Director: Steve Martino
Writers: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano, Charles M. Schulz (comic strip)
Starring: Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
When I was a kid, I didn’t get the newspaper, so my dad used to bring home his office’s newspapers. Every time he did, I would sift through the classified and the headlines until I found the comic strips. One of my favorite comics was Peanuts. Snoopy has always been a favorite of mine, especially since he’s a writer like me. I’m happy to say that The Peanuts Movie stays loyal to the comic strips I used to read during my childhood.
The Little Red Haired Girl has moved into town and Charlie Brown instantly has a crush on her. He is determined to get a fresh start with this new girl–and for once not look like a failure. Meanwhile, Snoopy has found a typewriter and has decided to scrawl an adventure of his own full of true love, dogfights, and the Red Baron.
Violence/Scary Images: The only violence is during the dogfights in Snoopy’s adventures. There is some peril where Fifi (Snoopy’s love) almost falls to her death and some bullet holes hit Snoopy’s “plane”, but that’s just about it.
Language/Crude Humor: None.
Spiritual Content: Charlie Brown wishes on a star and prays a bit to it for his life to go right at one point.
Sexual Content: One character kisses another on the cheek.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: None.
Other Negative Content: Some of the characters are sneaky and a bit mean to each other, but nothing hugely questionable.
Positive Content: To my pleasant surprise, there was a great moral message in this movie. Throughout Charlie Brown’s adventure he is trying to be someone he isn’t and puts on many different hats (sometimes literally) to impress the Little Red Haired Girl. But in the end what impresses her is his kindness, compassion, honesty, and bravery, in other words by being a good man. Charlie Brown has a sacrificial nature about him. In several instances, he could take the selfish route and have the glory for himself, or be selfless and help another person. In these instances he conquered his fears and did the right things. More children’s films need morals like this.
While sitting in the theater viewing the trailers for other children’s films, I cringed at the potty humor, cheesy one-liners, idiot villains, and dull plots. As each advertisement for the newest kid’s flick passed by, I dreaded more and more that The Peanuts Movie would be another victim of modern children’s film making. Don’t get me wrong there are some great kid’s movies made in the last five years such as How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Check out our review!) or Big Hero 6 (Check out our review!), but most of them are pretty shoddy. Fortunately, I was proven wrong.
The Peanuts Movie stays very classic to the original comic strip and movies. The plot is simple and straight forward. Some small twists, but overall very humorous, light, and cute. Both Charlie’s and Snoopy’s stories are intriguing, but of course Charlie Brown is our main focus and Snoopy helps him along the way as the most reliable and mischievous man’s best friend. I was worried that the company would try to modernize the Peanuts world, which would have taken away from the story’s original charm, but thankfully they stayed true to the tone of the comics. Many references are made to the original comics and movies such as the Great Pumpkin.
Many of the classic comic characters are included in the film. All of them are very loyal to their original characters. Charlie Brown is hesitant, but morally sound. Lucy is obnoxious, a bit brash, and in love with Shroeder. Sally is as annoying and adorable as ever. Linus, Franklin, Peppermint Patty, Marcy, and more are also included. The adults as always sound like trombones. Snoopy and Woodstock had me laughing almost louder than the kids. They were absolutely adorable. Each of the young voice actors does very well in portraying each of these classic characters.
I know a lot of people worried about the new animation style. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it stays true to the original comic style and even the thought bubbles go 2D and into the original black and white comic book animation. Most of the story is shot like a comic. It reminds me a bit of a scene scrolling in a Mario game. A few sequences take advantage of the 3D style, like in Snoopy’s dogfights and when Charlie Brown is learning to dance, but most of them stay very close to classic.
The score of course has the original Peanuts theme. It has a lot of piano and orchestra. The only modernization comes in a vocal end theme.
The Peanuts Movie alludes to an older era of kid’s films, one I wish would be brought back. It doesn’t rely on crass jokes and rule breaking to entertain its audience. It shows a true moral lesson of sacrifice with adorable, lovable, classic characters. This move stands out among others and it’s perfectly clean for little kids. We need more films like this.
+ Good moral lesson + Stays loyal to the original comics + Snoopy is hilarious
- Animation may take some time for some to get used to
The Bottom Line
The Peanuts Movie alludes to an older era of kid's films, one I wish would be brought back. It doesn't rely on crass jokes and rule breaking to entertain its audience. It shows a true moral lesson of sacrifice with adorable, lovable, classic characters. This move stands out among others and it's perfectly clean for little kids. We need more films like this.