The One Reason Why You Have to See 'The Peanuts Movie'

The One Reason Why You Have to See 'The Peanuts Movie'

Nov 04, 2015

If it hasn't happened to you yet, there will come a time in your life when the following words will begrudgingly spill out of your mouth: "They don't make 'em like they used to!"

These were the words that immediately came to my mind after watching The Peanuts Movie, a charming, sincere throwback to a different kind of animated movie that doesn't really exist anymore. There's no clever wink-winks at the audience or a smattering of jokes that soar over a child's head because they're meant to reel in adults. You won't find yourself a slobbering mess as the credits roll, and it's probably not deep or complex enough to warrant multiple Oscar nominations (though don't be surprised if its original song, "Better When I'm Dancing," becomes this year's "Happy").

Charlie Brown isn't on Snapchat, and you don't have to worry about any clever Facebook references or Schroeder playing his piano on an iPad. There's no YouTube, Twitter or Vine, either, because in this wacky alternate universe, kids actually play outside. In fact, when the film opens Charlie Brown is attempting to fly a kite while all his friends play at the park. Imagine that!

What The Peanuts Movie accomplishes is that it's unabashedly old school in its approach to the material, despite the fact that our movie-going sensibilities have no doubt changed in the decades since Charlie Brown and his crew first came into our lives. Yes they've got a new CG'd look and you have the option of watching the movie in 3D, but aside from those visual upgrades this is straight-up wholesome entertainment that remains so true to the Peanuts original foundation, you walk out kind of surprised they managed to pull it off in 2015.

Not just that, but also how enjoyable it all is.

In a year where two intense, imaginative, psychological roller-coasters (Inside Out, Anomalisa) will no doubt battle for Oscar gold (and deservedly so), The Peanuts Movie is like the equivalent of pulling out those old home movies from the attic and sitting around with a big 'ol smile on your face for 90 minutes. It's just easy, innocent and comfortable, and it means well.

It's also brilliantly constructed to appeal to the mind of a young child by paying off what it sets up almost immediately. When the kids talk about a school dance coming up, we're at the school dance in the next scene. When they talk about a big talent show, we're at the talent show in the next scene. Even though there are some storylines that play out over the course of the entire movie -- like Charlie Brown's schoolyard crush on the new girl and Snoopy's fantastical parallel quest to rescue his crush from the fearless Red Baron -- the film never makes you wait for the good stuff because every scene features the good stuff.

So yes, you should see The Peanuts Movie because they really don't make 'em like this anymore. If you're a fan of the Peanuts characters, think of the film as a sort of "greatest hits" of all the best Peanuts bits you've enjoyed over the years (and make sure you stay through the first half of the credits for even more).

If you're not as familiar with the Peanuts or have children who don't really know Charlie Brown because all they watch are weird food-challenge videos on YouTube, then not only will The Peanuts Movie inject a little more free-spirited life into their childhood, but it'll also show them how much they can accomplish by being honest, kind and loyal.

And that's more valuable than any Oscar, Charlie Brown. 

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