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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Due to sickness, weather, and sold-out showings, it took me a few weeks before I was able to see The Peanuts Movie. But, I have to say, the wait was worth it. The Peanuts Movie is quite possibly the most enjoyable family films we’ve had in recent times and might be the best movie of 2015. Granted, I may be biased as I am one of the biggest Peanuts fans out there, but this movie hits all the right notes that while hitting the nostalgia chord, it is just genuinely a good, solid film.
Taking many cues from the Charles Shultz’s beloved comic strip, The Peanuts Movie finds lovable loser Charlie Brown doubting himself after he falls head-over-heals in love with the new-to-town Little Red-Haired Girl. What follows is his attempts to get her to notice him. He is almost successful several times, but, being Charlie Brown, he inadvertently screws something up that ruins his chance.
A very simple plot, but it works. What has always made Peanuts work wasn’t the storylines, but the characters. Charlie Brown is a kid who never ever gives up in the face of defeat. This film nailed that in addition to the other characters. That’s what I truly loved about it.
It could have been so easy to screw something like this up. Too many times today, we see an adaptation of some classic children’s property (be it a cartoon, book, or comic strip) and filmmakers feel the need to update it to the extreme in order to make it seem relevant and hip instead of relying on what made the thing work in the first place. And those films, while profitable enough, usually suck as a result (I still can’t believe we are getting 4th Alvin and the Chipmunks movie).
The Peanuts Movie doesn’t do that. It doesn’t need to lower itself to. The film stays incredibly true to the source, because the source is solid and timeless. Everyone can relate to Charlie Brown at some point in their lives.
Don’t get me wrong. There is still some updating for modern audiences. The film does move at a quicker pace and has more slapstick-type humor than a typical Peanuts TV special, but it never intrudes or overtakes the movie. It comes naturally. Even the obligatory written-for-the-movie Meghan Trainor song is integrated well is only really utilized briefly in the background of a scene (as opposed to a montage that is designed solely to show off the song).
I am guessing this quality control had a lot to do with the film being controlled and overseen by the Shultz family (they made sure that Hollywood wasn’t going to take a dump on Charles’s legacy). Whatever the case may be this film is a master class on how to do an adaptation.
This is a nearly-perfect film. There were several times that I teared up over how emotionally invested I had gotten. In a year that has been fairly disappointing with big movie releases, The Peanuts Movie has been such a breath of fresh air. I loved it.