‘Peanuts’ back after 65 years

Review of Charles Shultz’s comic come-to-life ‘The Peanuts Movie’

By Joe Matthews, Staff Writer

Charles Shultz’s “Peanuts” set the bar for comics in the paper, his “A Charlie Brown Christmas” became an instant TV classic and now, 65 years after the first strip appeared, Snoopy and the gang are back in a beautifully-done 3D animated feature.

“The Peanuts Movie” brought the perpetual underdog Charlie Brown and his many friends to life in the classic tale of the girl next door.

The story got underway when Charlie Brown and the crew spotted a new girl —The Little Red-Haired Girl— moving in across the street.

Smitten, Charlie Brown saw this as the perfect opportunity to turn his endless string of bad luck around. Wanting to make the best first impression possible, Charlie Brown followed the advice of the always judgmental Lucy and set out to become a winner.

Unfortunately for Charlie Brown, none of his attempts at becoming a winner pan out the way he would have liked. But with the help from his friend Linus and his loyal yet troublemaking dog Snoopy, he might be able to finally talk to The Little Red-Haired Girl.

Intertwining two narrative threads, we got the story of Charlie Brown trying to win affection, but we also got the pleasure of witnessing Snoopy’s imagined battle with the notorious Red Baron. Sitting atop his dog house, Snoopy envisioned himself as a pilot fighting to retrieve his captured love. Incredibly well done, the animation in the flying scenes is breathtaking as Snoopy flew to different parts of the world in his pursuit of the Red Baron.

The animation throughout is fantastic. Bringing layers of photo-realistic texture to both the characters and the scenery, while still carrying over the exaggerated cartoon nature of the original “Peanuts” comics, Blue Sky Studios made the transition from 2D to 3D appear seamless.

Focusing primarily on a small group of characters – Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy – the film was as relatable and likeable as ever.

Thankfully there was a generous amount of screen time devoted to the small role characters as well. There was the tomboyish Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown’s boisterous sister Sally and the bookworm Marcie. All getting enough time for their personalities to shine through, there wasn’t a weak link in the chain.

And of course, Woodstock cannot be forgotten. Snoopy’s faithful bird sidekick didn’t play a huge role in the movie, but he was always there. Giving his opinions in the original little beep noises, the presence of Woodstock only added to the classic cartoon feel.

As a whole, the movie was quite good. Older “Peanuts” fans will appreciate the inclusion of jokes from past strips and older movies, while new fans will enjoy the loveable characters and cute humor they bring to the table. “The Peanuts Movie” was able to give a new layer to the franchise that has touched many across generations and was a sweet return to the cinemas for Chuck and his friends.