The Peanuts Movie

I left the theater saddened

According to many critics, you should go see this technically elaborate treatment (by the Ice Age wonks) of the venerable and observant Charles Schulz comic strip.

I am not among them, and I’ll tell you why (apologies in advance for the pure, churlish subjectivity): I actually remember the first Peanuts strip. I was five. And I liked the Vince Guaraldi-scored animated TV specials. These have endured because they captured and conveyed the small joys and frustrations of being a kid. Simple, no?

This cash-grab brings the unique material down to multiplex level. The story, scripted by Schulz’s son and grandson, dutifully hits all its marks: the kite-eating tree, failing at baseball, Snoopy as WWI ace, etc. But you’re not supposed to even see, let alone hear, the formerly off-panel little red-haired girl, and the neurotic Charlie Brown is certainly not supposed to score points with her. Aaugh! In a bloated subplot, Snoopy zooms around a lot in his flying doghouse, mostly to give the colossally useless 3-friggin’-D something to do. I left the theater saddened. Now—good grief!—there’s even a video game.

Will it play in Japan? Kiddy Land devotes an entire floor to Snoopy stuff. Japanese title: I Love Snoopy: The Peanuts Movie. (88 min)