A true staple of holiday entertainment, Charlie Brown and his gang of misfit elementary school students stormed the big screen last weekend after nearly a 40 year break from theaters.
Created by “Ice Age” and “Rio” filmmakers Blue Sky Studios, “The Peanuts Movie” is by far the most visually impressive iteration of the classic comic strip penned by Charles Schulz, released on the 50th anniversary of the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Though “The Peanuts Movie” is an original tale which sees Charlie hide from and later try to impress the new red-headed girl in his class, everything about the film is honest and nostalgic to Peanuts lore, offering the best reboot of a classic family-friendly franchise in at least a decade.
Director Steve Martino – no doubt with help from comedy savant Paul Feig of “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” – does a tremendous job blending the classic characters with modern animation advances and just a few of today’s biggest musical hits to delight both young moviegoers new to Charlie, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and Woodstock as well as their parents, who will no doubt identify with the film while remembering “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
The only true flaw of the film, which is incredibly minor given how well made “The Peanuts Movie” is, comes from its overuse of Snoopy’s daydreaming adventures as World War II-era fighter pilot The Flying Ace trying to save a female poodle from his archrival The Red Baron. While a true classic plotline within Peanuts lore, Martino goes to the Flying Ace well probably one more time than he should have, putting Snoopy on equal footing with Charlie Brown instead of just one half-step behind.
Admittedly, this becomes nothing more than nitpicking in an otherwise fantastic family-friendly feature worth making a trip to the theaters for this holiday season.