The “Peanuts” cartoon strip has always had adult meanings beyond the age of the characters in the strip. This still rings true with “The Peanuts Movie.”
The movie stars newcomers Noah Schnapp as Charlie Brown and Hadley Belle Miller (“Sofia the First”) as Lucy. It also reuses the voice of Bill Melendez, who died in 2008. The reuse of Melendez’s voice was unnoticeable, because of Snoopy’s limited vocabulary. The voices of the newcomers were very similar to those used in previous “Peanuts” TV specials.
The movie mainly follows Snoopy and Charlie Brown. In fact, in foreign markets, the movie is actually called “Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie.” The main story of the movie revolves around Charlie Brown and a new kid, The Little Red Haired Girl. Throughout the movie, Charlie Brown attempts to muster the courage to talk to her and often attempts to impress the nameless character. This includes his practicing for the school dance competition and writing an extensive book report on “War and Peace.” With the help of Snoopy and other friends, Charlie Brown eventually learns a lesson about being true to himself and following what feels right in his heart.
In a parallel storyline, told through his typewriter and imagination, Snoopy must save his newfound love interest, Fifi (Kristin Chenoweth, “The Pink Panther”), from the dastardly Red Barron. Snoopy’s adventures go through a somewhat similar plotline as Charlie Brown’s. When Fifi gets kidnapped, Snoopy, with the help of his trusty sidekick, Woodstock, attempts to bring Fifi back.
“The Peanuts Movie” may seem like a simple attempt to profit from “Peanuts” nostalgia, but it is so much more than that. Within its hour and a half runtime, life lessons are repeatedly brought to the viewers’ attention.
“The Peanuts Movie” makes sure to remind the viewer that problems such as being too afraid to act on something or feeling like an outcast are normal and that life is not always as effortless as desired. The movie is not, however, depressing, noting that those with friends will persevere, learning how to be a better person from these experiences and recognize that they do not always have to deal with problems by themselves.
Most can relate to Charlie Brown in some way, and this is what makes the movie so enjoyable. The movie provides advice on how to deal with the bumps of life while not being preachy.