Most people have first impressions or early thoughts. I have prime reactions. This time I’m prime reacting to The Peanuts Movie.
To start, I’m not a huge Peanuts fan. I’ve seen the cartoons, read the comic strip, and the specials are still on television for easy access. While the characters and staple scenes are simply unforgettable, I just wasn’t super in to it.
When I saw the trailer, I thought it was interesting. That they were going to give a face to the little red-haired girl was honestly groundbreaking. Still no advances in revealing the adults though. Wasn’t too hyped to see it, but wanted to anyway as one of the final films I’d see this year.
And… it was fine. If you’re a Peanuts fan, there’s plenty to get your nostalgia going. There are countless throwbacks and references that are all too familiar. It’s cute, heartwarming, and most importantly it feels like a Peanuts movie. This easily could’ve been another cheap cash-in, but there was a clear effort to ensure the spirit of the franchise was a priority.
It gives new audiences exposure to famous scenes we’ve known for decades. Those who are already fans will get more of the same, but there’s enough new content to make it a worthwhile watch for them.
The animation and art style I like a lot. It’s clearly done with computers, but it still feels like Peanuts. It’s hard to describe, but it has a 2D feel even if you know it’s 3D. I have to add that the various hairstyles of the Peanuts characters actually bounce and move with them. I know that’s a weird thing to mention, but it was fascinating seeing that compared to the old cartoons.
There’s nothing to hate about it. If there’s one sort of negative, it’s that even for 90 minutes, it can be slowish. That in some ways is the nature of Peanuts from what I remember. Do I really need to see those Red Baron scenes? Do they add anything to the movie? Do they advance the plot at all? No, no, and no. But I give it a pass solely because it’s a Peanuts staple. Such scenes might work in the comic strip, but if you need to adapt them, of course they’ll be thrown in instead of feeling organic. At the very least I can applaud them for keeping it to 90 minutes. They did what they wanted to do without being too heavy-handed.
There’s a scene mid-credits I was expecting throughout movie. Almost thought it didn’t make the cut, but they sneaked it in anyway. Good for them. It shows that they know what they’re doing. I would’ve been disappointed if this wasn’t in the movie as I’m sure real Peanuts fans would’ve been.
This isn’t a hard recommend, but it’s worth checking out. I don’t have anything but respect for this movie. It wasn’t meant to revive the franchise in an effort to sell toys. There are certainly toys to sell, but I don’t think that was the point. Instead of cashing in on people’s nostalgia and pumping out an uninspired piece of poo like so many movies before it, they chose to go back to its roots and simply put out a Peanuts movie. If you’ve never seen Peanuts, this is Peanuts. If you have, lots of new stuff and jokes to keep it fresh.