The Peanuts Movie (5/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 86 minutes.
OK for children.
I am close to being one
of the original fans of Peanuts, starting in the Ď50s. I have the
booklets of strips that were published then. I still start each day
reading that dayís strip. And I still love them.
I liked the TV shows,
too, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Itís the Great Pumpkin,
Charlie Brown (1966), A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969), and
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973). They were faithful to the
strip in that the animation and voices captured its unique spirit. Those
cartoons were written by Charles Schulz and directed by Bill Melendez.
My feeling is that a big reason why they are great (and they are great)
was the amazing music of Vince Guaraldi. It was absolutely perfect,
capturing the ambience of the 6-year old characters who act and speak
Unfortunately, this new
try doesnít have Charles Schulz to write the script and it doesnít have
Bill Melendez to direct and, maybe the biggest loss of all, it doesnít
have Vince Guaraldi to write the music. As a result, it pretty much
fails on all levels.
The genius of Charles
Schulz was that he was not only a great writer, he dealt with lots of
philosophical problems in almost every strip. In four panels each day
his six year olds dealt with many of the issues everyone faces in life
and they did it in a totally humorous way.
Thatís where this movie
fails. It doesnít have the philosophical whimsy that was part and parcel
of Schulzís strip. The movie valiantly tries to bring in all facets of
the characters of the strip, even Snoopy fighting The Red Baron. But
there was only one Charles Schulz. Because heís no longer here and not a
part of the movie, the movie misfires. I started looking at my watch ten
minutes in and the second hand seemed to crawl by for the next 76
Even the animation and 3D
are detractions. Because of the newer type of animation, all of the
heads of the characters just look like blown up balloons, especially
Schulz was smart in that
he did not allow anybody else to take over the strip when he was no
longer able to do write it. This movie is a perfect illustration of the
wisdom of that decision.