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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (aka The Peanuts Movie) movie review: good grief

Snoopy and Charlie Brown The Peanuts Movie yellow light

Of all the potential Charlie Brown movies Hollywood might have made, this might be the Charlie Brown-iest. That’s not necessarily a good thing.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have read the source material (and I like it)

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Of all the potential Charlie Brown movies Hollywood might have made, this might be the Charlie Brown-iest. That’s not necessarily the best outcome in this situation. This may be the movie that Charlie Brown himself might have written, for himself as a hero… or at least as much as hero as Charlie Brown could be. (The Peanuts Movie was scripted in part by Charles Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz and grandson, Bryan Schulz.) Except Charlie Brown isn’t meant to be a hero, and he’s not meant to get any satisfaction. His eternal ache for resolution, for happiness, for an end to his existential grind — the very thing that made him so recognizable and appealing — is fundamentally at odds with the needs of a Hollywood movie. And yet here we have a sort of Peanuts Greatest Hits, at least for the tropes that circle around Charlie Brown: his ineptitude at baseball, the kite-eating tree, his turning to Lucy for psychiatric advice. (A major subplot sees Snoopy zooming off into the skies as the famous WWI flying ace to battle the notorious Red Baron.) In fact, the only major Charlie Brown-ism that’s missing is the bit with Lucy and the football; Lucy (the voice of Hadley Belle Miller) has been downplayed as an antagonist for Charlie Brown (the voice of Noah Schnapp: Bridge of Spies). In her place is the Little Red-Haired Girl, unattainable eight-year-old woman of Charlie Brown’s dreams who actually appears onscreen (voiced, for she does eventually speak, by Francesca Capaldi) — this is a shock; we never saw her in the newspaper strip — and serves as a prompt for Charlie Brown to better himself. Which he does. Except the whole point of Charlie Brown is that he didn’t need to better himself: he was already pretty much okay; it was the rest of the world that was failing to live up to his very reasonable expectations. Oh, the animation, led by director Steve Martino (Ice Age: Continental Drift), is a perfectly acceptable CGI adaptation of what we saw in the Sunday funnies. But the philosophy of The Peanuts Movie is not.


See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (aka The Peanuts Movie) for its representation of girls and women.


yellow light 2.5 stars

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Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (aka The Peanuts Movie) (2015)
US/Can release: Nov 06 2015
UK/Ire release: Dec 21 2015

MPAA: rated G
BBFC: rated U (no material likely to offend or harm)

viewed in 3D
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • Bluejay

    In fact, the only major Charlie Brown-ism that’s missing is the bit with Lucy and the football

    Wait, what? There was a whole NY Times article devoted to breaking down that scene. It didn’t make it into the film?

  • Bluejay

    *googling* Looks like it was part of the end credits.

  • FSugino

    The Charlie Brown kicking the football w/Lucy was one of the two scenes shown during/after the credits. The other one involved the Red Baron plane.

  • I did not sit through the credits. But this scene isn’t part of the story, and it doesn’t make Lucy an antagonist in the plot.

  • I did not sit through the credits.

  • Danielm80

    The thing that really bothers me about the movie—based on the trailers, at least—is that the kids don’t dance like Peanuts characters. On the TV shows they did dances that exist only on Peanuts specials. They’d throw their heads back, open their mouths wide, and move from side to side. Or they’d hunch up their shoulders and lurch forward like a monster in a movie. In The Peanuts Movie, as far as I can tell, they just dance like regular kids. And, even worse, at one point Charlie Brown does the Chicken Dance. Doesn’t anyone care about tradition?

  • They definitely do not dance like they should.

  • Mickey Logan

    I just can’t get past this style of animation. It’s just wrong.

  • Joe Paulson

    burns ya once in a while

  • I don’t consider myself “burned.”

  • Joe Paulson

    Some people care more about some of the credits references so ymmv … now and then, something fairly notable happens in credits. Again, even there, ymmv.

  • Nitrobuz Ae

    Are you kidding? The animation is gorgeous!

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