In this big screen take on the classic Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown faces his worst feelings about himself as he tries to work up the courage to talk to the new girl at school. Meanwhile, Snoopy finds a typewriter, and begins writing an adventure story that finds him facing his arch nemesis in the sky.
The very first Peanuts comic was published in 1950, and ran for 50 years in print, as well as being adapted into TV specials. The comic focused on the problems faced by the insecure Charlie Brown and his young friends, as well as the adventures of his dog Snoopy. This type of story is carried through into this new big screen adventure, which stays true to the feel and style of the original comics, while bringing Charlie Brown and co. to a whole new audience.
The story of Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is an incredibly simple one, but one with a lot of heart; Charlie Brown finds himself infatuated with the Little Red Haired Girl who is new to his school, and in working up the courage to talk to her he gets himself into some scrapes, learns to dance and, ultimately, learns some truths about himself that he didn’t expect. Snoopy has the adventure portion of the movie all sewn up as he goes off into his imagination chasing down the Red Baron and rescuing his true love Fifi. The story is in keeping with the struggles the characters went through in the comic, and feels true to the spirit of Peanuts.
Director Steve Martino treats the legacy of Charlie Brown and Peanuts with care; the film never tries to be too modern; there are no mobile phones or technology and the animation combines computer generated imagery with the feel of creator Charles Schultz’s original drawings and designs for the characters. This is where trouble arises for the film though; this is perfect for the adults in the audience who grew up with the Peanuts characters, and will appreciate the nostalgia and sweetness of the film, but it is difficult to imagine that with all the animated high energy adventure movies that kids have had in recent years that they will engage with the movie as well as the brightly coloured, high octane films they are used to.
In all, however, Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie is a film that stays true to the comic strips that inspired it, is beautifully animated and has a lovely message, it is just a little lower in energy than the films kids have been treated to in recent years so they may struggle to stay with it, but the grown up Peanuts fans in the audience will love it.