Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Peanuts Movie (3D) | Noah Schnapp, Alexander Garfin, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller, Mariel Sheets, Venus Shultheis, Noah Johnston, Rebecca Bloom, Kristin Chenoweth | Review

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4 Chicks Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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The Peanuts Movie (3D) | Noah Schnapp, Alexander Garfin, Bill Melendez, Hadley Belle Miller, Mariel Sheets, Venus Shultheis, Noah Johnston, Rebecca Bloom, Kristin Chenoweth | Review

The beloved comic strip may be 65 years old, but its stars are eternal children, ones whose names, mannerisms and catchphrases we know by heart.

The Peanuts Movie’s Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp, voice) and the Peanuts gang fill the big screen with big-time nostalgia.  Linus (Alexander Garfin, v) Lucy (Hadley Belle Miller, v), Sally (Mariel Sheets, v) Peppermint Patty (Venus Shultheis, v) Schroeder (Noah Johnston, v) Marcie (Rebecca Bloom, v) Pigpen (A.J. Tecce, v) Franklin (Marleik Mar Mar Walker, v) Violet (Madisyn Shipman, v) Shermy (William Wunsch, v) and the Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi, v) dance, skate, and populate the precocious, adult-free zone of the iconic 50’s comic strip and the 60’s television specials in modern day CGI and 3D, but largely unchanged from their creator’s (Charles M. Schulz) vision.

Charlie Brown remains the well-meaning fumbler, down on his luck and himself.  In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find something that differs from your memories of Charlie & Co. from the books, Sunday comics, and holiday specials of your youth.  Lucy’s still offers five cent psychiatric advice, Linus still holds his security blanket and tries to fend off Sally, who has a crush on him.  Schroeder still plays the piano, constantly pursued by Lucy.  Peppermint Patty still issues orders to Marcie, who addresses her as “Sir.”  Pig-Pen still maneuvers within a cloud of dust.

Snoopy and Woodstock (Bill Melendez, v) still hold court atop the little red doghouse, which turns into a WWI flying machine engaged in aerial combat with the Red Baron for the love of a Parisian poodle named Fifi (Kristin Chenoweth, v).  The animal characters, squeak, whimper and communicate insistently without words.  Adults are never seen, but sometimes heard with classic “wah, wah” utterances.

These “I remember that!” moments are woven around the tale of Charlie Brown’s crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl, who moves into his neighborhood, classroom, and heart.  Can the boy who never flew a kite without it getting caught in a tree, the boy who could never kick a football without falling, reinvent himself?  Will he get the Little Red-Haired Girl to see the good, decent fellow he really is?

Director Steve Martino (Dr Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who) and 20th Century Fox-owned Blue Sky Studios animators preserve the gang’s legendary subtle humor and comic integrity, helped greatly by Craig and Bryan Schulz, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s son and grandson, who co-wrote the script along with Cornelius Uliano.  There’s a legacy to maintain, after all.

Animators endeavored to capture Schulz’s pen strokes, recreating the iconic characters in full face and profile (a challenge) and the child voice actors even sound like their 1960’s counterparts.  The resulting effort is instantly and comfortingly recognizable, although the 3D effect is negligible aside from some early flourishes designed to wow younger viewers.  If there is a drawback it is the annoying need to place modern-day music into the mix.  Meaghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancin’” seems out of place, especially when there’s Vince Guaraldi’s piano to play “Linus and Lucy” while the gang dances.

Good grief!  Any blockhead knows that!