What’s Old And What’s New In The Peanuts Movie
If you’re one of those purists who worries that The Peanuts Movie is going to undermine your beloved Charlie Brown, think again. If this movie can be faulted for anything, it’s that it sticks too close to the source material. We’re not complaining, but the dramatic stakes in The Peanuts Movie are no less slight than they are in the franchise’s classic holiday specials. In half-hour doses, that’s not a problem, but at feature length, it does make for a somewhat unfocused experience. That said, the creators of The Peanuts Movie get just about everything else right, thanks to a perfectly judged balance of old and new.
OLD: Familiar faces
While the world of the Peanuts has been subjected to a high-tech upgrade, your favourite characters still look just like their former selves.
In spite of some appealing handrawn flourishes, The Peanuts Movie is the product of modern 3D animation, adding a new dimension to these familiar characters and situations. Add a pair of 3D glasses to the mix, and the Peanuts pop off the screen like never before.
OLD: Familiar voices
Voiced by actual kids, the characters in Peanuts retain the youthful authenticity of their ’60s predecessors. In an even more direct nod to the past, the voice of late animator Bill Meléndez—who directed all the classic Peanuts specials—is used to deliver the familiar sounds of Snoopy and Woodstock.
While she did make an appearance in 1980’s Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown, Snoopy’s new love interest Fifi never appeared in the comic strip, making The Peanuts Movie something of a launching pad for the character.
OLD: Vince Guaraldi
Jazz great Vince Guaraldi has been dead for nearly four decades, but several of his iconic Peanuts compositions are given prominent positioning in the new movie, instantly transporting fans back to the classic specials.
NEW: Modern pop
If there’s one place where The Peanuts Movie definitely drops the ball, it’s the inexplicable use of modern pop songs by Flo Rida and Meghan Trainor. This may be seen as a commercial necessity, but we think Charles M. Schulz would disapprove.
Shortcomings notwithstanding, The Peanuts Movie is well worth your time—and it’s in theatres now. For a sample of the gang’s new look, watch the trailer below.