The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Directed By Steve Martino
Two words: cute and nostalgia. I was brought back to my earliest childhood memories, where I would read the newspaper just for the comic strips.
The Peanuts Movie has a loose, light-hearted storyline. Charlie Brown likes the new girl, The Little Red-Haired Girl, and tries to find ways for her to notice him. It further dives into a more serious note in regards to Charlie Brown finding his self-confidence and being comfortable with who he is as a person. He wants to be a “somebody” as oppose to being a “nobody.”
The movie could be seen as a series of slice-of-life comic strips combining together to form a concrete, but light plot. This approach works well for a little kid movie. However, this film has no sense of time because there were many time gaps. We go from a long winter, to one scene in spring, and bam, it is already summer vacation. In addition, one may be skeptic about whether the CGI/ 3D computer animation would work well for these hand-drawn characters. I think it worked though. These characters are drawn so simply that the CGI made them pop out more.
Furthermore, I like how they kept the setting and the characters, the same like in the comic strips and cartoons. What I mean by that is the producers didn’t put today’s modern technology, ideology, and lifestyle within the Peanuts story. For example, Snoopy still wrote on the typewriter as oppose to a laptop. I am pretty sure the majority of kids in the theater didn’t know what that was, but the adults do. Also when it came to a book report, Charlie didn’t search the summaries of novels on the internet. Instead, he actually went to the library and read a book. It wasn’t even an elementary level book, but one of the greatest pieces of literature, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Also, we don’t see kids staying indoors on their cellphones, browsing the internet, or playing video games. We see kids actually outside of their houses, playing sports and games with other kids. It is not only takes us back to our nostalgic childhood memories, but also a reminder of how life was so simple back then for kids. We can only imagine if today’s technology didn’t exists, kids may be acting like the Peanuts gang.
So one thing I enjoyed is the social commentary on education that Linus presents to his teacher. He goes on saying (from what I recall from the movie), “The state of education is at its poorest when we rely too heavily on these standardize tests…” I thought it was a clever way to give a political standpoint on education in a cartoon that encourages a more traditional approach of raising kids.
I also didn’t realize how intelligent and witty these Peanuts characters are. The movie had plenty of adult jokes, which I was greatly amused by. I felt like this film is aimed for the older audiences as oppose to little kids. Yet overall, I enjoyed the movie, and I think it is a must-watch for families.
By the way, Snoppy is hilarious.