A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Steve Martino
Produced By: Paul Feig, Bryan Schulz, Michael J. Travers, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano
Written By: Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Where a film such as The Scouts Guide To he Zombie Apocalypse would make Lord Baden Powell roll in his grave, The Peanuts Movie is an example of how it is possible to modernise a product without drastically deviating from it’s fundamental core. A sweet, delightful and (most importantly) fun affair, The Peanuts Movie has achieved what many modernisations of inherited properties have tried and failed to do – please everybody.
Younger audiences seldom familiar with the adventures of Snoopy and Charlie Brown will be able to enter the marvellous animated world through a family-friendly, respectfully crafted picture that understands the original property, handling it as if there was never an exchange to begin with.
The truth of the matter is that the exchange in question is nonexistent. Co-writers and producers Craig Schulz and son Bryan helmed the majority of the project, based on the property created by their father/grandfather Charles M. Schulz nearly seventy years ago. Keeping it in the family is a good idea it would seem…
Revisiting Charlie Brown and his loyal best pal Snoopy in yet another homegrown tale, the film centres around Brown and his ongoing clumsiness that unintentionally ruins almost every situation he finds himself in.
Upset and lacking confidence as a result, Brown seeks guidance and assistance to help overcome his string of tactlessness, cowardliness and bad luck. Everything gets turned on its head after a pretty new red haired girl joins his class, which sets Charlie off on a journey of discovery, growth and overall change, all with the intention of impressing his new crush.
The look of The Peanuts Movie is refreshingly updated, yet maintains the distinctively endearing unpolished appearance of Charles Schulz’s original style. With depth and dimension to the animations, the antics of the kooky kids is somewhat boosted; however it’s most satisfying to see the flattened profiles of yesteryear whenever the characters face one another and the exaggerated expressions to match. Again, the designers and animators have achieved the perfect stylistic balance, which was the biggest concern to many leading up to the film.
Not only do the characters look and interact like they always have, as soon as the theme music begins to play, you know you’re in a good and trustworthy place. There is an enormous focus on nostalgia thrown into the film through style, narrative, dialogue and music, but it’s fantastic to come out of the film feeling revitalised and refreshed all the same.
With the omission of the Snoopy’s pilot sub-plot, this could have been one of the year’s biggest successes. It feels as if it was shoehorned in to mirror Charlie Brown’s narrative whilst trying to push the runtime to the conventional ninety minutes. With more side cuts to Snoopy either part taking in some slapstick antics with his old pal Woodstock or even adding more to the ark of Brown, the overall story could have been more investible and less jarringly separated.
The Peanuts Movie is one that could have inherited a property and tarnished everything it stood for, everything it represented and everything that made it so close to people’s hearts of all ages, but it didn’t.
A faithful, low-key tale that everybody can enjoy with a grin from ear to ear, it’s one of the best animated features of the year. If there were to be more, there would be absolutely no hesitation, only kiddish, gleeful anticipation!