Monday, November 16, 2015

You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown

Recently, the new Peanuts Movie feature film was released and I was fortunate enough to see it on opening weekend.  For all those Star Wars fans pre-purchasing their movie tickets, I was more geeked over the release of this movie.  

For those who haven't seen it, and plan to, beware, there are some spoilers in this blog.  But, do come back to read this once you've seen it and comment if you agree (or disagree).

I grew up going to Peanuts movies in the theater.  From A Boy Named Charlie Brown to Snoopy Come Home, I didn't miss a showing.  You see, I was a huge Peanuts fan.  So much so, that I was never without a stuffed Snoopy in my arms. I had so many variations of stuffed Snoopy that when one would wear out, my Mom would say "he went to stuffed animal heaven" and I'd get a new one.  Seriously, I'd wear the "fluff" off of them!  I even had a Snoopy that was half the size of me dressed as the Red Baron.  One of the Snoopys made it into my annual photo shoot.  The Red Baron Snoopy was so worn out that his neck flopped to one side from me carrying him around everywhere by his neck before he "retired".  To this day, I still have a stuffed Snoopy.  Don't judge.

Hearing that a new feature film would be released stirred excitement and skepticism all at the same time.  I wanted it to be as good and the movies I remembered, but feared that surely now that Charles Schulz is gone, it wouldn't be the pure representation I longed for.  Au contraire mon frer.  It was simply the best.

The animation was exquisite and stayed true to the form of the original Peanuts cartoons and comics.  No mobile phones, no talk of Facebook or Twitter.  Praise Jesus.  An old-fashioned rotary phone still rang and made an appearance.  All Peanuts movies, cartoons and comics should have this timeless look and feel.  Thank you Blue Sky Productions.

The story has many running themes throughout the movie - a toy airplane for one - that takes us into Snoopy's life as the Red Baron.  And the little Red-Haired Girl plays a big role in the movie.  Charlie Brown is still trying to impress her and it seems, like always, he fails.  When he's recognized for having a perfect score on a test, he realizes it's Peppermint Patty's test, not his.  So, on stage, in front of all his classmates, he admits he's not the guy to receive Miss Othmar's medal.  He walks off the stage hanging his head.  At the end of the school year, everyone picks summer pen pals, and much to Charlie Brown's surprise, the little Red-Haired Girl picks him!  As she is getting on the bus to go off to camp, he asks her why.  And her response..."That's easy. It's because I admire the type of person you are."   Charlie Brown says "a wishy-washy failure?" and she recounts all the reasons why she admires him (which I'll omit so you can really enjoy the movie).  

If I was a Mom, I'd run to the theater to take my children to see this movie.  It is wholesome family entertainment, but more than that, it teaches them that good guys (or gals) don't always finish last.  Thank you Schulz family for bringing back my childhood friends in the most amazing way.  

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