Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Peanuts Movies

The Peanuts Movie is good, no great -- at the same time it's different enough that there's something special and endearing about it.

I saw this with my kids this weekend and was thankful that it not only held their attention, but was also a sweet movie free of scary scenes, hidden adult humor or agenda-driven story lines.

I personally find The Peanuts comic strip to be simply not funny. An iconic comic strip that never really captured me. I want to like the Peanuts specials that air, but we watched a few with the kids and found them feeling slow and disjointed.

Yet, somehow keeping all the campy charm of the comic and specials, this movie figures out how to speed the pacing up just a bit to create a feature length story that is touching -- nice work writers!

The one thing is this story that I found very special was the way that Charlie Brown's timid story line mirrored Snoopy's brave story line and in the midst of the contrast there was still a beautiful overlap of fear, bravery, and our own humanity. We often spend so much time defining our experience by who we are (outgoing, shy, silly, smart, a victim of our situation, etc.) but crossing through that is some core similarities. A care about who we in the eyes of others, who are in the eyes of ourselves, and the desire to be something special.

I am not sure how this film ages over time or whether it makes it way to family video cabinets or part of holiday traditions. But I am always amazed at projects like this that present the ultimate challenge of being genuine to an original and add something safely to it without isolating audiences. In this case, I see it as a true success.
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