Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
Old-fashioned and adorable animation based on Charles M Schulz’s creation
The beloved Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M Schulz has led to a number of spin-offs over the last 65 years, including four feature films, and can also be seen as a precursor of more knowing cultural icons like The Simpsons and Family Guy. Blue Sky Studios, creators of the popular Ice Age franchise, have used kid-gloves to carefully transpose the gentle, genial and unashamedly folksy humour of the original strip into this reverential, crowd-pleasing animation.
Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) is an anxious young boy, seeking and failing to get the approbation of his peers in school. When a cute red-haired girl moves in next-door, Charlie decides to make an effort to impress her. Whether hoping to dazzle her with his magic act in the school show, wow her with his dance moves, or even read War and Peace for a book report, Charlie’s endearing efforts seem to consistently miss their mark, but his inspirational dog Snoopy valiantly shows him the way to win her heart.
Even for a children’s animation, Steve Martino’s film is unusually sweet; threading together short vignettes in the style of the original comic strip, the film keeps the scale small and the stakes personal. Characters like Lucy, Linus and Peppermint Patty all get tiny but important bits of business, but the real star is Snoopy. In a series of aerial dogfights that exist only in his head, Snoopy’s wordless antics as he pursues his Red Baron nemesis provide an expansive counter-narrative to Charlie’s mundane problems, and allow for some exhilarating set-piece animation.
Nostalgic adults and wide-eyed kids are well-served by Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie. As simple and well-meaning as Charlie himself, it’s an old-fashioned delight.
General release from Mon 21 Dec.