Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie review – wry comic strip update

Colourful 3D animation brightens up the beloved creations of Charles Schulz, but the humour and observations remain the same

This return to the cinema for the stars of Charles M Schulz’s beloved comic strip has heritage credibility; it is co-written by Craig and Bryan Schulz (with Cornelius Uliano), respectively son and grandson of Charles, and uses archive recordings of Bill Melendez (the one person Schulz entrusted to bring his creations to the screen) to lend voice to Snoopy and Woodstock.

Fans of such classic screen incarnations as 1965’s TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas may balk at the colourful digital 3D that leads us into some loop-de-looping dogfights between Snoopy and the cursed Red Baron, but for the most part there’s a reassuring “go fly a kite” simplicity to the visuals; north of the 2D cut-outs of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut naturally, but still far, far south of the motion-capture of The Adventures of Tintin.

The plot is familiar: habitual klutz Charlie Brown has a mouth-wobbling crush on his new red-headed classmate, while Snoopy explores a vivid fantasy world and Lucy delivers withering diagnoses from her pop psychology lemonade stand. Most of the old rules are adhered to (adults speak gobbledegook, Lucy is never to be trusted with a football), and there’s no attempt to update the old-fashioned Americana of the source – for better or worse. Overall, wry observation and pathos take precedence over crowd-pleasing slapstick, although some dreary pop songs prove a drag.

Watch the trailer for Snoopy and Charlie Brown.


Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

The GuardianTramp

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