Saturday, 5 December 2015

CHARLIE BROWN AND SNOOPY: THE PEANUTS MOVIE REVIEW

L.J. SPENCE ACTUALLY REVIEWS A FILM

2. CHARLIE BROWN AND SNOOPY: THE PEANUTS MOVIE (2015, dir. Steve Martino)

Previews: 5-6th December; General Release: from 21st December

05/12/2015


This film could have been absolutely awful. 

I had seen the initial few pictures of how the Peanuts characters would be rendered in 3D, and was happy that they retain Charles M. Schulz's style, both from the original comic strip and the TV specials, while adding a sense of weight an texture to the original line drawings that made you think you were watching stop-motion animation using models, rather than something made entirely on a computer. 

The style helped me ground any fears before I reached the cinema, but what caused the greatest relief was the setting - no changes and, more importantly, no compromises have been made for the big screen. This film could have turned out like the recent Dr. Seuss adaptations - "The Grinch," "The Cat in the Hat," "Horton Hears a Who," and "The Lorax" - with their shoehorning of pop culture references, knowing adult humour and current slang into perfect, timeless stores, aging them horribly in the process. By remaining true to the familiar innocence and melancholy of the source material, "The Peanuts Movie" is also timeless.

It won't be hard for me to ruin any of the story, as it follows what everyone knows "Peanuts" to be. Charlie Brown tries to get the Little Red-Haired Girl to notice him, which involves overcoming his feelings of inadequacy. The moments of little victories, that include a talent show and a book report, are very endearing, and Charlie Brown's failures are handled very well too. That the film produces a big climax may be a bit surprising for some, but seeing this character get to succeed is rare enough as it is, and forgivable as a result.

The subplot is can also be put very simply - it is Snoopy versus the Red Baron, in a proper dogfight, and you never see the bottom of Snoopy's kennel once.

Everything else is as you would expect, and that is all you really need to say about this film, because everybody knows Peanuts. There is nothing to get wrong, so long as everything is in its proper place, and you respect what has already been proved to work. Put everything together, and you have a film that runs like clockwork as much as "Back to the Future" does. The feeling of warmth in a children's film is rare these days, and one that will bear repeated viewings is something else entriely.

I shouldn't be surprised by any of this. The film was the idea of Craig and Bryan Schulz, the son and grandson of Chuck, and they also co-wrote and produced the film. Regardless of this being a 20th Century Fox / Blue Sky film - the "Ice Age" short cartoon I was made to see beforehand is horribly out of place against the main feature - this is a Schulz family picture, and that control has made for a better film. Be thankful that the Schulz family also have final say if there will be a sequel, just as Blue Sky release the FIFTH "Ice Age" film next year...

If you need a rating, it is 9 out of 10 - I would suggest you do yourself a favour and watch it!




2 comments:

  1. Glad to hear they kept it true. Will definitely see it as soon as possible after reading your review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad to hear they kept it true. Will definitely see it as soon as possible after reading your review.

    ReplyDelete