So About That New Peanuts Movie

Today I learned that Charles M. Schultz’s beloved Peanuts franchise is getting a new feature film. As a long-time fan of Mr. Schultz, I was curious. So I took to Google. Here’s what came up:

“For the first time ever, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang we know and love from Charles Schulz’s timeless “Peanuts” comic strip will be making their big-screen debut; like they’ve never been seen before in a CG-Animated Feature film in 3D.”

*sigh* Nitpicking time.

First of all, I’m going to ignore that misused semicolon there; it should be self-evident that the second clause is incomplete.

Second, “first time ever?” Um, I’m sorry, person who wrote that, but are you joshing me here? What about Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!) (Released May 30, 1980), in which Linus and Charlie Brown travel to France to visit Linus’s pen pal? What about Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (August 24, 1977), in which the Peanuts Gang compete in a river raft race one summer at camp? What about Snoopy Come Home (August 9, 1972), where Snoopy runs away to visit his long-lost first owner, who has been in the hospital for an undisclosed amount of time? Or what about their very first feature film—their “big-screen debut,” if you will: A Boy Named Charlie Brown (November 4, 1969).

To the best of my knowledge, all of these films were released in theaters. All of these films have been released on VHS and later on DVD. They used to be played regularly on television during the ’80s and ’90s. I grew up watching these movies, and the Charlie Brown TV specials, and the This Is America, Charlie Brown mini-series.

I think it’s great that the Peanuts Gang are getting their first movie in over 30 years. I think it’s great that the script was written by two of Charles Schultz’s descendants. I’m even willing to look past the use of 3D animation, which I’m okay with sometimes (see Wall-E and Frozen), but personally I think it lacks the warmth and the character of traditional hand-drawn animation. Admittedly, I haven’t been all that fond of the movies made by this particular studio, but I’m willing to give this movie a shot.

You’ve caught my interest. As a long-time Peanuts fan, I am virtually obligated to watch this movie when it comes out. From what I’ve read in interviews, you, the filmmakers, seem to care an awful lot about Mr. Schultz’s reputation and are invested in maintaining the integrity of his characters. That’s more than can be said about certain merchandising decisions. For the moment at least, you’ve earned my cautious optimism.

…But don’t claim that this is the first Peanuts movie. It may be the first movie with that name, but it’s hardly the first movie starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, the van Pelt siblings, and the rest of the Peanuts Gang.

p.s. If Rerun van Pelt makes an appearance in this movie, I am walking out of the theater.

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