Adapting a cartoon into a theatrical motion picture is not an easy thing to do. And history has proven time and time again that it is so often a setup for failure. Likewise, the idea of making a CGI Peanuts movie seemed like a doomed idea from day one. And having Blue Sky be the ones to do the job doesn’t exactly help, as that company hasn’t exactly had the greatest track-record.
While the trailers looked charming enough, I reserved judgement on this until the film came out and reviews started pouring in. And what do you know, word of mouth is very positive.
And for good reason.
The most noteworthy thing about this film is the animation style. It certainly could not have been easy recreating the classic 2D feel of the Peanuts in 3D animation, but they pulled off a seamless blend of the two mediums that capture the look and feel of the Peanuts specials quite flawlessly. Although a part of me is a little upset that they went through all this work to make CG animation look like hand-drawn animation, when they could have just made it hand-drawn. But that’s a topic for another day.
On top of capturing the animation style just right, the overall tone of the movie. Sure, there’s a bit too much slapstick for my liking, but considering how so many kids movies nowadays feel the need to make butt jokes and pop culture references, the creators of this movie decided to make it timeless as possible. So while the animation is very inventive, the script feels like it could have been written decades ago, back when the original Peanuts were in their prime.
This is a movie that I strongly admire. But not so much for what it is, but for how easily it could have gone wrong. Ultimately, it feels like the producers must have said something along the lines of. “This is Peanuts. It means a lot to us and our culture. So we’re gonna put everything we got into it, and make it feel completely timeless.” (With the exception of a certain Megan Trainer song)
But don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not one of the best movies of the year. There are a couple of things that don’t quite make sense, and a few plot holes that don’t quite add up. But considering how awful this movie could have been, I can overlook that.
And come February, they may have to change the name of this film to “You’re An Oscar Nominee, Charlie Brown!”