Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Peanuts Movie

This is the part of the blog post where, when reviewing a G-rated/animated movie meant for the whole family, I say that I really wish I'd had a niece or two with me so that I could see how it plays to the audience that it's meant for. But, in this case...

Kind of surprised that I don't have a Marcy of any sort. Anyway, I think I can be considered part of the target audience for this one, although I'm sure kids will enjoy it as well.

The Peanuts Movie

* * * ½ (out of four)
Seen 7 November 2015 in AMC Boston Common #10 (first-run, DCP/RealD)

The first edition of the Peanuts comic strip appeared in late 1950, the last in early 2000, with creator Charles M. Schulz passing away at around the same time. While classic strips have continued to run in newspapers ever since, what's a newspaper to a kid born ...

Wait a minute, I just remembered that The Peanuts Movie actually has a "who reads newspapers?" joke. It's just done smoothly enough that, like the rest of the movie, it manages to come across as clever comedy for both kids and adults.

For those who don't know - I'm never certain how popular these characters are outside the United States and Canada - Peanuts is a comic strip following a group of kids in small-town America, with Charlie Brown, full of good intentions and sometimes well-earned self-doubt, at the center. His best friend Linus Van Pelt carries a security blanket around, and Linus's older sister Lucy is a loud-mouthed fussbudget seemingly intent on crushing Charlie Brown's self-esteem. He's got a younger sister himself, Sally, and a beagle, Snoopy, whose inner life is rich and full of fantasy. And now, a Little Red-Haired Girl has just moved in across the street, and Charlie Brown is smitten - but why would she even look at such a screw-up?

Meanwhile, in addition to helping his guy out, Snoopy and his little yellow bird friend Woodstock fantasize about being a World War I Flying Ace battling the Red Baron, and the filmmakers do something kind of neat with that: Though a staple of the strips practically from the time Schulz started portraying Snoopy as no ordinary dog, it's never had a proper origin, and while one isn't actually necessary, it's kind of a random thing for kids who don't know the characters. So the screenwriters (Schulz scions Bryan & Craig and Bryan's writing partner Cornelius Uliano) and director (Blue Sky Studio veteran Steve Martino) tie it into Charlie Brown's half of the story while also picking up on how Schulz created Snoopy's fantasy life as a way to show how dogs get by when their masters go off to school or work and leave them alone all day. There is a hint of loneliness and worry to it, just not an overwhelming one.

Full review at EFC.


Alexandra Smith said...

Thanks for your review Jason! Because of your review even Kent is gong to the movies with us today!!

Jason said...

A fine choice. Plus, with Snoopy fighting the Red Baron, it's arguably a fitting way to celebrate Armistice Day!

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