The Peanuts Movie will be appreciated by fans of the original comic strip but at times, even they will struggle with this movie. It isn’t ever bad or terrible but does begin to lose its sparkle and magic and the charm of the original strip it’s based on doesn’t seem to translate.
The Peanuts comic strip was never intended for children really. It has some very physical and visual humour but most of the appeal was in the children who spoke older than their age, wrestled with higher, complex issues than they should have while also playing baseball, flying kites and in some cases, trying to find love. A lot of these familiar elements appear but it never really commits to this style of movie.
The other direction for an animated film is to appeal more to the young audience. Snoopy was always the character to do that and he does supply most of the humour here. His daydreams, wild imagination and huge confidence, trying to help Charlie Brown along the way, play to the younger audience while still demonstrating why he is still such a popular character today.
That isn’t to say that the rest of The Peanuts gang don’t do the same. Charlie Brown is still the hapless young man with self-confidence issues. The whole film is the story of his kind, caring character and the realisation that he has self-confidence and should be proud of himself. In amongst this story are moments from Linus, Peppermint Patty, Lucy and co. but hardly any of them really shine unless they are interacting with Charlie Brown or Snoopy.
The story isn’t exactly the most inspiring either. It is more like chapters or separate sketches rather than one, complete movie. The story has some threads running through but could also have been broken down into three or four TV episodes. It means that the movie doesn’t really build towards anything but rather plods along at quite a serene and leisurely pace, often failing to keep the audience’s attention.
The story is full of charming moments and this is the particular strength of the film. Charlie Brown (and the rest of the characters) are faithfully represented, each of them possessing that charm and lovable quality which made the strip so popular in the first place. Unfortunately, what works in a comic strip doesn’t necessarily translate to the screen and some of that magic is lacking from The Peanuts Movie.
Overall, The Peanuts Movie will offer a lot of familiarity for fans of the original strip but doesn’t hold the same magic or charm. Snoopy and Charlie Brown are served well but the rest of the characters fail to make any impact. The story lacks direction and pace and although there are some very sweet moments, it struggles to hold any attention or build to meaningful climax.
Rating – 2
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