The Peanuts Movie is a love letter to the beloved franchise. Apart from the original Ice Age, The Peanuts Movie would easily be my favorite movie from Blue Sky Animation. Similar to the equally faithful Horton Hears a Who!, The Peanuts Movie managed to stay faithful to the original comic strips by Charles M. Schulz. It helps that his son and grandson personally developed the movie not long after he passed away. It’s refreshing to see a classic franchise adaptation that doesn’t throw in pop culture references, modern technology, or any unwanted new characters. The Peanuts Movie is rated G, because it doesn’t feel the need to degrad the source material with crude jokes or potty humor. While they couldn’t help but make it computer animated, Schulz’s hand drawn style is maintained in a clever way. My brother and I saw the movie in theaters with a big smile on our faces. Although they haven’t watched most Blue Sky movies, our parents were just as pleased to watch it.
The Peanuts Movie is pure nostalgia with a simple story that touches on almost every aspect of Peanuts history. Most of the movie takes place during wintertime in order to pay homage to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charlie Brown tries to be a winner, but faces all of his biggest insecurities. Trying to fly a kite and failing at baseball happen early on, but attempting to kick a football is saved for a mid-credits scene. His biggest struggle is trying to get the Little Red-Haired Girl to notice him. It’s a sweet love story that finally gets her to speak and show her face. Fortunately the unseen adults are back to speaking through a trombone. The entire Peanuts gang has time to shine and show off their defining traits. Noah Schnapp captures Charlie Brown 1 year before making a name for himself on Stranger Things. Linus carries his blanket and always has something insightful to say. Lucy continues to put Charlie Brown down and give him unhelpful advice from her psychiatry stand.
Sally spends most of her time wanting to be a cowgirl. Peppermint Patty is the lazy tomboy she always is and Marcie is not too far behind as her smarter sidekick. Schroeder’s piano playing is given special treatment as part of the 20th Century Fox theme. Pig-Pen causes a mess wherever he goes and Franklin has a lot of screen time since he’s the only diverse character. Violet and Patty are also around in a supporting role. Equal attention is given to frequent scene stealer Snoopy and his buddy Woodstock. They have an entire subplot devoted to Snoopy writing about the World War I Flying Ace and his enemy the Red Baron. Snoopy’s love interest Fifi and his entire family are all part of it. The Peanuts Movie weaves together many classic storylines like a talent show, dance, or book report. Although Charlie Brown believes he’s a blockhead, it’s always heartwarming to see his friends root for him when he wins. Blue Sky is the only studio I know that can take a wonderful idea like The Peanuts Movie and turn it into a success.