Same Peanuts Fun, Different Peanuts Art Style


It’s a shame to see what passes as cartoons these days. Much of the cartoons are low budget attempts to tell a story, while choking audience members with incredibly stupid, over the top, antics that continue to numb the mind. However, despite the acceptance of this new “standard” of cartoons it is always nice to see a diamond (usually a classic) emerge from the rough. This weekend Charlie Brown and the gang come to the big screen to bring us the Peanuts movie, which hopefully will inspire future studios in their production quality. What is in store? Read on to find out.

If you’re like me, Charles Schultz’s comics always brought a simplistic, sense of fun as Charlie Brown questioned his place in life. The Peanuts movie has pieced together all of your favorite moments into one continuous, albeit simplistic, story that brings both fun and nostalgia to the theater.  I couldn’t help but smile watching our crew skate across the ice, or watch Charlie attempt to conquer his fears of speaking to the little red haired girl. Even better was how they integrated Snoopy into the movie to follow in tandem to his owner’s adventure, and adding a little excitement to the mix (the flying ace anyone). Whatever tale you enjoy more, know that you and your kids will get moral filled lesson in one form or another that has that same Schulz feeling. While it was disappointing to see some of these scenes dialed down, like deleting Snoopy’s ability to fire at the imaginary red baron, the fun remains for both kid and adult alike.

Comedy wise, Schulz’s humor still remains untouched by time. The young and young at heart will love watching Snoopy tease the children, high-pitched laughing and squealing usually getting an extra set of laughs. I myself enjoyed the well-timed responses to the jokes, especially with the voice actors delivery mirroring the emotion of our gang. And yes my friends, the classic crazy dancing that was made famous in the Christmas episode is there, and just as ridiculous as ever. I will admit I would have loved some original jokes and some more wit added to the movie to spice things up, but that would rob Peanuts of its charm established so long ago.

My favorite part of this movie though was the art style. The Peanuts movie portrays our cast in a style that looks as if computer and comics were blended into one. Animation wise it is fluid, our characters jumping, soaring, flying, and dancing in a manner more impressive than the classic films did. In addition the colors are incredible, popping out at you and bringing energy to the scenes at hand. Clearly much of the art was designed for a 3-D showing, which I did not see, but Steve Martino and his crew gave me a spectacle that was aesthetically pleasing. Plus, seeing some of the classic sketches being intermingled in thought bubbles was a nice touch that blended the old with the new.

As for the voice acting, our cast of characters didn’t do a bad job of portraying a group. Assembling a cast of kids to voice kids was a step in the right direction, and I felt the casting department did a great job finding mimics to the original characters. In addition, they sold me to the character’s struggles, capturing the emotion of hurt, happy, obnoxious, and so much more with each line they spouted out. While it certainly doesn’t win any Oscars for voice acting quality, this cast of kids are sure to take the screen by storm if they continue this quality of acting.

The Peanuts movie is not the best movie in the world, and certainly doesn’t win points for originality. However, it gave me everything I expected while bringing back the fun I had with Charlie Brown and the gang so long ago. With a new art style, snippets of my favorite moments, and the cute, adorable charm of the original, the Peanuts movie goes a long way for providing entertainment. I certainly recommend this one for a theater visit, especially those looking for simplistic fun at the movies. Whether you should see it in 3-D or not, I leave to another reviewer, as I avoid 3-D if possible. However, I do hope you will take the time to see this movie and once again witness cartoons at its finest (I’m talking to you television cartoon makers).

My scores for the Peanuts movies are:

Animation/Adventure/comedy: 8.5

Movie Overall: 8.0