The Peanuts Movie (2015)

The Peanuts Movie
Director: Steve Martino
Writer: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano
Based on: Charles M. Schulzcomic strip
Cast: Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Rebecca Bloom, Anastasia Bredikhina, Francesca Capaldi, Alexander Garfin, Noah Johnston, Venus Schultheis, Mariel Sheets, Madisyn Shipman, A.J. Tecce, Marleik Mar Mar Walker, William Wunsch, Kristin Chenoweth
Seen on: 28.12.2015

Plot:
Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp) is clumsy and doesn’t seem to ever get things right. When The Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi) moves to his neighborhood, he falls in love and fears that he won’t make a good impression. Lucy (Hadley Belle Miller) tells him that he should just be a winner. So Charlie sets himself new challenges, although they don’t exactly go very well for him. Meanwhile his dog Snoopy has found a typewriter and has started to write a novel featuring himself and the daring pilot Fifi (Kristin Chenoweth).

I was never what you’d consider a Peanuts expert, though I did always have a soft spot for Woodstock and Snoopy and have read quite a few comic strips about them. That being said, I believe that The Peanuts Movie is pretty faithful to the old Peanuts stuff. Sometimes maybe a little too much so.

thepeanutsmovie

There were a few things that bothered me about The Peanuts Movie. One of them was that The Little Red-Haired Girl never got a name. [I thought that they simply stuck to the canon with that, but wikipedia informs me that her name is actually Heather.] Additionally we barely get to see her face until the very end. Both of those things work to create basically a playground version of the feminine mystique, the unfathomable woman men have to strive to be good enough for and if they are lucky, she will descend from her mysterious but heavenly heights and bless the men with her love. A story line that is only reinforced by the parallel story of Snoopy and Fifi that follows a very similar dynamic, only that we also get a little damsel in distress thrown into the mix. Bleargh.

A little update on the gender dynamics certainly wouldn’t have hurt the story, neither would have including more than one token character of color. But at least we have Peppermint Patty (Venus Schultheis) and Marcie (Rebecca Bloom) who are so clearly a long-time couple in this version that it’s basically text. And no-one can convince me otherwise.

thepeanutsmovie1Nevertheless, The Peanuts Movie is nice enough. The animation style is very well done, staying true to the comic strip despite the fact that it’s computer animated and 3D, nicely mixing detailed (computer) realism with the simplified comic strip expressions. The cast does equally well – working with so many kids and only having them voice act must have been quite a challenge, but it went over very well.

It’s an enjoyable film that made me laugh and entertained me, although it isn’t built to make an adult fall in laugh with the Peanuts. If you already love them (or you’re a kid), I think you’ll be perfectly satisfied with it. But I would have needed a little more to really get into the entire franchise.

thepeanutsmovie2Summarizing: Sweet.

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