in the background, and you laughed but your date didn’t because she hadn’t grown up watching the Bradys on television every day of her elementary school years the way you did? There are moments like that in this film.

I thoroughly disapprove of the last two minutes of the movie, even while understanding the strong argument on its behalf. It would have ruined the film for me, if the previous hour and a half hadn’t been so pleasant. It is not a flawless movie by a long shot: there is too much Snoopy vs. the Red Baron, for one thing, but it wasn’t a flawless comic strip either. Taking the strip’s entire fifty-year run as one work, however, puts things in perspective, and there’s enough in this film, even for people whose entire concept of Peanuts is limited to the television cartoons, to excuse those last two minutes.

7/10 (IMDb rating)
77/100 (Criticker rating)
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