DVD Review - The Peanuts Movie

The 3D animation from Blue Sky Studios based on the comic strip by Charles Schulz is absolutely beautiful. It's gorgeously rendered, eye-popping and a sight to behold. The visuals aren't the problem and neither is the direction by Steve Martino. The problem is the screenplay by Cornelius Uliano, as well as Craig Schulz who is Charles Schulz's son and Bryan Schulz who is Charles Schulz's grandson. The screenplay doesn't embrace the intricacies and layers that a Pixar film would. It's a very bare-bones story with just numerous callbacks to the comics or original cartoon. It's mainly nostalgia, a tribute of sorts, not a compelling narrative.

As such, it's not particularly funny. Noah Schnapp voices Charlie Brown, a little boy with a sister named Sally and a whole bunch of schoolmates. Charlie Brown constantly has bad luck. Things typically go wrong for him. He gets a new, next-door neighbor who is revealed to be a beautiful, same-age student who is referred to as the Little Red-Haired Girl. Charlie Brown becomes smitten with her. He's love-sick and shy, and the whole movie is essentially Charlie Brown trying to work up the nerve to talk to her.

Interspersed with Charlie Brown's stumbling, his faithful dog named Snoopy imagines a fantasy where the dog is a World War I, fighter pilot dueling against the infamous Red Baron, which little children won't know is a reference to Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace-of-aces. This is the most adult the movie ever gets. Ironically, it ends up being the best part of this animated film.

The sequences involving the dog using his red doghouse as a fighter plane are the most exciting things of this film. Everything else, including everything involving Charlie Brown, is practically boring. It's not as if the Charlie Brown stuff didn't have potential, but unfortunately the writers don't do much with the myriad of ideas they concoct or perhaps pull from the comics.

Charlie Brown flies a kite. He tries pitching a baseball. He becomes a magician. He tries to write a book report. All of these things are basically singular scenes. They're things that the writers don't really develop further. It's as if they took a bunch of newspaper strips and strung them together without much cohesion. Each idea is raised and then dismissed. Nothing goes far or far enough. It's as if Charlie Brown has ADHD.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated G for all audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 28 mins.


Popular Posts