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Before I was into video games, movies, comics or anything else associated with the illustrious #NerdLife, there was Peanuts. The creation of the great Charles Schulz has always been something near and dear to my heart-the Peanuts booth was the very first booth I sought out the first time I hit the floor at #SDCC! When the movie was announced, I was skeptical to say the least-the modernization of the art style immediately placed a sour taste in my mouth, and I harbored low-hopes the film would retain the simplicity, charm and heart of the not only the classic televised specials, but the wit of the source material. To hit you Bros with the super-quick quick review: my fears were not realized after seeing the movie, and The Peanuts Movie is another timeless edition to the historic franchise-perfect for all ages!
My favorite aspect of the Peanuts franchise-whether it be the comic strip of any of the films-is the simplicity of the storytelling: universal (and at times, complex) themes are told in a very easy to comprehend manner, and the lessons learned can be understood as quickly by children as they can be by adults. I worried this universal storytelling method would dissipate after the opening minutes, but fortunately this was not the case. The story was easy to understand and felt as if it could’ve been ripped straight from a comic strip: an essential aspect of any Peanuts special.
As I previously mentioned, the franchise has always been near and dear to my heart, and I worried the newest entry in the film would forsake Peanuts’ long and storied history-my fears began with the new art style. That being said, I am an adult who understands this is a franchise that needs to be modernized for a new generation of viewers: and truth be told, after the opening sequence of the film I grew quite fond of the franchise’s updated veneer. The animation is understated yet truly flexes its muscles during sequences involving Snoopy’s World War One Flying Ace and during outdoor scenes, which comprises a significant amount of the film.
While the update in presentation is immediately apparent from the beginning of the film, numerous references to the classic art style were sprinkled throughout the film. These were done sporadically and incorporated in a creative manner, which enabled them to appear as slight nods instead of overt nostalgia pieces shoved toward the viewer. Additionally, a few surreal visual vignettes-a frequent tool utilized in the classic specials-were littered throughout the film. However, they were done quickly and as organically as possible, meaning younger viewers who may not be familiar with how often older Peanuts specials would segue into song breaks with psychedelic splashes of color would not find these out of place.
The most succinct way I can describe The Peanuts Movie is as a classic Peanuts special with a new coat of paint. Some may construe this as an insult, but considering how timeless classics such The Great Pumpkin and the original Christmas special are, I can think of no higher praise to give it. If you’re a fan of Peanuts or have children, I would recommend seeing this film. You will not be disappointed. Until next time, Bros!
*Disclaimer: Pictures stolen from twitter.com/PeanutsMovie