The Peanuts Movie
Director: Steve Martino
Cast: Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller
The Peanuts Movie is like an old fuzzy blanket which you can wrap around yourself on a cold winter morning. It is the film equivalent of comfort food, the feeling of meeting old friends on the first day of a new school session – it is nostalgia and we all know how sweet that can be.
The generation which has grown up on Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts cartoon panels in Sunday papers are all parents now and this seems like as good time as any to introduce their children to the world of good ol’ Charlie Brown.
Chuck is as blockheaded as always, a victim of his sense of inadequacy and self-doubt. He is ably supported by his faithful dog Snoopy who -- when not injecting confidence in Charlie -- is fighting Red Baron as the World War I flying ace in the novel he is writing.
And you know how he is writing the book? On his typewriter! The Peanuts movie retains the spirit of Schulz’s work and refuses to go Postmodern. The world Charlie and the gang inhabit is still old-school where holiday means playing out in the park, here kids wait for the last day of school because they want to attend a carnival. And the best part is that there are no adults to manage and monitor. Parents and teachers are heard, not seen, and that too as trombone voices.
However, even though the spirit is old-school, the presentation is not. The 3-D effect is glossy and photorealistic. Charlie, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy are no longer line drawings and there are SO many effects as Snoopy goes chasing Red Baron through ravines and valleys. For the loyal fans, this may mean the film loses out something but the young fans will probably connect more with the format.
Take away the VFX and you may be on a time machine. Charlie Brown can still not fly kites, or throw a ball, or spend a school day without an accident. Lucy is still dispensing her homespun psychiatric advice at a nickel each and telling Charlie what a blockhead he is. Linus is still Charlie’s best friend and Snoopy is still flying planes -- in his head, of course.
In this ordered if melancholy world of Charlie comes the Red-Haired Girl – his one big passion. She gives him the chance to start over and he wants her to know him as the person he can be rather than the one he is. The only problem is, he just can’t face her. He goes to her house, only to vanish the moment she opens the door. He prays that she will sit next to him on the bus and does a Houdini when she shows up.
His sense of low self-worth is perfectly illustrated in this dialogue, “I’m not ready for a relationship. What if I need a mortgage? I can’t afford an escrow … This could be the worst thing that ever happened to her!”
It is the universality of his experiences which keeps The Peanuts Movie rooted. We all feel like Charlie Brown at various stages of our life – mired by a sense of inadequacy, feeling that this task is beyond our ken. The film’s age-old message of never giving up is for everyone – for you and your kid. And as the film delivers it with some homespun humour and heart, everyone’s a winner.
Watch the trailer here
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