November 09, 2015
Family Film Blogging: The Peanuts Movie
Posted by Christine Hurt

Sigh.  Rats.  Good Grief!  Our whole family made a big Friday night outing to see The Peanuts Movie on opening night.  We were not disappointed.

Just a warning:  you will not be surprised.  There are no twists, turns, special effects, or a catchy ballad.  It's just Peanuts.  If someone had a time machine and could go back to 1965 and ask Charles Schulz to write a new movie, this would have been the movie.  This isn't the Peanuts gang grown up, or the Peanuts gang in the 21st Century.  It's just Peanuts -- and that's a good thing.  Along those lines, if there's anything you like about the comic strip or the TV specials, you'll probably see it in the movie:  that funny kid in the group scene dancing to jazz music; the Red Baron, Snoopy writing on the typewriter, the red-haired girl, Lucy the psychiatrist, baseball, football, Snoopy kissing Lucy, the adult voice droning on and on, Christmas, etc.  The only element that I missed was the Linus monologue.  I love those.

The story is about what you would expect:  Charlie Brown falls for the new girl on his block (with red hair), but is afraid to talk to her all year.  He wants to impress her in various ways, but life plots against him every time.  There is a happy ending.  I will say, with all respect to the Charlie Brown specials of my childhood, this one is happier.  The happy ending is happier.  Charlie Brown is nicer to his sister.  Snoopy is nicer to him.  Everyone is a little bit nicer to each other.  Life plots against Charlie Brown, but it's not as bad.  There is melancholy, but it is more exception than the rule.  I like it.

I also like that the gang is frozen in time, or in a timeless time.  There is a snow day, but the kids don't start playing the Wii or watching Netflix.  They all get dressed to go play ice hockey.  Charlie Brown writes a book report in pencil.  On paper.  He goes to the library to find the right book.  He doesn't text the new girl because no one has a cell phone.  the only nod to modern life is that the students take a standardized test.

If you are in the mood for a bit of wonderful nostalgia and a nice story, then by all means go to see The Peanuts Movie.  If you want crude kid humor and famous voices, you'll have to go see Hotel Transylvania 2 again.

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