Friday, December 11, 2015

The Peanuts Movie (2015)

IMDb plot summary: Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.
Directed by Steve Martino. Starring Noah Schnapp, Bill Melendez, Alexander Garfin, and Mariel Sheets.

(Spoilers ahead.)

I was so worried when I heard this movie was going to exist, but it turns out all that worry was for nothing. This is a really solid movie and a worthwhile continuation of the Charlie Brown movie saga. Or perhaps I shouldn't say "continuation" so much as "reboot," as part of the reason the movie stays so faithful is that, like its most well-liked predecessors, it takes good chunks of its dialogue and its action directly from the comic strip. There is an original narrative in here too, but it's stitched together with familiar lines and situations. Even the new bits, however, manage to stick to the spirit of the classic Peanuts gang, so on the whole it's a very nicely done flick.

My one complaint, however, is a small one but not a particularly minor one for me. The ending of the film doesn't work for me at all. One of the reasons I (and so many others) connect with Charlie Brown is precisely his inability to win -- at least on the full spectrum he does here. He *is* a good person, and people *do* like him (sometimes), but nobody except for maybe Linus would tell him that to his face. The final scenes where the Little Red Haired Girl practically gives a whole speech affirming the Charlie Browns of the world was sweet, and all the kids swarming him with love and affection was heartwarming, but it all felt *off* to me. The Peanuts comics and older cartoons all played heavily on Charlie Brown's attempt to stay compassionate and stable even when no one around him was affirming him as doing the right thing, his determination to keep trying even when he knew, deep down, he was probably going to fail. Seeing him succeed wildly in the eyes of his peers was just never going to happen -- nor should it. Charlie Brown's successes come mostly when he is happy with himself or when he is *allowed* into the inner circle, if not invited with open arms.

As that bit of lengthy rambling, I was unconvinced by the ending of the film, but that didn't meant that everything before it wasn't pretty darn delightful. It's absolutely worth a watch, even if it slips up in its final moments.

4 stars.

How it entered my Flickchart:
The Peanuts Movie > The Fortune Cookie
The Peanuts Movie > Pretty Woman
The Peanuts Movie < Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
The Peanuts Movie > Kiss Me, Stupid!
The Peanuts Movie < Fail-Safe
The Peanuts Movie < Beetlejuice
The Peanuts Movie < M. Butterfly
The Peanuts Movie > The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Peanuts Movie < Philadelphia
The Peanuts Movie > Man on the Moon
Final spot: #436 out of 2396, which is possibly a bit too high.

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