Listen, I’ve read the complaints from some of the fussier critics, and I’ve listened to the plaudits from the believers too. But I would be bewildered by anyone that confessed to me that they weren’t the slightest bit charmed by it. In a film year that featured an awful lot of nostalgia porn, “The Peanuts Movie” is notable for pulling off a comfort flashback, without the use of big, splashy special effects or big name stars. In fact, many of the kids that supply the voices for these beloved characters have never acted in feature films before. But they sound just like they should, they sound just like we expect them too–and surely the work has to be applauded for that alone.
All the names and faces we’ve come to love are present here. And it’s a delight to allow yourself to settle into the pure simplicity of it all. Sure, there’s probably a bit too much fantasy flashback activity, with Snoopy and Woodstock. But our adoration of Snoopy is endless, right? It is for me. There’s a decent narrative line here too, with Charlie Brown scoring a scholastic victory, that ends up being an error. He revels in his new found popularity, based on this mistake, and attempts to impress the Little Red-Haired Girl throughout the movie. Blue Sky Studios does a wondrous job with the computer animation, keeping things modern, simple and retro.
Director Steve Martino helmed 2008’s “Horton Hears a Who!” and 2012’s “Ice Age: Continental Drift”. So we are in experienced hands. A pair of Charles M. Schulz descendants (son Craig, and grandson Bryan) were involved in the writing and producing. So the pedigree is there. Of all the things that could’ve gone wrong updating this classic comic for the 21st century, they get most of it right. The music of Christophe Beck is highly respectful of the Vince Guaraldi compositions that we’ve come to know and love, and pop princess Meghan Trainor is on board for a song too. So, apparently you can go home again.