In reading this review, understand what I mean when I say “We are a Peanuts family.” That means every Halloween and Christmas we have watched the Peanuts holiday specials. And I mean every. That means the first comic strips I ever read were Peanuts. That means I learned how to spell “beagle” (or how not to spell it) from A Boy Named Charlie Brown. That means the first real crush I had as a little girl mirrored Lucy and Schroeder. That means my brother used to call me Lucy because I had such a big mouth. That means my parents already refer to my long-future husband as Charlie Brown, because Charlie loved The Little Red-Haired Girl. That means we tend to take Peanuts pretty personally. Peanuts isn’t just a funny show anymore, or funny comics. Peanuts is a family tradition.
In context, may be you can understand why I went into The Peanuts Movie with no expectations, and even a little bit of fear. Every time Hollywood takes a story I enjoyed in its original form and makes it for “the big screen” I end up sorely disappointed. I assumed the same thing would happen to Peanuts. I assumed they’d add garbage, change the characters I loved, and leave out signature moments, among other crimes. I assumed completely wrong. The Peanuts Movie was classic Peanuts. Everything that needed to be there to make the crazy fans like me happy was there.
Here’s a synopsis stolen from Google: Life always seems complicated for good ol' Charlie Brown, the boy who always tries his best against seemingly impossible odds. When the Little Red-Haired Girl moves into his neighborhood, Charlie Brown develops a crush on her. Meanwhile, his best friend Snoopy embarks on an epic adventure in a fantasy world. As a World War I flying ace, the lovable beagle pursues his nemesis, the Red Baron, while also trying to win the heart of a beautiful poodle named Fifi.
The entire film revolves around Charlie trying to do one thing well, one thing right to break his chronic streak of bad luck, so that when he finally meets the Little Red-Haired Girl, he doesn’t have to be ashamed of who he is: That Blockhead Charlie Brown. And if you know Peanuts, you know things never work out the way Charlie wants them to. This film is no different. Mishap after mishap ensues, until he basically gives up. But right as I was about to throw my hands up in disgust and frustration, (spoiler alert) there was the perfect happy ending.
As far as classic moments, everything is there that you could possibly ask for. From the Flying Ace to the kite-eating tree to “It was a dark and stormy night,” it was riddled with inside jokes and scenes straight out of the comics and original specials.
While I’m not a parent, and parents would have to evaluate it for their own families I can honestly say I saw nothing objectionable in this film, not even the simple crude humor you seem to find in every. single. movie. Charlie’s crush is a sweet and simple schoolyard crush, not serious and adult in anyway. There was a very positive and obvious message about truth-telling even when it’s hard and a little lie would get you what you want. And while this was one movie I didn’t feel like I had to look for a hidden message in, if there was one it was that the people who really matter will see you for who you really are, even past accidents and mishaps, and that the best policy is to just live your own life honestly.
In short, five stars. I highly recommend.
As a little sidenote, for Peanuts fun off the screen, I ran across a website called Peanutizeme. It is exactly what it sounds like - a website where you can create a Peanuts "you." It ran a little slow on my computer, but the results were totally worth it. Peanuts fans young and old definitely need to check it out.
Have you seen it yet? Waiting for it to come out on DVD or streaming first? Are you a Peanuts fan?