I've been excited about "The Peanuts Movie" for months. I've been eagerly showing the trailer to my kids in order to get them interested in seeing it with me. We saw the movie yesterday afternoon and, I have to say that, while my expectations were probably impossibly high, The Peanuts Movie went a long way towards satisfying them. The premise of The Peanuts Movie involves Charlie Brown and his attempts to win the heart of The Little Red-Haired Girl. The B-plot involves Snoopy writing a fantastical novel in which he battles the Red Baron to save his own love interest. It doesn't sound like much to base a movie on, but the underlying message of honesty, courage and being true to yourself is something that fans of The Peanuts Gang have come to expect from anything with Charles M. Schulz attached to it
First off, I want to commend Blue Sky for not casting "names". Each character in the Peanuts Movie is voiced by a child actor which is what Charles Schulz would have wanted. I can only imagine how fast he'd be spinning in his grave had Fergie been cast as Sally (which would be somewhat legit considering that she voiced Sally in "Snoopy's Getting Married"). Second, I also appreciate that The Peanuts Movie exists within its own timeless environment. The kids don't use cell phones or computers. They still have landline phones with twisty cords. They write letters instead of sending emails. Snoopy uses a type-writer instead of a word processing program. It really adds to the charm of The Peanuts Movie. Unfortunately, because of this, when modern pop songs are used in this setting, it creates a cognitive dissonance that threatens to take the viewer out of the movie.
I only have three other nitpicks, and those relate to continuity:
- Linus has traditionally been shown as being younger than Charlie Brown, yet, in The Peanuts Movie, they're in the same class. This change was most likely made in order to quickly move the story along.
- Linus and Lucy's younger brother, Rerun is not mentioned. It's possible that he's the kid that Charlie Brown helps out a few times through the movie, but if he is, he's not mentioned by name.
- Peppermint Patty and Marcie don't go to the same school as Charlie Brown, yet, in The Peanuts Movie, they do. Again, it's a change that was probably made for brevity.
Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. It's a sweet, charming, delightfully fun film. It's like getting a warm hug from my childhood. There's something for kids who are new to Peanuts and adults who have been longtime fans. While I liked the Charlie Brown plot the best, my two younger boys preferred the Snoopy plot. My boys giggled at Snoopy sneakily eating Charlie Brown's cupcakes while I was moved by Snoopy offering him the last cupcake after yet another spectacular failure. My pre-teen daughter was not a fan of the movie overall citing that she found very little to identify with.