The Peanuts Movie

PeanutsMovieTonight watch It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown on ABC where the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is celebrated during a retrospective hosted by Kristen Bell and featuring the music of Vince Guaraldi. The comic strip is also celebrating their 65th anniversary.

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“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can turn a book report into a lifelong commitment.”

“Nostalgic entertainment at a high level. The physical comedy, intelligent dialogue, and entertaining situations relates well as The Peanuts Movie warms the heart. Young audiences should feel privileged to experience among a shortage of all age gems for audiences these days.

Based on the classic comic strips and television specials, the computer-animated The Peanuts Movie is not a clips show with all the memorable highlights as the great story enhances these moments with many more new ones centering on Charlie Brown, well voiced by Noah Schnapp (Bridge of Spies).

The fireball Lucy, blanket loving Linus van Pelt, his bossy sister Lucy, sweet Sally, pianist Schroeder (check the beginning credits), earnest Franklin, dust filled Pigpen, Peppermint Patty and her friend Marcie.

Audiences (and characters) still experience Snoopy’s fantasy life as the World War I flying ace containing a new love interest and the antagonistic Red Baron. Bill Melendez voices Snoopy and his bird friend Woodstock. The role of the Little Red-Haired Girl, voiced by Francesca Capaldi, expands as Kristin Chenwoeth (Tinkerbell) voices Fifi. Troy Andrews (a.k.a. Trombone Shorty) uses his trumpet/trombone playing talents for the adult character voices.

All these characters get great voice talent as audiences young and old can easily envelope themselves in Charles Schulz’s universe. Filmmakers stay true to the original source, which predictably provides great storytelling and memorable characters. No need to modernize here. Filmmakers span each season through the plot with parallel storylines plus rich colors, textures, and fantasy elements.

Directed by Steve Martino (Ice Age: Continental Drift, Horton Hears a Who!) incorporates the appealingly simple approach that made Peanuts a cultural institution. The memory bubbles, creative sounds, and friendships/family relationships provide more than enough material. Martino and his crew pace this animated film very well with subtle references and background action.

The Peanuts Movie uses archival recordings for some of the voice work and Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy musical score is honored well by composer Christophe Beck (Frozen, The Muppets). Meghan Trainor also contributes the song “Better When I’m Dancin’”.

The Peanuts Movie was written by Craig and Bryan Schulz (Schulz’s son and grandson, respectively) and short director/writer/producer Cornelius Uliano who makes his feature film screenwriting debut. Craig also co-produces this film.

This recommended G-rated film (*** out of four stars) is the fifth full-length feature film to be based on the comic as well as the first feature film based on the characters since 1980’s Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!). Be sure to watch the short scene at the end of the ending credits. Hopefully many more movie sequels are on the way.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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