New Peanuts movie holds onto traditional story line with new animation
November 18, 2015
The child characters from the comic strips of Charles M. Schulz have returned to the big screen in The Peanuts Movie, which brings the old characters back but changes nothing about them; and that’s good.
What more can someone want after all from Charlie Brown and the gang? If you grew up in this country it is hard not to know why they are still entrenched in the publics’ hearts. Their holiday TV specials are a tradition to watch each year, merchandise still sells, and each characters musings on life make us reflect on ourselves and reassure us that things will get better, no matter how bad a day can look.
And new adventures being told about the gang of children is exactly the way this film took, and it came out in the best way possible.
The plot of the film follows closely what could be considered a comic strip style of storytelling. Charlie Brown hears that a new girl is in town, and tired of being the kid rough out of luck, he plans to reinvent his image with this new girl.
Along the way he is hindered by life but always reassured and helped by his friends and faithful dog Snoopy, whose own fantasies are played out in the film.
A lot of the plot jumps around from one subject or situation to another, covering many of the regular beats one would see in the comics, from a trip to Lucy the Psychiatrist to Snoopy’s Red Baron fantasies. This is where its comic strip influences become very apparent.
This could even be considered a detriment to the film, as one can easily not see the point to jumping around so much. However, it is how it is handled with as much heart seen here that makes The Peanuts Movie so worth watching.
Though it hits similar beats, the love put into the writing really comes through. Each character known in the comics behaves exactly as they should, with all their lines believable to their personality and their dialogue delivered quite well by the child actors.
Many of the decisions in this film all seemed right for the Peanuts. The child actors aside, even the music favors the more original piano scores you would hear in the animated specials, with very few interjections by modern musicians.
But probably the biggest definable feature of the film was how they rendered the originally two-dimensional characters. The Peanuts gang is animated superbly, taking on a look of imposing 2-D animated lines and facial expression onto 3-D models, and it looks amazing.
One never feels like a character is oddly shaped or rendered in an ugly way. It all looks so smooth and feels like a true modern adaption of the comics style to modern animation tendencies.
Overall, the story of the film does eventually come to a head, and I think audiences, if they can get past the segmented storytelling, will be greatly satisfied in the end with how it was told, for this film has done what it set out to.
The Peanuts Movie is an excellent adaption of the old works of Charles M. Schulz, helped in part that his son and grandson wrote it. I am proud to say that Schulz’ works are living on to be loved by a new generation, that will no doubt love it as much as we did.