“Good Grief,” It’s Great
By Lucia Rossi
Charles M. Schulz’s beloved comic strip comes to the big screen for the first time.
“The Peanuts Movie” grossed a total of $90.6 million worldwide and commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip, as well as the 50th anniversary of the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
It is the highest-rated film made by Blue Sky Studios, which also produced the “Ice Age” films. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 85 percent approval rating, claiming that the film is a colorful gateway to the classic characters and is sweetly nostalgic for adults. The film guarantees laughs for both young and old viewers.
Everybody knows the insecure failure that is Charlie Brown, but everyone loves him because of the endless perseverance and positive attitude that make him so heroic.
Throughout the film, Charlie Brown constantly tries to impress and get the attention of his mysterious new neighbor and classmate, the Little Red-Haired Girl, who is voiced by an actual red-haired girl (Francesca Capaldi.) With the help of Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang, Charlie Brown experiences things he never has before over the course of the school year.
Snoopy, in the meantime, writes and acts out his new novel about his alter-ego, The Flying Ace, who attempts to save his love, Fifi, from the Red Baron.
Craig and Bryan Schulz, Charles Schulz’s son and grandson, wrote the film and Steve Martino directed it.
“We need[ed] to have absolute quality control and keep it under Dad’s legacy,” said Craig Schulz to The Washington Post. “You can’t bring people in from the outside and expect them to understand ‘Peanuts.’”
“This is a feature film story that has a strong dramatic drive, and takes its core ideas from the strip,” said Steve Martino.
Martino was able to preserve a lot of the authenticity of the original Peanuts by using the archived music from the previous TV specials as well as the archival recordings of Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock.
“The Peanuts Movie” takes you to a simpler time when modern technology didn’t exist and Lucy thought making nickels was a sufficient wage. You get to relive the comic’s best moments at the skating pond, Charlie Brown’s house, “the wall,” the Peanuts classroom, and Lucy’s psychiatrist booth. The adults still only say “wah wah,” too.
Martino spent over a year working with animators to translate Schulz’s “hand-drawn warmth…into the cool pixel precision of CGI.” The work was worth the time because it perfectly combined the classic style of a drawing with the exquisite detail of CGI graphics. Though the characters faces looked drawn, you could see every single hair on their heads.
Pop singer Meghan Trainor wrote a song just for the film, “Better When I’m Dancin,” which was featured during the credits.
“The Peanuts Movie” is essential to any child of the new or old generation because it teaches the importance of failure and disappointment through Charlie’s actions, and encourages people to dream and be adventurous, like Snoopy and his fantastical sequences.
The one significant difference from the classic is Peanuts lovers finally see and hear more from the Little Red-Haired Girl than they ever did before.