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The Peanuts Movie Cracks the Shell of Classic Characters

Ben Atwater

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Charles Schulz’ Peanuts characters are some of the most beloved characters ever created. Starting out as a one-line comic strip in 1950, Peanuts has brought to life many characters that have stood the test of time, most famously, the depressed and self-analytical Charlie Brown. Along with his dog Snoopy, the Peanuts gang also includes Lucy, Sally, Linus, Woodstock, Schroeder, and many others. Since the original comic strips, the franchise has gained particular notoriety for A Charlie Brown Christmas, a half hour TV special from 1965 that has played every December since. Also helping Peanuts gain notoriety was You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.

A still from The Peanuts Movie, featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown (AP photo)

A still from The Peanuts Movie, featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown (AP photo)

That has always been the magic of Peanuts though. Set in a world where adults are merely unintelligible voices offscreen, the pure character traits of these kids come out while still maintaining a sophisticated outlook due to the writing. It is as though the kids are actually adults in a kid’s body. This is why Peanuts is so near and dear to so many people’s hearts: everyone can relate to one character or another. Whether it is egocentric Lucy, philosophical Linus, easy going Schroder, or rambunctious Peppermint Patty, everyone can find subtle traits brought out very clearly by these characters and relate to them in some form. These core personality traits do not change, so Peanuts is truly one of most timeless properties around. So it is no surprise that in 2015, they have been given the silver screen CGI treatment with The Peanuts Movie.

The Peanuts Movie tracks Charlie Brown and his crew throughout an entire school year, from start to finish. The overarching theme is that Charlie Brown constantly falls in all of his acts, most notably in his efforts to impress the Little Red Headed girl, his crush from the comics who is never identified by name.    Throughout all of Charlie Brown’s adventures, his gang of peers is with him the whole way, for better or worse.

The Peanuts Movie captures the exact essence of the characters from the comics and TV specials. The writing is such that it would seem as if it was written in the 1960s with the lingo used by the kids, which was most certainly intentional and contributes to the film’s sense of self. The classic score is also in place.
   
The Peanuts Movie truly is a loving homage to the characters with whom everyone grew up with. Without reinventing the Peanuts gang, they are reinvigorated through excellent 3D animation that still retains the style and feel of the 1960s animation style. This keeps the film sleek enough for modern audiences without becoming too modern to become unrecognizable or distant.

As well as this new adaptation treats the characters, The Peanuts Movie is still a kid’s film. The Peanuts Movie, while it is a very enjoyable and nostalgic experience, does not delve much beyond the surface here. So, check it out if you are in for a nostalgic ride, yet do not expect a great film with excellent pacing. If you are not a fan of the Peanuts gang already, this is not likely to win you over. But if you are, check it out.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
The Peanuts Movie Cracks the Shell of Classic Characters