Snoopy and Charlie Brown are classic. It’s been decades and decades since their inception and they still are household names. Who can resist the cute little beagle with his rich imagination and loving nature? And then there’s good old Charlie Brown, the self-deprecating, insecure boy who is more than happy to help anyone out. Complementing this pair is a group of equally naive children with a variety of personalities and quirks that anyone can relate to. This time around, The Peanuts Movie is about Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) and his first crush. The new school year has begun and with it comes a pretty Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi) who instantly wins Charlie’s heart. To win her love, Charlie sets out to better himself and prove that he is not the failure he believes to be. It’s a wholesome movie that is sweet, charming, funny and heartwarming.
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Much like the comics and other incarnations, this movie is aimed at children but it is not childish. It can be quite deep and relevant with some great take home messages throughout. Charlie’s constant self-criticism is a universal feeling that we can relate to. He is completely blind to all his positive traits and it’s simultaneously endearing and depressing. But the beautiful thing about the movie is how the other characters don’t let Charlie forget that he’s a good person. Linus, the child philosopher who still needs his security blanket, is quick to encourage Charlie when needed. Even Charlie’s foil, the overpowering and outspoken Lucy, tries to help him out (at the going rate of 5 cents, of course). It’s a great snapshot of a simple childhood and the growth these characters experience.
The animation is fantastic. It uses a combination of 3D CGI and traditional comic styles that blend really well together. It is not just an updated version for the modern times, it actually uses the technology in a way that feels fresh but is also in line with the Peanuts anthology. The CGI gives us a great look at Charlie’s world, while the comic strip moments provide not only a great contrast in styles but also acts as a clever visual separating the “real” world from thoughts.
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The voice actors need to be given recognition as well. Hadley Belle Miller captures Lucy’s bossiness and overconfidence so well. Alex Garfin has a gentle tone that fits in with the philosophical nature of Linus. Mariel Sheets is wonderful as Sally, a girl who feels she can do no wrong and it’s the world that owes her. And Bill Melendez’s does a good job of capturing what Snoopy and Woodstock want even if they speak only in unintelligible squeaks and laughs. The whole cast manages to encapsulate each of their character’s personality.
The Peanuts Movie is a simple story but it’s fun and uplifting. Children will certainly love it, but it’ll also be appealing to adults, especially those who have been fans. It is actually quite a lovely way for the older generation to introduce or share something from their childhood with their children. If you’re looking for a nice, uplifting story that’ll make you smile The Peanuts Movie is a great choice.