Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Peanuts Movie [2015]

MPAA (G)  CNS/USCCB (A-I)  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars)  RogerEbert.com (2 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
ChicagoTribune (K. Walsh) review
RogerEbert.com (C. Lemier) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review  

The Peanuts Movie [2015] (directed by Steve Martino, screenplay by Bryan Schultz, Craig Schultz and Cornelius Uliano based on the comic strip by Charles M. Schultz [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) a lovely and gentle kids movie built around the characters and the story lines that we, America's adults (and possibly/probably beyond), ourselves grew-up with.  In the current film (made to suit 3D viewing), the characters look "rounder" and "cleaner" even in the 2D version than in the C.B. animations of the previous generation (which is, of course, somewhat amusing when one thinks of the character "Pig Pen" ;-).  One also smiles with (mild) insight / recognition when one realizes that the lovable-if-goofy gibberish-speaking "yellow colored minions" of this generation's children's movies were at least in part inspired by ... Woodstock [wikip] [IMDb] and his friends ;-).

That said, while this film is _utterly_ safe and could certainly serve as a wonderful "first film" for the youngest of child viewers, adults might find it, well ... "a little bit boring" and even anachronistic:

Though certainly still relateable to children today, the TELEPHONES STILL HAVE CORDS, Linus (voiced by Alexander Garfin) still types ON A TYPEWRITER, Schroeder's (voiced by Noah Johnson) "idol" STILL IS BEETHOVEN and he STILL BANGS ON A TOY (non-electric) PIANO, Lucy (voiced by Hadley Belle Miller) STILL CHARGES "5 CENTS" FOR HER "PSYCHIATRIC ADVICE,"  Charlie Brown (voiced by Bill Melendez) STILL TRIES TO FLY A KITE (rather than perhaps a drone...), the kids "SHARE NOTES" (rather than text ...) and still SPEND THEIR "OFF" (non-school) HOURS OUTSIDE in a LOVELY ALMOST _PASTORAL_ SETTING SKATING / PLAYING ICE HOCKEY (rather than perhaps "zip-lining", taking martial arts classes or playing any number of dungeons-n-dragons / world-of-warcraft / clash-of-clans or even 'candy crush' / 'angry birds' video games), and perhaps most disappointingly (to parents of young girls today) Charlie Brown's "crush interest" is still largely known to us in quite objectified fashion as "The Little Red-Haired Girl" (voiced by Francesca Capaldi).  Honestly, compare this film to this year's Inside Out [2015] (which even utilizes many of the same situations portrayed here in this film and yet in far more updated fashion).

Perhaps the most interesting "new(er) development" in the current film is some development in the relationship between Charlie Brown and his younger sister Sally (voiced by Mariel Sheets) who does seem to struggle with trying to love / be proud of her older brother even as she recognizes that he's, often, well, "kind of a loser ..." ;-). 

It all makes for a NICE (if certainly SAFE...) story, BUT ... unfortunately, we're going to have to wait for an ENTIRELY NEW REBOOT to bring the characters / story up-to-date.  And that is a shame ...

That said, still honestly a nice, if above-all nostalgic job.

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