Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
Francesca Capaldi … Little Red-Haired Girl (voice)
Madisyn Shipman … Violet Gray (voice)
Noah Schnapp … Charlie Brown (voice)
Venus Schultheis … Peppermint Patty (voice)
Mariel Sheets … Sally Brown (voice)
Alexander Garfin … Linus (voice)
Hadley Belle Miller … Lucy van Pelt (voice)
Bill Melendez … Snoopy / Woodstock
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|Director:||Steve Martino—“Ice Age: Continental Drift” (2012), “Horton Hears a Who!” (2008)|
|Producer:||Blue Sky Studios
Twentieth Century Fox Animation
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts gang is being reintroduced to a whole new generation of kids in the long anticipated, “The Peanuts Movie.” A part-tribute to the Peanuts cartoons of the past 50-years, this animated film brings back all the familiar characters we love (Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, etc.), some of our favorite story lines (i.e., baseball, Snoopy’s novel, kite flying, the Red Baron) as well as the music made famous by Vince Guaraldi, mixed in with a little modern fare.
The movie begins with the kids enjoying an unexpected but very welcome day off from school due to snow. A new family arrives in the neighborhood that day, and life for Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp) will never be the same, because that family includes the little red-haired girl (Francesca Capaldi) that will soon occupy his daydreams from that day forward.
The young crush Charlie Brown feels for his new classmate drives him to step out and try and impress her, while at the same time trying to avoid any direct contact with her and risk embarrassing himself. Poor old Charlie Brown.
However, soon after the school’s standardized test scores are released, and it is found out that Charlie Brown has its first perfect score ever, he becomes a minor celebrity and everyone’s opinion of him changes. Will his new found fame give him the courage to finally talk to the little red-haired girl? Can Snoopy teach Charlie Brown how to dance in time for the upcoming school social? Will his younger sister Sally be able to profit from his celebrity status before it fades? Can Snoopy, flying his imaginary Sopwith Camel (WWI plane), ever defeat the Red Baron? Or, will Charlie Brown’s bad luck spoil the day in the end?
“The Peanuts Movie” is a light-hearted and completely family-friendly film with barely any objectionable content to speak of. Rated “G” for all audiences the only violence shown is “comic violence,” as in Snoopy’s dogfights, imagined crash landings including some peril, and both punches and objects thrown at characters, but none of which caused any lasting harm.
Over the years, much has been made about the Christian symbolism that can be found throughout in Peanuts, perhaps none more notable than in the book The Gospel According to Peanuts, so it should come as no surprise that a movie faithful to Charles Schulz’s vision, as well as co-written by his son and grandson, should continue some of those lessons.
Charlie Brown has the chance to shine in front of the whole school, including the little red-haired girl, but it becomes more important that he help his little sister instead. Despite his “loss,” Sally’s “gain” makes him smile. Thinking of others first is something that comes naturally to him and is one of the instructions Jesus gave to us, as well.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” —Luke 6:31
Charlie Brown reads that the first step to winning is to, “forget everything you know about yourself.” Considering that he has always thought of himself as a failure, this is good advice. As with Charlie Brown, many of us have been told by the world the things we must do in order to succeed, but, as the Bible tells us, these are lies. Likewise, many a wise sermon have centered on how Jesus’ one sacrifice for our sins has given us the pathway to put our “old ways” behind us and to experience the joy that comes with that.
Charlie Brown tries to psych himself up for the task at hand when he says, “I am worthy, I can do this!” Past experience has shown that often he cannot, and, yet, one of his most admirable qualities is that his hopes never dim. Neither should we lose hope, and instead trust in our Lord that He can accomplish in us, what we cannot do.
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” —Matthew 19:26
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians paints a picture of how Christians are to behave, and, in my opinion, this is a chief reason why we root for Charlie Brown, as he definitely exhibits these ideals.
The original “Peanuts,” as penned by Charles Schulz, never talked down to children “at their level,” but instead took an intelligent approach that was able to appeal to both young and old alike. This is much less the case with “The Peanuts Movie.” Some exciting moments featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown aside, the film focuses its attention on young audiences, and some of the film’s best lines happened to be ones that were written many years ago. I do recommend this sweet film, as it displays some rare but really honorable qualities that ought to be seen by today’s kids. However, to be properly enjoyed, “The Peanuts Movie” is best viewed alongside either your younger kids or grandkids so that you can share in their laughter, joy and wonder.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.