Yeah, I know, it’s officially Christmas time and I should probably be featuring a Christmas movie (says Adam in response to the imaginary flood of angry letters from diehard yuletide fans), and I just posted A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving last week, but I saw The Peanuts Movie this weekend and loved it.
It’s been 50 years since the first Peanuts animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, was released, and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see how loyal this movie was to the sweet simplicity of those old animated specials.
The Peanuts Movie was produced by Blue Sky Studios (Ice Age) and distributed by 20th Century Fox (Glitter)…(wait, did they do other movies, too?). It was the first Peanuts film since the death of Charles Schulz back in 2000. It came about when Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz, came up with an idea for the film and showed it to his screenwriter son, Bryan Schulz. No word yet on when the Schulz family will do the world a favor and just add a “t” to their name so I stop misspelling it. (And yes, if you were following that statement closely, I = the world.)
And though this was the first Peanuts film made with computer-generated imagery, the director, Steve Martino, and the animators spent over a year studying Schulz’s Peanuts comics and previous animated specials to capture the warmth and nuances of Schulz’s original artwork. Personally, I think they did a fantastic job. I also think that I do a fantastic job of pointing out other fantastic jobs.
Following Peanuts tradition, Charlie Brown and all his friends are voiced by real children. Other voices include recycled Snoopy and Woodstock noises from Bill Melendez, as well as some voice work from Kristin Chenoweth for Fifi (Snoopy’s female counterpart). Though she’s most known for originating the role of Glinda in the musical Wicked, she won a Tony Award years before for her portrayal of Sally in Broadway’s revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Meghan Trainor wrote the lead song for The Peanuts Movie, titled “Better When I’m Dancin.’” She explained, “They wanted a song about confidence and knew I was good at writing those. I feel better when I’m on stage dancing and having fun, so I wrote about that!” The rest of the soundtrack is mostly from composer Christopher Beck, who blended his score with much of Vince Guaraldi’s classic jazz pieces. And then there’s Flo Rida.
OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Filmmakers made Meghan Trainor her own Peanuts character, hoping she’d love the little body and face. And from what I’ve heard, she was all about that face, ‘bout that face.
I’ve discovered a lot about The Peanuts Movie from this Washington Post article, but one quote from the director, Steve Martino, really caught my eye:
“Charlie Brown is that guy who, in the face of repeated failure, picks himself back up and tries again. That’s no small task. I have kids who aspire to be something big and great… a star football player or on Broadway. I think what Charlie Brown is—what I hope to show in this film—is the everyday qualities of perseverance… to pick yourself back up with a positive attitude—that’s every bit as heroic… as having a star on the Walk of Fame or being a star on Broadway. That’s the [story’s] core.”
We all screw up. Repeatedly. The greatness within imperfect people is manifest not in outward achievement but inward improvement. So hang in there. Things will work out if you stick close to the Lord.
“For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness. Even so. Amen.” — Doctrine & Covenants 82:24