The Peanuts Movie Parent Review
Capturing the spirit of Charles M. Schulz's original comic strip, this movie is a delightful tale of an insecure hero doing his best to succeed … with a little help from his friends.
The Peanuts Movie could have gone in one of many directions. It could have turned into an adult farce dealing with trendy issues, like environmentalism and sexuality. Or it could have played straight to the kids with those potty jokes that are so popular in that genre. Or, it could stick to the tried and true themes of its creator, Charles M. Schulz. Thankfully, in spite of being reworked into a stunning new 3D animation, this movie still depicts a world populated by a group of children who were never young, yet at the same time, never grew old.
In fact, if you are a fan of Peanuts, you may be happy (or disappointed) to discover just how closely the film adheres to its heritage. Many of the franchise’s iconic moments are worked into the screenplay, which Snoopy types out chapter-by-chapter while perched atop his red-roofed doghouse. The trusty beagle gets lots of screen time too, with his old nemesis The Red Baron.
Meanwhile the primary plot features Charlie Brown meeting a new schoolmate. Yup, the little redheaded girl has just moved in, and poor ‘ol Chuck is hoping he can start a new chapter in his less-than-stellar biography. Of course it isn’t as easy as having our protagonist go up and say “Hello”. Instead, as he notes, it seems everything is conspiring to interrupt his romantic ambitions.
Those who have their Peanuts Ph.D. will recognize the tone of this script as being consistent with the last couple of decades of Schulz’s work (unlike the earlier years of the comic where the topics were more reflective of societal change). In other words, this is lightweight stuff. Lucy’s psychiatric advice to Charlie Brown is simple—he needs to build his confidence. What follows is a delightful little tale of our hero doing his best to succeed … with a little help from his friends. The conclusion leads to a powerful message for young audiences about the importance of ethics and honesty.
Aside from the expected name-calling (political correctness doesn’t stop Lucy from referring to Charlie Brown as a blockhead) and a few verbal battles, there are no profanities. Violence includes Snoopy throwing a typewriter at Lucy and the dog taking aim at The Red Baron, whom we see headed toward a crash landing in a forest. This mild content accounts for the production’s rare G-rating in the US.
In his later years as his hands began to quiver from an essential tremor, Charles M. Schulz requested that nobody else every draw the Peanuts comic strip. Despite the desire to keep this tight rein on his work, I suspect he would be happy with this very familiar resurrection of his Peanuts characters, even if this 3D version provides Charlie Brown with an opportunity to learn a few things about himself.Directed by Steve Martino. Starring Bill Melendez, Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Alexander Garfin. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release November 6, 2015. Updated May 12, 2016
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Peanuts Movie here.
The Peanuts Movie Parents Guide
When Charlie Brown asks Lucy for advice on how he can look more attractive to a specific girl, Lucy tells him he “needs to be a winner.” What does this mean to you? What does Charlie Brown do that eventually allows him to reach his goal?
Discover the facts about the real Red Baron.