Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Things To Do

Review: 'The Peanuts Movie' an innocent tribute to a beloved classic

Happiness is five different crayons, catching a firefly and knowing creators of The Peanuts Movie got it right.

This fifth and most elaborate big-screen version of Charles M. Schulz's beloved comic strip is another sort of modern animation miracle. In an age of digital chaos and deep emotional themes The Peanuts Movie keeps things sweet and simple, perfectly in tune with the qualities Schulz fans adore.

Consider it a result of family pride, with Schulz's sons co-writing the screenplay to legacy specifications. Director Steve Martino is comfortable with homage, after working with Dr. Seuss' estate for Horton Hears a Who. Nothing in The Peanuts Movie would be unsuitable in any strip, movie or TV special before it.

Charlie Brown, well-voiced by 10-year-old Noah Schapp, is still a lovable everykid, still searching for anything to make him feel good about himself. Advice from his classmate Lucy Van Pelt (Hadley Belle Miller) still costs a nickel and hurts more than it helps. Linus, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, all here as if stepping out of a Christmas special 50 more innocent years ago.

The plot is as arbitrary as Schulz's drawing whims, a compilation of his greatest strokes from kite calamities to Joe Cool. Charlie Brown's crush on the Little Red-Haired Girl and efforts to impress her are central, leading to gentle embarrassments at a school dance, talent show and class assembly.

Sure, all of this material was covered before on stage and television. Familiarity is part of Peanuts' appeal, knowing what to expect from longtime friends.

Meanwhile, Snoopy's attempts to write a World War I novel — still on a old-fashioned typewriter — threatens to take over the movie's second half. In the strip, Snoopy fantasized about a wartime romance that the movie shows, with Fifi (Kristin Chenoweth), a French poodle pilot snatched by the Red Baron. It's the movie's widest steer from nostalgia, a mild pandering like the out-of-place Meaghan Trainor tune.

Martino's visual palette retains traces of the comic strip's thin-line shapes and squiggles despite a mandatory upgrade to 3-D. The effect is tastefully managed, with only Snoopy's fantasy dogfights with the Red Baron edging toward optical overkill. Best of all, the character designs don't have that plastic chew-toy look 3-D can cause.

The Peanuts Movie is certain to satisfy longtime fans and perhaps make new ones, but who knows? Innocence is a tough sell these days. Happiness is the occasional movie that tries.

Contact Steve Persall at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.

Comments
Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Miss Vanjie talks her ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ exit, memes, drag roots

Tampa might have the worst track record when it comes to contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race.Both queens who hail from the Cigar City were eliminated right away during their seasons. Alisa Summers was the first boot on Season 4 in 2012. Then on Season ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

The best of what's on stage across Tampa Bay this week.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

Food events: Wine dinners, ancient drinking games and Filipino food

This week's best food events across Tampa Bay.
Updated: 2 hours ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What are you going to see?
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 21

Go Skateboarding Day: June 21 is the worldwide Go Skateboard Day and there’s free skateboarding all day at the skate park with free barbecue and a trick challenge. 8 a.m., Skatepark of Tampa, 4215 E Columbus Drive, Tampa. Free. (813) 621-6793; ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Ticket window: Comedy Get Down, Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Gladys Knight and more

Tickets for the following events go on sale this week: • Comedy Get Down with Cedric the Entertainer, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley and George Lopez, 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, $25-$125, on sale at 10 a.m....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanIt’s been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But he’s about to make up for lost time. On Saturday he’ll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Updated: 7 hours ago
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Updated: 7 hours ago