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The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy's Grand Adventure

Platform(s): Movie, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, WiiU, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: Nov. 6, 2015


Movie Review - 'The Peanuts Movie'

by Adam Pavlacka on Nov. 6, 2015 @ 1:00 a.m. PST

Snoopy embarks upon his greatest mission as he and his team take to the skies to pursue their arch-nemesis, while his best pal Charlie Brown begins his own epic quest back home.

Charlie Brown and Snoopy are back on the big screen, and they've brought the whole Peanuts gang with them. Produced by Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age), the new film keeps the heart and soul of Charles M. Schulz's iconic characters while bringing them into the CG realm as 3D-rendered characters.

The overall message of the film is delivered through two concurrent stories, both of which should be familiar to Peanuts fans. Charlie Brown has to build up the courage to talk to the Little Red-Haired Girl in the real world, while Snoopy has to use his mad flying skills to defeat the Red Baron and rescue the love of his life in the fantasy world. As in the comics, it's not about the success of failure of a specific attempt but rather how you go about pursuing your goal.

Although Charlie Brown is the star, "The Peanuts Movie" doesn't skimp on the supporting characters. Everyone you know and love is here, including some of the lesser-known characters from the early years of the Peanuts comic strip. No matter when you started reading, you're sure to recognize some familiar faces.

Preserving those faces is one of the reasons why "The Peanuts Movie" works so well. Blue Sky Studios did an excellent job of rendering the characters as 3D models while still retaining the look and feel of the traditionally animated 2D originals. They all look and act just as you would expect, as if they had always been rendered this way. Schulz himself would likely approve.

While Charlie Brown's story of self-discovery is the focus, the animators also managed to pack the film with a large number of classic Peanuts moments. Whether it's the yanked football, the kite-eating tree, Linus hanging on to his blanket, Lucy's psychiatric advice stand, or one of the countless others, they all serve as memorable nods to the franchise's long history. More impressively, none of the moment felt forced; instead, they all happened organically as the story progressed.

Snoopy and Woodstock are rendered just as well as the Peanuts kids. Snoopy even has a noticeable layer of fur on him, making him look like a living plush doll. It may sound a little weird, but the on-screen effect is good. It adds to the charm of the character.

Even though Snoopy can't talk, his emotions are well conveyed through grunts, grimaces and physical actions. All of the human characters seem to embody one primary emotion; Snoopy embodies them all. In that regard, he is the most well-rounded of the gang.

When Snoopy isn't trying to sneak into school or help Charlie Brown get the girl, he's busy fighting the Red Baron in the skies over Europe. And by "skies over Europe," I mean "using his imagination to pretend that the local neighborhood is a World War I battleground." "The Peanuts Movie" intersperses the Red Baron segments in between the main plot segments, but they aren't totally isolated. For example, in one scene, Snoopy is trying to cross a wire. It then cuts to real life, where he is climbing across a row of Christmas lights.

The "real life" bits of Snoopy's segments offer some neighborhood background, but they also highlight the ingenuity of a child's imagination. Sometimes, adults need a friendly reminder about the joys of childhood.

"The Peanuts Movie" doesn't quite reach the emotional highs of "Inside Out," but it's still a sweet film about the trials and tribulations of growing up. We've all had our good and bad days, just like Charlie Brown. We've all had crazy adventures, just like Snoopy. "The Peanuts Movie" reminds us that through it all, remaining true to yourself is the most important thing.

Score: 8.0/10

"The Peanuts Movie" is rated G and has a running time of 1 hour and 26 minutes. It is showing in 2-D and 3-D.

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