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Steve Martino
Noah Schnapp, Alex Garland, Hadley Belle Miller, Bill Melendez
Writing Credits:
Bryan Schulz, Craig Schulz & Cornelius Uliano


Box Office:
$99 Million.
Opening Weekend
$44,213,073 on 3,897 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated G

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 3/8/2016
• 6 “Snoopy Snippets”
• “You Never Grow Up, Charlie Brown” Featurettes
• “Snoopy’s Sibling Salute” Featurette
• “Learn to Draw” Featurettes
• Music Videos
• “Behind the Scenes” of Music Video
• “Snoopy’s Playlist”
• Gallery
• 5 Trailers
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Peanuts Movie [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 13, 2016)

When Charles Schulz died in 2000, the Peanuts comic strip went with him. Actually, Schulz had already retired after 50 years, but his passing – which literally occurred on the same day that his final cartoon saw print – sealed that deal. Other comics continue long after their creators’ demise, but Schulz decreed that no one would ever write/draw Peanuts but him.

In strip form, that is. While Peanuts the comic strip ended in 2000, the characters live on in other formats. Since Schulz’s death, seven animated TV specials hit the air, and of course, Charlie Brown and company continue to shill for various products in TV and print commercials.

However, Schulz’s characters hadn’t appeared in a feature film since 1980’s Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown. This fallow period ended with a 2015 computer animated experience simply called The Peanuts Movie.

Charlie Brown (voiced by Noah Schnapp) never can seem to get ahead, as all his endeavors fail. He can’t fly a kite, he can’t win a baseball game, and lacks a wealth of friends.

Charlie’s life complicates more when a cute Little Red-Haired Girl (Francesca Capaldi) moves into his neighborhood. Instantly smitten, Charlie attempts to find ways to befriend her.

Going into The Peanuts Movie, many long-time fans feared the worst. For one, they thought the move from Schulz’s simple 2D creations to the 3D world of computer animation would rob the characters of their natural qualities, and they also worried that the filmmakers would try to give Peanuts a wacky 21st century spin. Nightmares about “rapping Snoopy” and fart jokes abounded.

I’m happy to say that The Peanuts Movie avoids all those pitfalls. Yes, it can feel jarring to see the CG depiction of the characters, but they remain fairly true to the source. They look “different” but they don’t take enormous liberties with the drawings we've loved for so many decades.

The Peanuts Movie also stays faithful to the source. I won’t say it seems dated or old-fashioned, but it avoids the “modern” pitfalls that could’ve occurred. We get a story and humor that would feel at place in the original strips, so the movie seems faithful to the source.

Unfortunately, I think it might be a little too respectful, as the movie finds it tough to create an identity of its own. Sure, it nods in the vague direction of more modern films, but it largely reinforces out pre-existing notions.

This mean aspects of Peanuts feel like a “greatest hits reel”. Charlie Brown fails to fly a kite. Charlie Brown gets roughed up at baseball. Charlie Brown visits Lucy the psychiatrist. Snoopy pursues the Red Baron. Vince Guaraldi music plays and trombone sounds imitate adults.

I understand Peanuts finds itself somewhat in “no-win” territory. If it deviates too much from the source, old folks like me complain that it’s “not accurate”. If it adheres too closely to the model, whiners like me gripe that it’s not creative enough.

To be fair, the movie doesn’t slavishly rehash elements. It broadens some horizons and offers a moderately intriguing story, especially when Charlie Brown briefly becomes popular and successful. These elements allow the film to go down some fun tangents.

In a moderate way, at least, as Peanuts never really catches fire – partly due to that excessive respect for the source material I mentioned. I feel like all involved worried so much they’d violate Schulz’s legacy that they bent over backwards to sand down any possible rough edges.

None of this makes Peanuts a bad movie, as it stays resolutely watchable from beginning to end. I also appreciate its spirit, as it seems much more sweet and gentle than one expects from a cartoon circa 2015 – the scene in which Charlie Brown sacrifices his own needs to help his sister Sally feels especially charming.

I simply think the package lacks enough spark to make it memorable. Peanuts creates mild entertainment without a great deal of inspiration to carry it.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus C

The Peanuts Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the movie looked great.

Sharpness was always excellent. Virtually no instances of softness appeared, as the flick demonstrated nice clarity and delineation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to mar this clean, fresh image.

Peanuts boasted a broad palette, one that tended to favor something of a pastel feel. The movie featured a wide variety of hues, and the disc made them look quite good. The tones seemed lively and full throughout the movie. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows looked clear and well-delineated. Overall, the presentation seemed strong.

Though not as good as the visuals, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio of Peanuts also satisfied. The soundfield wasn’t super-active, but it provided a good sense of place. The flick featured enough action-oriented scenes to add a reasonable amount of pizzazz to the package.

Most of these stemmed from Snoopy’s fantasies about his battles with the Red Baron. Those sequences allowed a lot of information to spread to the side and rear speakers. The elements opened up matters well, with nice localization and integration. While I couldn’t identify any real standout segments, the mix provided a good overall impression.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech was natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns. Music showed fine vivacity and depth, and effects also delivered solid presence. Those elements were consistently full and clear; no distortion interfered, and bass response seemed fine. Again, this was a good mix that worked well for the material.

The Blu-ray offers a bunch of largely kid-friendly extras. Under Snoopy Snippets, we find six clips that run a total of two minutes, 45 seconds. These are brief animated segments that offer a minor amount of amusement.

Within You Never Grow Up, Charlie Brown, we get three featurettes. We see “From Panels to Screen” (6:59), “Good Ol’ Charles Schulz and the Peanuts Gang” (13:00) and “We’re In a Movie, Charlie Brown” (10:24). Across these, we hear from director Steve Martino, writer/producer/son Craig Schulz, widow Jean Schulz, producers Paul Feig and Michael J. Travers, Charles M. Schulz Studio creative director Paige Braddock, lead animator Jeff Gabor, Charles M. Schulz director Karen Johnson, Charles M. Schulz Museum archivist Cesar Gallegos, story artist Karen Disher, lead animators Matthew Doble, BJ Crawford and Raymond Ross, animation supervisors Scott Carroll and Nick Bruno, character “inspiration” Harriet Glickman, art director Nash Dunnigan, lead character technical director Sabine Heller, and actor Marleik Walker. Peanuts universe and thoughts about Charles Schulz, the decision to make a new movie, the evolution of the strip, characters and adapting for the screen, animation and going to 3D. A smattering of good thoughts appear – mainly during the animation discussion in “Movie” – but the programs seem awfully fluffy and filled with happy talk. That makes them less than substantial.

The one-minute, 55-second Snoopy’s Sibling Salute uncludes remarks from Martino, Travers, Caroll, Bruno, Braddock, and Gallegos. They discuss the little tag at the movie’s end and offer a few notes about Snoopy’s clan. It’s another fluffy piece.

Next we get three Learn to Draw segments. These look at Snoopy (4:13), Woodstock (3:04) and Charlie Brown (4:02). In these, director Steve Martino teaches us how to sketch those characters. The snippets offer some fun material.

A few music videos follow. Get Down with Snoopy and Woodstock combines a dance remix of the Peanuts theme with movie clips. It seems utterly uninspired.

Two versions of “Better When I’m Dancin’” from Meghan Trainor appear. One is a standard video, while the other provides a “lyric video”. The latter plays the song over movie clips – with the words on-screen, of course – while the former provides a true music video in which Trainor and others dance a whole lot. It’s not a great video, but it’s okay – and I appreciate the absence of movie snippets. The Peanuts characters dance along with Trainor but not in film clip form.

Behind the Scenes goes for two minutes, 53 seconds and looks at the making of the Trainor video. It includes notes from Trainor, some of her family members and choreographer “Charm”. We learn next to nothing about the shoot in this puffy reel.

With Snoopy’s Playlist, we get a form of chapter search. It lists 16 musical moments in the movie and you can select any you want to see – or with “Play All” to view them as one long 27-minute, 52-second collection. It doesn’t appeal to me, but it seems harmless.

A Gallery breaks in four areas. We examine “Concept Art” (33 frames), “Color Keys” (14), “Characters” (35), and “Final Art” (34). Since “Final Art” essentially just shows shots from the movie, it’s not especially useful, but the others present good images.

The disc opens with ads for Ice Age: Collision Course, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Sneak Peek adds promos for Home, Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Tales and The Sound of Music 50th Anniversary Edition. We also find five trailers for Peanuts.

A second disc offers a DVD Copy of Peanuts. It includes all the extras except for the “You Never Grow Up” featurettes.

As much as I admire the source material, I can’t get too excited about The Peanuts Movie. Though the film comes with some charms and has a sweet nature, it simply lacks much creativity or inventiveness. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals and positive audio but lacks substantial supplements. Peanuts seems likely to work for kids but will probably do less for adults.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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