The Peanuts Movie

"Very Good"

The Peanuts Movie Review


Snoopy, Charlie Brown and friends finally arrive on the big screen in a movie that sticks close to the gently comical tone of the comic strip that launched in 1950 and the vintage TV shows from the 1960s and 1970s. Apart from whizzy digital animation, the film has the same stylised look and internalised storytelling. It's utterly charming, perhaps appealing more to nostalgic grown-ups than kids who aren't used to material that's so simple and sophisticated at the same time.

The story starts on the first snow day of winter, as Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) occupies his free time worrying about how he can reinvent himself to impress the red-haired girl (Francesca Angelucci Capaldi) who has just moved in across the street. He's certainly nervous enough without the constant torment of his pushy neighbour Lucy (Hadley Belle Miller) or his enterprising little sister Sally (Mariel Sheets), who works out ways to profit from Charlie's newly found celebrity when he aces a test at school. And then there's Charlie's faithful dog Snoopy (Bill Melendez), who is imagining a series of high-flying adventures in aerial dogfights against the Red Baron for the affections of a fluffy poodle (Kristin Chenoweth).

The animation style is sharp and enjoyably unfussy, playing with the characters' iconic figures without turning them into generic movie shapes. Best of all is the way their facial features retain a hand-drawn touch that echoes creator Charles Schulz's distinctly expressive imagery. There are also some wonderful animated line-art sequences. Meanwhile, the script is written by Schulz's son and grandson, maintaining the same sense of humour, with silly gags underscored by real emotions. At the centre are two things most kids (and adults) can instantly identify with: Charlie's crippling self-doubt and Snoopy's unfettered imagination. So even if some of the twists and turns of the story feel rather corny (including Snoopy's love interest and Charlie's instant fame), there's so much charm and soul that the film can't help but win us over.

That said, children today may find the easy pacing and warm comedy a bit old fashioned. At least Snoopy's feats of derring-do add a blast of action, which plays with the 3D animation in witty ways. As in the comic, the lack of adult characters helps astutely tap into recognisable feelings about childhood, from the exhilarating freedom to the constant humiliation. It's a brave kids' movie that resists the pressure to play to hyperactive attention spans, and perhaps this film will have a longer shelf life as a result, because children will be able to grow up with it, discovering new things about themselves each time they watch it.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for The Peanuts Movie here:



The Peanuts Movie

Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Run time: 88 mins

Budget: $99M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Blue Sky Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Animation, Feigco Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 93 Rotten: 15

IMDB: 7.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steve Martino

Producer: , Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz, Cornelius Uliano, Michael J. Travers

Starring: Noah Schnapp as Charlie Brown (voice), Bill Melendez as Snoopy / Woodstock (voice--archive), Venus Schultheis as Pepperment Patty (voice), Hadley Belle Miller as Lucy van Pelt (voice), Madisyn Shipman as Violet Grey (voice), Francesca Capaldi as Little red-haired girl (voice), Noah Johnston as Schroeder (voice), Alexander Garfin as Linus (voice), Mariel Sheets as Sally Brown (voice), A.J. Tecce as Pig-Pen (voice), Mar Mar as Franklin Armstrong (voice), Rebecca Bloom as Marcie (voice), Anastasia Bredikhina as Patty (voice), William Wunsch as Shermy (voice)

Also starring:

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