by Sandra Kraisirideja
Charles Schulz’s Peanuts gang has finally made it to the big screen and the result is quite magical.
The Peanuts Movie incorporates all of the elements that made the TV shows so beloved while updating the animation style in a way that honors the old look and makes it look more modern.
Director Steve Martino, working off a script by brothers Bryan and Craig Schulz along with Cornelius Uilano, was able to satisfy the need for nostalgia while also making it appealing for a new audience.
In the movie Charlie Brown works on his confidence issues over the course of a school year in hopes of getting The Little Red-Haired Girl to notice him. Until now this character has been a mystery, yet another elusive goal that Charlie Brown never attains, like flying a kite or kicking a football.
That all changes in The Peanuts Movie, a 3-D CGI animated movie that manages to capture all of the warmth and sweetness of the animated specials.
From the moment I heard the first few chords of Linus and Lucy by the Vince Guaraldi Trio I was transported to the living room floor of my childhood home, where I would be sitting cozily in footed PJs, munching on popcorn and laughing with my cousins as we watched Charlie Brown and the gang.
To take a concept from Pixar’s Inside Out, those nights spent watching Peanuts specials are very much core memories for me.
I had no expectations when I sat down in the theater. I was just looking forward to seeing and hearing all of characters come alive. Part of me did wonder how the filmmakers would incorporate all of iconic elements of the TV programs—the wah-wah grown up voice; Snoopy versus the Red Baron; Peppermint Patty and Marcie; Lucy’s psychiatrist office; and Schroeder’s piano to name a few.
The good and bad news is the film fits them all in. It is really great to see all of the characters on the big screen, but this makes the movie a tad longer than it needs to be. Turns out the hour-long specials were actually long enough.
The voice cast is superb. All of the characters sounded as I remembered, which is amazing considering the young cast.
Peanuts, the syndicated comic strip written and illustrated by Schultz, ran from 1950 to 2000 and is still featured in daily and Sunday comic strips in reruns.
The TV specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, remain popular and are still broadcast on ABC during the holiday season.