Tonight we went to see lovable but hapless Charlie Brown, take-charge Lucy Van Pelt, adorable Woodstock, and our very favorite beagle Snoopy on the big screen.
Our family review of "The Peanuts Movie" is pretty simple: we all thought it is a charming movie. All three of us used the word "cute" to describe the movie.
I don't think any of us felt that it is a cinematic masterpiece, but that doesn't seem to have been the goal of the film.
The consensus was that it is a sweet, enjoyable tale about a boy and his dog and it stays true to the way the late Charles M. Schulz portrayed his characters and the heart he put into the stories he told about them in the funny papers.
In fact, the main plot line is Charlie Brown pining for the Little Red-Haired Girl, so it's all pretty familiar.
My husband and daughter were both disappointed that Linus didn't have a bigger part but it was nice that he still plays the character who spoke the truth and brought the wisdom. We think he would appreciate the sincerity of the film.
I loved that there were black and white drawings from the comic strip interspersed on occasion, and that they used Vince Guaraldi's music. It was comforting to know that so much about Peanuts has stood the test of time, given that this year is the 50th anniversary of the first airing of "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
(I also appreciated the inclusion of a rotary phone and old fashioned typewriters, which have not lasted as long.)
That the film stays remarkably true to its origins is not surprising given that the script was written by Schulz's son, Craig, and grandson, Bryan, as well as Bryan's writing partner Cornelius Uliano.
We all agreed that it dragged a bit in the middle. This is not a fast-paced flick. It's possible that it was just really playing it safe. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it also means that you're not on the edge of your seat and it doesn't seem overly new.
One exception to that could be the part of the plot that addresses standardized testing. It's not heavy handed, but it offers a pretty scathing commentary on what the results say about the intelligence of the test taker and how results can impact the perception of both the test taker and those aware of the results.
I also appreciated that the film ends with a testament to kindness and truth telling.
"Sometimes people think being dishonest is cool, but this was a contrast to that and illustrated that people recognize and value honesty," said my 13-year-old.
There are also lessons to be learned about not giving up and realizing that people may not be as focused on our flaws as we are. There's a lot of emphasis on being kind to others these days, and this movie makes a case for being kind in our perception of ourselves as well.
We're a family that appreciates a good animated film. My 13-year-old said that it could be considered "too young for you if you're not really cartoony." And she is pretty sure that "cartoony" is a word.
This was a cute cartoony film.
Prior Post: This is 39 on vacation
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Filed under: Pop Culture