When dealing with such treasured, precious territory such as the Peanuts franchise, a comic strip and subsequent television show which helped inform, and craft our childhood – we have a vested interest and passion for the project already established. So the one thing you need, and you can’t really ask for much more than this – is to remain faithful to the tone and spirit of the original Schulz creations. Thankfully for Steve Martino, director of The Peanuts Movie – this endeavour revels in just that.
While Snoopy is embarking on dangerous missions in the sky, his owner and best friend Charlie Brown is having to overcome a few issues of his own a little closer to home. For Charlie has a new crush, as the earnest underdog falls for his new classmate, otherwise known as ‘The Little Red-Haired Girl’. Though without the confidence to actually speak to her, Charlie decides he must grab her attention another way, and sets about to make a lasting impression. Problem is, knowing his luck, it’s not always guaranteed to be a particularly good one.
It’s the character of Charlie Brown that makes this such a special movie. The perennial underdog’s blissful optimism and contagious sense of hope that he carries around with him at all times makes for such an endearing lead, and one you can completely invest in emotionally. It’s his respective narrative which represents the more enjoyable elements to this movie too, as while appreciating the need to be appropriately cinematic and enlarge this to make for a more immersive, big-screen experience – at the same time, Snoopy’s action sequences are contrived and superfluous. They provide the moments when you switch off a little, becoming so embroiled in Charlie’s romantic woes that they’re merely a frustrating deviation away from that.
But the film doesn’t ever lose its charm, as a congenial piece that truly will warm the cockles of your heart this Christmas – despite the fact the film isn’t even festive. While the more traditionalist, hand-drawn animation would be preferred in this instance, the spirit of the picture ensures that the use of 3D computer animation isn’t at all detrimental to our enjoyment, as you’re far too caught up in the story to truly care. Oh and in case you were wondering, he doesn’t kick the football.