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Film review - Snoopy: The Peanuts Movie is a delight for family and Schulz fans

More than a collection of gags, the movie succeeds as a coherent, big story and a delightful piece of entertainment in which each character shines

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 December, 2015, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 December, 2015, 1:30pm

Charles Schulz’s long-running newspaper comic strip Peanuts was originally aimed at adults, so an animated feature for kids risks dumbing down its acerbic wit and sarcasm in favour of slapstick. But older fans of Charlie Brown and Snoopy need not worry: this is an extremely faithful rendition of the strip.

The Peanuts Movie keeps the details and the spirit of the original wholly intact: Children will certainly giggle at the physical antics of Snoopy and co., but older viewers will be drawn to the insightful psychology that underlies everything the gang does.

The film benefits from the involvement of the Schulz family – Bryan Schulz, Charles’ grandson, wrote the script with his father Craig. The writers have developed a bigger story to contain the smaller segments that allow each character to shine, and the result succeeds as a coherent movie rather than a collection of gags.

The story revolves around the perpetually nervous Charlie Brown falling in love with his new neighbour, the Little Red-Haired Girl. Charlie works hard to impress his dream date, but he’s always foiled by his insecure nature. Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts do their best to help or hinder Charlie in his quest, while Snoopy the dog revisits his dream of being a first world war flying ace.

The animators have carefully transposed the cartoon characters to the big screen, and everyone looks as they should. Classic themes from the comic strip, including Lucy’s stint as an amateur psychiatrist, are dotted here and there, while modern additions like a break-dancing scene don’t jar at all. It’s a film that really is fun for all the family.

Snoopy: The Peanuts Movie opens on December 24