Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie review – return of a lovable loser

Revisiting an impossibly distant, pre-internet era, this quirky, homespun animation about a boy and his beagle exudes a nostalgic charm

In the age of Frozen and Inside Out, a new Peanuts animation might seem impossibly quirky and homespun, but there’s a certain charm to this new feature film based on Charles M Schulz’s globally popular syndicated cartoon strip about the round-headed boy and his beagle – an influence, surely, on Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury.

The film is set in the Peanuts heyday of the 60s/70s, with landline-dialler telephones and no internet, and it retains the somnolent Muzaky jazz-piano soundtrack I remember from the TV shows. There’s simple 2D-style animation, switching to rudimentary 3D graphics occasionally, but with the hand-drawn originals in the “thinks” bubbles – the newspaper cartoons have a stylish clarity that movie and TV versions always lacked. (And the silly, squeaky vocal sounds provided for Snoopy and Woodstock on screen never did justice to their elegant wit on the newspaper page.)

Then there is the droll, wan melancholy of poor Charlie Brown himself, a permanent loser who was depressed in an era when therapy wasn’t an obsession: though there were the five-cent stints at Lucy’s lemonade-style psychiatric advice stand. As ever, he dreams of popularity and impressing the little red-headed girl in class.

A Christmas nostalgia trip for parents.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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