The Peanuts Movie
Watching this film feels as comfortable as Linus with his blanket. Who doesn't love the Peanuts characters?
Snoopy has the most range. We love his imagination, and his inventiveness, and his sheer joy in living. We love how he fashions himself to be a writer ("It was a dark and stormy night....") but never quite gets there. He also fancies himself as a World War I fighter pilot, but the Red Baron always gets the better of him. ("Curse you, Red Baron!")
Charlie Brown, for his part, is in love with the new red-haired girl, but he just doesn't know how to show it. He can't bring himself to ring her doorbell and talk to her, even though she is right across the street. He finally decides that entering the school talent show would help him to get noticed by her, but when his sister has a disaster in her entry, he throws away his opportunity in order to help her (and the new little red-haired girl notices that). Because of a mix-up, he accidentally gets credited with the perfect score in the standardized test, and briefly enjoys the adulation of everyone as the smartest kid around ("Can you help me with my homework?"). But when he discovers the mistake, he is the first to admit that all this praise is undeserved, and the little red-haired girl sees that, too, and thinks highly of him for it. Finally, when Charlie Brown is assigned a joint book report with her, and she is out of town and unable to help, he does her work for her, which further endears her to him, even though he remains frustrated because he manages to lose the homework, anyway ("Curse you, Red Baron!").
Of course we have Lucy, always taking away the football right before Charlie Brown kicks it ("Good Grief"). And Pigpen, who's always dirty, but still somehow loveable. There's Linus with the blanket, but a good listener, and Schroeder, who loves playing Beethoven (and even graces the opening credit). And the bit about the adult voices being the wa-wa trumpet is inspired. This movie is really about the kids, who love snow days, who wail at extra homework and pop quizzes, who love playing ball and flying kites.
Overall, "The Peanuts Movie" is a delight for all ages, and highly recommended for the old grumps and crusty curmudgeons, who can't help but be charmed, despite themselves. Snoopy's on his doghouse, and all's right with the world.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church,