Charlie Brown officially turns 67 this year but as the new Peanuts Movie proves he is still the lovable, unlucky youngster who seems to fail at everything he tries – with the help or hindrance from a range of friends, or “frenemy” in the case of resident psychiatrist and mean girl Lucy.
In the latest big screen offering from the famous creations of cartoonist Charles M Schulz Charlie adds to his usual woes by falling head over heels in love with the “cute little red-haired girl” who moves in across the street and then appears in his classroom, where he can sit and stare at the back of her head all day long. Linus offers the advice that Charlie should simply go up and talk to her, but convinced this will never work Charlie decides to show her what a winner he is through school activities that include writing a book report for her and taking part in a dance competition. In typical Charlie Brown style each attempt to win her undying love results in his misery and embarrassment, showing that not even in the world of love can “Chuck” catch a break.
No Peanuts film would be complete without everyone’s favourite beagle Snoopy, who finds time to write his own exciting story of adventure and love on an abandoned typewriter whilst still trying his best to help Charlie succeed in life.
Directed by Steve Martino the script has been penned by the son and grandson of Schulz (Craig and Byron Schulz) insuring the name and artistic influence of the Peanuts creator is kept front and centre for this 5th full-length movie offering. The animation may not be ground-breaking, but the amount of nostalgia for those who grew up with the Peanut cartoons more than makes up for this. Children will also enjoy what is at heart simply a nice family movie about a boy and his dog trying to make their way in the world. The storyline offers no great surprises (after 67 years viewers expect Charlie to fail, Lucy to give terrible advice for 5 cents a time, Patty to fall asleep in class and Schroeder to play the piano) but there are plenty of laughs, and nice animated details that everyone can enjoy. This includes moments of original black and white pencilled details from the newspaper cartoon.
Take the children to this one, then sit back and let yourself enjoy a 93 minute trip back to your own youth. The urge to sit there and cry out “Come on Charlie Brown!” is worth it!