Charles M. Schulz introduced the character of Charlie Brown in 1950 in the first Peanuts comic strips, starting a 50 year journey in the animation world. Schulz’s comic strip became a symbol of XXth century.
From comic strips to animated series and feature films, Charlie remains that kid loved by so many people, with whom we can identify ourselves in so many ways. He’s every kid in every town that gets referred to as a loser all the time, but in reality is a winner because he never gives up.
The Blue Sky Studios feature film is the 5th one after „A Boy Named Charlie Brown”, 1969, „Snoopy, come home”, 1972 (both produced by Cinema Center Films, later CBS took over the rights), „Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown”, 1977, and „Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown”, 1980 (produced by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox).
„The Peanuts Movie” is based on Schulz’s comic strips, directed by Steve Martino, written by Craig and Bryan Schulz (Schulz’s son and nephew) and Cornelius Uliano, with the voice of the very young Noah Schnapp for Charlie Brown and the archive recordings of Bill Melendez for the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock.
After a very long time, “good old Charlie” returns in a 3D look, preserving the well-known Schulz mark. The clean and delicate drawing, created with the desire of doing justice to the original – although I thought that Peppermint Patty’s hair was a little too red and her voice almost too feminine – recreates the well-known Peanuts atmosphere. I must say that I appreciated the fact that the CGI was not too ostentatious. Watching the movie for the first time, you simply enjoy seeing Charlie and Snoopy, without realizing that the story lacks some coherence. You can notice some sort of impatience to present as many adventures possible – some reproduced from the former feature movies and adapted to the actual story – being like seeing an old friend and starting to narrate facts, without caring about the connections between them. It skips suddenly from the attempt to fly the kite to the red-haired girl, from Snoopy’s story that gets rewritten to Charlie’s attempts to get noticed and so on. Finally, I realized that the missing part from the movie was a common story to engage the entire Peanuts gang, as I expected, instead of dividing it between Charlie’s and Snoopy’s love stories.
Despite all that, you’ll surely enjoy seeing Charlie who finally has a good day, Snoopy that will be forever by his side, no matter what, the bossy Lucy helping everybody with her advices, the rational Linus, Sally, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the gang.
I hope we won’t have to wait another 3 decades to see them again. This is why I’m saying: See you soon, „old” Chuck!