The Peanuts Movie Falls Short
Love him or don’t. If you’ve lived in America in the last 65 years that lovable round-headed loser Charlie Brown has been part of your life in some way or another. He is about as recognizable as Mikey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. Originally a comic strip in newspapers the Peanuts hit the big time in the late 1960’s when they started producing made for TV movies. A couple dozen movies, a few Emmy’s, and a decent hiatus later we’ve been given The Peanuts Movie (2015). A respectable re-boot that starts off strong but fizzles out by the end. Despite having a run time of 92 minutes, it felt about 30 minutes too long.
The synopsis for this film is unimportant as the story is so generic that the only excitement we see is a small subplot that is a story Snoopy is writing about a dog-fighter who falls in love and takes on the Red Baron after kidnapping said love interest. This is not nearly enough to make this movie interesting. It’s not that this movie is un-watchable, or even really bad really. It’s just that it’s about as mediocre that you can get. I do have to give the film makers respect for staying true to the spirit of The Peanuts. It also was just not enough.
When reviewing this film I kept one thing in the back of mind. An incident that happened back in 1987 in which Siskel and Ebert got into an argument over the film Benji the Hunted, which Ebert gave a thumbs up, and Full Metal Jacket which he gave a thumbs down. During this argument Ebert said something that will always stick with me whenever I’m being critical of a film. “You realize these reviews are relative. Benji the Hunted is not 1/3 the film, 1/10 the film that the Kubrick film is. It’s not fair for you to compare those two films, and you should be ashamed of yourself.” So when I review a movie aimed towards a different demographic than my own I try to look at the movie from someone else’s prospective.
This was the first screening I took my four year old daughter to. She was quite excited for the experience, but this was by no means her first movie going experience. I watched her reactions, and paid attention to how much she paid attention. Afterwards we talked over lunch about the movie. She was overly positive about it, as I expected her to be. She was over the moon for Snoopy, and glowed when talking about the plot. This unfortunately contradicted her behavior in the theater though. Three-quarters through the movie she became restless as did I. This wasn’t just typical four year old behavior either, as she has sat through much longer films in the theater and remained piqued.
When it comes down to it this film won’t be considered a classic. There is a myriad of other movies for the kids to watch that are a lot better than this.