Friday, November 6, 2015

The Peanuts Movie

Blending together several storylines from Charles M. Schulz's comic strip, director Steve Martino and writers Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, and Cornelius Uliano offer up a tale that despite its modern 3D CGI characters still feels old fashioned (in all the best ways).

Although at 93 minutes The Peanuts Movie feels a bit long, particularly in the final half, the screening I attended appeared to be the rare family film to entertain both kids and parents alike. Included in the storylines are Charlie Brown's (Noah Schnapp) self-confidence issues and crush on the Little Red-Headed Girl (Francesca Capaldi), Snoopy's (Bill Melendez) battles with the Red Baron, and Lucy's (Hadley Belle Miller) psychiatric service and crush on the piano-playing Schroeder (Noah Johnston). We also get a talent show, Charlie Brown's attempts to fly a kite, Peppermint Patty (Venus Schultheis) and Marcie (Rebecca Bloom), Linus (Alexander Garfin) and his trusty blanket, Sally's (Mariel Sheets) relationship to her big brother, a book report, and plenty of opportunities for the old blockhead to make mistakes, rise to the occasion, showcase heart, and learn valuable lessons.

Lovingly made with heavy input from the Shulz family of who know and love his characters as much as the cartoonist did, The Peanuts Movie succeeds in capturing the spirit of the original comic strip while breathing new life into the characters with its CGI design. Yes, it's nostalgic and a bit corny, and the movie could be tightened up and shortened by a good 10-15 minutes, but there's so many nods to the original source material that I can understand why more of the film didn't make it onto the cutting room floor especially given the strip is celebrating 65 years since its first printing. One final note, while not necessary to view the film in 3D I will say the style and effects do come off nicely in the format, although I think history has shown us you're likely to enjoy Charlie Brown in any number of dimensions you choose.

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