Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved "Peanuts" gang make their big-screen debut, like they've never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Charlie Brown, the world's most beloved underdog, embarks upon an epic and heroic quest, while his best pal, the lovable beagle Snoopy, takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis, the Red Baron. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.

The Review
Charlie Brown and Snoopy have been around for as long as I can remember. The Peanuts American comic strip was written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, and ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000. It has continued as reruns since then. This is the first Peanuts film since the death of creator Charles M. Schulz in 2000 and in fact it is the first theatrical Peanuts movie in 35 years. So you could say that the world has been waiting for this little semi bald big headed kid to return to the big screen with his loveable little scoundrel dog. This movie is being released 50 years after "A Charlie Brown Christmas", the first Peanuts animated short, as well as being released 65 years after the first Peanuts comic strip. Oh and I should point out that Charles Schulz said that Charlie Brown is in fact not bald. He has blonde hair, but it is so transparent, you can't see it.

I think that I can honestly say that I loved this film. It had beautiful sweeping animation that paid wonderful respect to the original hand drawn style of the comic strip series from which this has come. In fact, there are lots of little nods to the past. Various steps were taken with the animation to emulate the original look and feel of the comics and the previous animated specials. For example, the trees and other foliage in the background are static and never billow or sway in the wind. Even on the characters, their animation appears "jagged" and skippy. This was done to emulate the low quality hand drawn animation that the Peanuts television specials were known for.

For the most part the story is exactly what you would expect and fits well within the whole concept of a Charlie Brown tale. He is the unlikely champion the underdog whose actual dog is more of the leading man than him. This is a film about acceptance and just being you.

Somethings to look out for when watching the film is that the name of the Little Red Haired Girl is seen on the list of student's rankings on the standardized test. She is #4 on the list and her name is indicated as 'Heather Wold'. The name 'Heather' was first attached to her in the special "It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown" in 1977.

Plus, during the sequence where Snoopy (as the World War I Flying Ace) is struggling to return to his airfield, he is briefly shown sporting a wiry mustache as he is crawling through the desert. This is a reference to Snoopy's brother Spike, who was named after Charles Schultz's childhood dog and appeared infrequently in the comics. Spike wore the same mustache and lived in the desert country near Needles, California.

The Verdict
A wonderful family film to head out to and enjoy.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 1st January 2016
Rating: G
Duration: 93 minutes 
Genre:  Animation
Starring: Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, AJ Tecce, Noah Johnston, Venus Schultheis, Alexander Garfin
Director: Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who)

The Extras
Snoopy's noises and Woodstock's chirpings are recycled from old Bill Melendez recordings.

On the sheet that shows all the standard test scores, it reveals the Little Red-Haired Girl's name to be Donna Wold, which was the name of the real-life inspiration for the character.