DIR: Steve Martino • WRI: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano • Pro: Paul Feig, Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Michael J. Travers, Cornelius Uliano • DOP: Renato Falcao • ED: Randy Trager • CAST: Noah Schapp, Bill Melendez, Venus Schultheis
Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie sees the beloved cartoon and comic strip get a makeover for 2015. The kids are going to get lots of giggles out of this and it’s not just a film for them. Thankfully, It’s not an annoying kids film. If you have to go with your child, you’ll probably end up liking it as well, if only for the nostalgia value of seeing childhood characters you once loved.
The main story is about Charlie Brown, a boy who can’t seem to get anything right but seems to have an eternal supply of optimism anyway. He is always talking about making a fresh start but when he tries to do it he’s either afraid to take the first step or messes it up completely.
His beloved dog Snoopy is there to push Charlie into doing the things he’s a afraid to, sometimes for Charlie’s own good and sometimes just for Snoopy’s amusement. In the film, Charlie is down on his luck as usual after another failed attempt to fly a kite. He and the neighbourhood gang are out playing when they spot a moving lorry pull up beside a house.
They all run to the house’s fence to peer over and watch a new kid move in beside them. Charlie watches with the rest of them, thinking to himself that this is his chance to start over new with someone who knows nothing of his past failures. He remembers the clumsy and undignified things he’s done in the past as he leans on the fence, a little too hard, and it collapses. The other kids scatter and Charlie is left on his own, face down in the snow.
The new kid turns out to be a girl who soon appears in Charlie’s class at school. The film follows him in his efforts to get her to notice him, even though every time she comes near all he can manage to do is hide.
Snoopy has his own story as well that he writes and imagines himself from the top of his doghouse. He is a fighter pilot over Europe in the early 20th century, his doghouse is his plane as he tries to rescue a female dog from the clutches of the infamous Red Baron.
I saw this film in 3D but there’s no point in paying the extra money. All during it I was thinking, “Why am I wearing these glasses?”
The animation is nice overall. Although it is CGI, it doesn’t look fully digital and still retains a cartoonish style and feel which is a change from nearly all animation films these days. This was the right decision as when something comes from a comic strip it would look a bit odd if it were to lose that style. Maybe today’s children wouldn’t notice or care but anyone who knows the original cartoon or comic strip would find it a bit displeasing. And that hint of comic strip style in the animation is something that children may not have seen before and enjoy.
It’s hard not to like this film. Charlie is not the best at anything. He’s bumbling, awkward and clumsy. But you’d have to be dead inside not to be rooting and feeling for him as he swings back and forth between optimism and despair about a hundred times. The Peanuts Movie will resonate with any child that is always feeling like nothing can go right for them and any adult who once felt that way.
93 minutes (See IFCO for details)
Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is released 18th December 2015