The Peanuts Movie Review: The big screen adaptation plays it safe but captures the spirit of Charles M. Schulz.
After 65 long years, the Peanuts gang has finally made their way to the big screen. With how many pointless sequels and adaptations of television shows and videos games, it truly blows my mind that something like Peanuts took this long to get a feature length film. Sadly, Charles M. Schulz passed away in 2000 so he didn’t really have a say about the Peanuts Movie, but I truly believe this big screen adaptation is something of which Schulz would have been proud.
The film’s plot is divided into two separate storylines that somewhat intertwine with one another. The main storyline involves Charlie Brown wanting to impress the new girl at school. Most of the film follows Charlie as he keeps trying to impress this girl, whether its by performing in the talent show or showing off his sweet dance moves that Snoopy showed him. The other storyline involves Snoopy writing his own love story where he must save the woman he loves from a pilot known as the Red Baron. This storyline works pretty much hand in hand with the Charlie Brown one.
Hardcore Peanuts fans should know that this big screen adaptation of these beloved characters captures the heart and soul of everything that they have always loved about them. The film itself is so incredibly innocent and really plays homage to everything that Schulz has created. This might actually be one of the most innocent films ever made. It is a film that you can watch with a 2 year or a 90 year old woman and both would be able to appreciate it for its universal themes and innocence.
All the signature things that fans love about the Peanuts specials can be found in the film. Charlie Brown is still the same kid with low self esteem and bad luck. Lucy is still giving advice. Pig Pen is still dirty. The classic theme song plays a few times throughout the film itself and Snoopy sports his Joe Cool shirt at one point in the film. It pretty much showcases every signature Peanuts moment from the past 65 years.
However, if I had to say anything negative about the Peanuts Movie is that it plays it too safe. Almost everything about this film feels like it was inspired or pulled directly from one of the 60 plus television specials that have aired from 1965 to today. The characters are all the same and the storylines seem a bit too familiar. I think fans won’t mind this because its probably one of the most loyal adaptations of a comic strip to the big screen but just don’t expect anything really different about this film.
The only real update to these characters is the animation which I will admit looks great. I must applaud Blue Sky for incorporating some hand drawn animation into the film as a throwback to the original comic strip and television specials. Its nice to know that they wanted to showcase some of Schulz’s original drawings in the film since he wasn’t able to be part of the filmmaking process. The only other noticeable difference is the song, “Better When I’m Dancing” by Meghan Trainor. These are the only two things about the film that didn’t feel like something from the 1960s or 1970s.
All in all, The Peanuts Movie is wholesome family entertainment that you just don’t see anymore. This big screen adaptation is a rehash of everything that Peanut fans have grown to love. Unfortunately, the film never moves past that so it won’t become a timeless classic like the television specials are still today. It does, however, takes universal themes like “believing in yourself” and “being who you are” from the 1950s and showcases how they are still relatable to kids today. This is a rare film that is made primarily for the fans but will still delight a new generation that may or may not know of these characters.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Peanuts Movie is a 8 out of 10.