Friday, November 20, 2015

Family Movie Night: The Peanuts Movie

Title: The Peanuts Movie
Director: Steve Martino
Original Release: 2015
Choice: Purple Penguin's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Peanuts Wiki
As soon as we saw the trailer for the first time, my daughter made it clear that we would be seeing this movie in the theater.  She is a devoted fan of the Peanuts gang and knows the source material well, pouring over her collected treasuries of the old comic strips frequently.  I wrote about my own love for Charlie Brown & Co. here.  The film arrives during a celebratory year for the franchise: 65th anniversary of the comic strip and 50th anniversary of the first TV special.  As enthusiasts, we were prepared for the technologically updated animation.  The big question was whether or not the spirit of the comics would be respectfully maintained.

The 3-D graphics are a considerable 21st century upgrade but the filmmakers sensibly resisted high tech updates within the story.  The Brown family still has a rotary telephone and Snoopy still pounds away on a typewriter.  No Twitter-speak, either.  Lots of classic story elements are revived: the kite-eating tree, the psychiatric help booth, the Little Red Headed Girl, the World War I Flying Ace, etc.  Our favorite characters are all well-preserved.  Charlie Brown is still the lovable loser constantly outclassed by his own dog.  Behind it all, sweetness lingers.  It's a simpler life in Peanuts World.  But even a simpler life can be frustrating and lonely.

So yes, spirit intact.  The story's ending veers in a decidedly new age direction.  I'm okay with it but I can certainly imagine that some purists might object.

The music was great.  All of the Vince Guaraldi classics were revived.  I'd have loved a rousing rendition of "Happiness" or "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" but it wasn't to be this time.  

The opening weekend was a success: $44 million in gross revenue, coming in second behind Spectre.  The two films have revived what had been a weak year and season for the industry.  A sequel certainly seems in order and would be most welcome at our house but at the moment, Fox only owns the rights for one film.  So if there is another, it could be a while.

14 comments:

  1. I think a lot of people were instantly intrigued when they saw that trailer. Snoopy definitely deserves to be a movie star.

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    1. Hi, Tony! Snoopy's great. I, however, will always have a soft spot for Linus.

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  2. Sounds like a great family movie--my daughter texted me yesterday to remind me that the last of the Hunger Games is out (we've seen them all together) so tonight it will be a daddy/daughter date!

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    1. I'm a strong believer in daddy/daughter dates. Enjoy!

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  3. We tried to go see this opening weekend, but it was sold out. I can't even remember the last time that happened to me prior to that. We haven't had time to get back to it.

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    1. Still going strong, though I expect Hunger Games will top the charts this weekend.

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  4. I was worried about this movie when I saw it in 3D but I am so happy with what I read here. I am glad they kept true to the comic strip and cartoons

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  5. I hope to see this soon but will wait till the crowds thin.
    On of my best memories from working at Hallmark was when Mr. Schulz OKed my Snoopy card design.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. It's worth seeing on a big screen, I think.

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  6. I'm glad to hear they didn't veer too far off from the classic Peanuts Gang! I LOVE the originals and grew up with the originals. I might have to see it in theaters after all. :)

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  7. My sons and I really enjoyed this movie. The creators obviously went to great lengths to make the animation still felt like the 2-D comic strips which I appreciated. They also did a good job of explaining some of the low tech stuff like the typewriter but kept it modern. Charlie Brown taking out the recycling for example. It's not groundbreaking but it's a fun film. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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    1. There were a lot of little kids in the theater and I think the film is a great introduction for the newbie. Even with the 3D, the movie didn't feel big to me (apart from the WWI stuff but that was appropriate) and I mean that in a good way. Charlie B's world is not fantasy so much as an ultra reality. Life's basic ego struggle is laid plain. You don't need a lot of frills.

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