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Arts & Culture

The Warm Blanket Of A New 'Peanuts' Movie

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Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC
Happiness is still a warm puppy in 'The Peanuts Movie.'

You’re in 3D, Charlie Brown!

Despite the tech updates in "The Peanuts Movie," Schroeder still plays Beethoven, Lucy still hates dog germs, Linus still loves his blanket, and Charlie Brown is still the same lovable sad sack kid, but maybe with an even bigger heart this time. Whether or not he finally gets to kick the football, I’m not telling.

I grew up on “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and countless more television specials. I went to see “Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown” at Greenspoint Mall in north Houston, and read the strip weekly, if not daily, for years. Which is all to say that like a great many Americans, I hold these characters pretty close to my heart. When I learned that 20th Century Fox was going to make another movie, and a computer-animated movie at that, and on top of THAT in 3D, I was skeptical. Blessedly, “The Peanuts Movie” doesn’t mess with the characters, or try to make them hip for 2015. They’re still the same kids full of hopes and fears that we’ve known for over half a century now.

The film’s plot is simple—at the start of the new school year, a little red-headed girl moves into the neighborhood across from Charlie Brown, and he spends the school year fretting about how to show her he’s worth more than the gloomy reputation that precedes him. Meanwhile, Snoopy battles the Red Baron in a fantasy sequence that effectively uses the 3D landscape to take our favorite beagle’s “Sopwith Camel” doghouse into the sky. 

Throughout the movie, Charlie Brown fails time and again, but even without realizing it, does so with great courage. The movie’s message is especially important in a world where success is still a #1 priority for most parents and children. In life, you’re not always going to come out on top, but being the best person you can be for your friends and family will reap far greater rewards in the long run.

Charles Schulz’s son Craig and grandson Bryan were instrumental in developing the film, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that it still hews close to the original comics and television specials. The animation even retains the squiggly hand-drawn facial features that made Charles Schulz's drawings so distinct. And it’s worth noting the musical score by Chistophe Beck is sweet and tuneful, enough that I didn’t miss Vince Guaraldi’s jazzy melodies, though I did appreciate hearing the “Linus & Lucy” cue on at least two occasions.

This is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy. Watching it brought me great happiness—a little like a warm puppy. I hope it does for you, too.