Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Movie Review: The Peanuts Movie

Title: The Peanuts Movie
Author: Twentieth Century Fox, Blue Sky Studios
Release Date: 2015
Genre: animation, comedy, romance, friendship, adventure, animals
My Rating: ****
Official Rating: G (all ages)
Age Group: family movie night!

Charlie Brown is a failure. I mean, seriously, we all know him because he's always messing things up and we can, unfortunately relate to that all too well.
But when a new kid moves into two, Charlie's excited to have the chance to start over. He doesn't have a reputation with this new kid, and he's looking forward to that opportunity. He has high hopes.
Then he discovers that the new kid is a girl, and the stakes rise considerably.
So when Charlie suddenly becomes a hero, what does that do to our good old Charlie Brown?

Word of Warning
 These are going to be extremely nit-picky, because this film was incredibly clean.
  • Comic scenes of violence and failure. No actual injuries are incurred. (think cartoon mishaps used for laughter)
  • Characters gloat and are sometimes rude to one another. Flirting, insults...think Lucy.
  • Charlie desperately wants someone who will just love him for who he is and not judge or give advice. That isn't really a good friendship though, and his best friendship (with Snoopy) involves all sorts of advice and judgement.
  • The age old Peppermint Paddy being called "sir" takes on a new connotation in our day. The movie doesn't give any reason for the viewer to think this, but we bring social connotations to every text we consume.
  • Snoopy has a few battle scenes with the Red Baron.
  • Charlie "stalks" the Little Red Haired Girl. This is supposed to be sweet, but it's really a little weird.
  • Charlie faces the "I'm nothing" and "she's something" conflict and believes it.
  • Words: rats, good grief, stupid, blockhead
  • Someone remarks "it was written in the cards" when names are drawn for a final assignment.
  • In Snoopy's stories, a female dog is kidnapped and held prisoner (this isn't very dramatic).
  • Adults are not visible and barely participate. This is classic Peanuts, but still odd.
  • Snoopy shouts, "Curse you, Red Baron!"

My Thoughts
I had a huge grin on my face the whole movie. Except when I was sad for Charlie Brown. Or when I was laughing.
I had been expecting, with dread, the modern film industry to ruin this classic by making it modern. It didn't. This was Peanuts like it has always been. A little more hopeful, but still Peanuts.
Snoopy made a great best friend, one everyone wants to have. Charlie Brown did the right thing, which lead every one to think poorly of him--twice. Once, out of integrity. Once, for his sister. Charlie Brown, when he is at his lowest point, finds himself by helping another (interesting theological points could be made about that).

There isn't much to say about the movie. It was simple. It was the Peanuts. It was good. It was family friendly.
So go ahead. Borrow or rent it and enjoy a family movie night without worry about bad words or veiled inappropriate references. For the first time in a very long time, you can watch something made by mainstream movie producers after the year 2000 without holding that remote at ready.

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