Directed By: Steve Martino
I was really excited for Peanuts. I love the TV specials. My favorite is the one where Snoopy travels back to see his previous owner, who is sick. I know that’s not conventional. I should like the Christmas special, or the Great Pumpkin, but that’s my favorite. Seeing Peanuts getting new life on the big screen will always have a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite feel cinematic. It’s a really nice film for the whole family, which is unusual nowadays. Animated films seem more and more aimed at pleasing adult audiences, but this one really aims at being family friendly. It is rated G, and deserves it. This is the first animated film I’ve seen this year that kids of all ages will love, even the really little ones. There aren’t high concepts here, just kids being kids.
For kids and parents who love Snoopy and Charlie Brown, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Peanuts regardless of the “feel” of the film. it reminded me of the Winnie The Pooh movie a few years back, which was cute, but not quite a “film”. Peanuts feels like another TV special, just a bit longer. In many ways, this could double as another Valentine’s special, as Charlie Brown spends most of the film in love. For parents looking for “wholesome”, the film sends a strong message of doing the right thing, and good things will come to you. Charlie Brown always does the right thing, even if doing so makes him look like a buffoon.
But, I can’t help but feel it could have been better. It could have been more epic. It also could have done a really good job of featuring the supporting cast more. Most of the characters just come and go, with no purpose except to orbit Charlie Brown. Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and the gang do not have their own arcs in this movie. Just Charlie, and secondarily Snoopy. If you are a fan of the others, you’ll be disappointed.
But, sometimes as critics, we have to evaluate what the movie is intended for, and I think kids will love it. I don’t think this film is aimed at adults at all, but adults who are longtime fans of the franchise won’t be entirely bored. So, for what it’s worth, I think it’s a great film for kids.
FINAL GRADE: B