I suppose Peanuts, the comic strip, has dimmed in the public consciousness since Schulz’s death in 2000. As a kid’s IP, the ageing Peanuts brand has a lot to do in a world with Minions and Frozen. I left the theatre mostly satisfied; this is the Peanuts you remember – sweet, nostalgic and populated by clean-cut white kids (and a beagle). Peanuts is the anti-South Park.
I have vague memories of the cartoon and the voices all seemed ‘right’; which is to say, bells were rung in my foggy brain. The film is hell-bent on nostalgia, and, like many dormant franchises, tries to jam-pack its runtime with as many references (greatest hits) as possible: Charlie losing his clothes after pitching a baseball, Snoopy in a WW1 ‘dogfight’, Lucy dispensing advice from her psychology booth. These snippets are fun, but the film’s heart lies in Charlie’s accident-prone attempts to negotiate his feelings for the Little-Red-Haired-Girl. It works as a sincere parable for selflessness and a bittersweet portrait of youth with all its awkwardness and innocence.
Ultimately The Peanuts Movie is a great product for its target audience: toddlers and parents. If you’re a fan of the comic, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.