"The Peanuts Movie" stars Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Alex Garfin, and Bill Melendez. Released on November 6, 2015, the film has Charlie Brown going on a quest to win the heart of the new girl in town while Snoopy battles the Red Baron.
The film is directed by Steve Martino, who also directed Horton Hears a Who and Ice Age: Continental Drift. It is the fifth full-length feature film to be based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. My family and I love the Peanuts growing up. From the holiday television specials to the full-length films, the Peanuts gang always have something that will remain in our hearts for generations to come. To celebrate the 65th anniversary of the comic strip, Blue Sky Studios (the animation team behind the Ice Age franchise) decided to create a computer animated Peanuts film. We have seen lots of film adaptations that tried to be modern for a new generation, which sometimes end up in failure and cause people to be overdramatic about how they "ruined their childhood". This film adaptation, however, manages to overcome those problems.
The film consists of unknown young voice actors, aside from Francesca Angelucci Capaldi (known for her role as Chloe James in the Disney Channel sitcom Dog with a Blog) and Madisyn Shipman (known for her role in the Nickelodeon sitcom Game Shakers). They did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life, especially Noah Schnapp as Charlie Brown. He sounds exactly how I imagined Charlie from the holiday specials and films. The animators also did a fantastic job at transitioning the hand-drawn animation style of the specials into 3D animation. It offers a whole new world of the Peanuts while also maintaining the cartoonish style of the comic strip, especially the characters' eyes and mouths. Some of the sequences where Snoopy chases the Red Baron make great use of the animation while also keeping them fun and entertaining for the kids. Speaking of Snoopy, this little beagle provided the best use of humor in an animated film thanks to Melendez's voice work. He manages to know when to provide the laughs without being a distraction or using some pop culture references. The story is another big highlight of the film. Like the holiday specials and the films, the story manages to keep itself simple and safe for the younger crowd. I've seen some animated films where the story and its themes are a little hard for little kids to understand. Here, the story is easily relatable to both little kids and adults alike.
The only thing that bothered me a little bit was the pacing. There were times where the pacing felt a little rushed. It's like when the film is like, "Ok, we're done with that scene. On to the next one." I can easily understand that the film wanted to keep the little kids' attention, but I can't help but think that the problem felt similar to that of The Lego Movie.
Overall, "The Peanuts Movie" is one of those rare film adaptations that fully captures the spirit of its source material while also providing what makes the characters we grow up with memorable and fun. With its fascinating voice work, marvelous animation, great humor, and its relatable, yet nostalgic, story, this film offered a fantastic introduction of the Peanuts gang to a new generation. Fans of the Peanuts gang young and old will not be disappointed with this film. This is also the safest film to take your kids to in the midst of action blockbusters, drama films, horror films, and R-rated comedies.