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The Peanuts Movie (Blu-ray Review)

the peanuts movie coverKudos to the team at Blue Sky Studios, because The Peanuts Movie has arrived and it is terrific. The animation of Charles M. Schulz’s classic characters may have been modernized, but the style and the tone of his creations has been preserved in the best of ways. Audiences should have known they were in good hands upon seeing the initial footage, but this really is a family-friendly film that hits all the right notes. Now it is time to look into what the Blu-ray has to offer.

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Film:

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The Peanuts Movie is thankfully not an origin story for who Charlie Brown or a detailed look at the nature of his dog Snoopy. Instead, we get a stretched out series of events that payoff individually. The overall focus is on Charlie Brown’s attempts to win the affection of the Little Red-Haired Girl, but other fun antics take place throughout.

True to the series’ history, Charlie Brown’s self-confidence and optimism always springs back to life, despite how life seems to almost always making things difficult for him. The film also treats the audience to literal flights of fancy, as Snoopy is given the chance to go up against his nemesis, the Red Baron. There are also plenty interactions with the whole Peanuts gang, including Lucy, Linus, Patty, Schroeder and others.

Along with the fine work done to appropriate Schulz’s original drawing style into a CGI world, many other solid choices were made to preserve the spirit and innocence of Peanuts. For example, all the voices are provided by children, which was a wonderful decision. The film also features a mix of familiar themes with a score by Christophe Beck that fits in all the right ways.

Perhaps benefiting the film the most is sticking with what already works. Rather than go the route of lesser animated films that cram as many modern pop culture gags as possible (which is thankfully less of a thing for animated films these days), the humor presented here is classic Peanuts. The tone and jokes works for kids and can certainly be fun for the adults in the mood for something so simple and charming.

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With that simplicity in mind, there is something to be said for the way The Peanuts Movie tries to find something fresh to do with its lead character. Charlie Brown is not incredibly deep, but this film asserts the idea that he can be a hero. Without betraying the spirit of Schulz’s work, it allows him to try and do what he can to not only win the heart of his crush but be a genuinely good person. Of course, the film also has him fail constantly.

It would be one thing to simply have Charlie Brown occupy the space of a generic protagonist fit for a family film. By having his goals constantly squashed by life could be perceived as cruel, but it also allows an understanding that life is not entirely fair. It would be a little much to have kids think this is an exact representation of life, but this is an animated comedy, featuring a boy and his fighter pilot dog — the kids should be alright.

More than alright is The Peanuts Movie, which really was a blast to watch. It is fit for all ages, unique in its animation style and full of humor. While Pixar may capitalize on emotional resonance to go with their animated comedies, The Peanuts Movie banks on nostalgia and is still fun for a new young audience. I say that’s a job well done, Charlie Brown.

 

Video:

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The Peanuts Movie looks spectacular. No bad luck got to Charlie Brown in this department, as the very unique animation style looks incredibly clear. There may be a seeming simplicity to the details, but they are all hear and easy to distinguish.

Depth: The nature of the character designs allows for a fine handling of the dimensionality present on screen in this animated world.

Black Levels: In the rare instance where the film turns a bit darker in its visuals, black levels look great.

Color Reproduction: There is a great amount of color that pops here and it is all wonderfully bright. You get so much to work with thanks to the film’s lively spirit (no matter what happens to Charlie Brown) and it always looks sharp.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: None.

 

Audio:

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Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 7.1, English Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: Glad to see The Peanuts Movie got a monster 7.1 audio track to work with. It’s a great way to hear some terrific music that riffs from Vince Guaraldi’s classic music. There’s also a lot great work heard in the sound design and dialogue, based on this very good presentation.

Low Frequency Extension: The big moments in the score and some key set pieces allow for a fine use of the LFE channel.

Surround Sound Presentation: The balance is terrific here. The dialogue comes through the center, but other voices, ambient noise and more is spread out well through all the different channels. And it’s always a plus to hear Snoopy and Woodstock make their silly sounds.

Dialogue Reproduction: We hear the kids quite easily.

 

Extras:

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There is a fine set of extras fit for both kids and adults. Almost everything you want is provided, with the exception of a commentary track (just imagine getting the kid cast together), which is a bit of a shame.

Features Include:

  • 6 Snoopy Snippets (HD, 2:45) – Some extra fun with Snoopy.
  • Get Down with Snoopy and Woodstock Music Video (HD, 2:17)
  • “Better When I’m Dancin’” Meghan Trainor Music Video (HD, 3:08)
  • “Better When I’m Dancin’” Meghan Trainor Lyric Video (HD, 3:01)
  • Behind the Scenes of “Better When I’m Dancin’” (HD, 2:53)
  • You Never Grow Up, Charlie Brown (HD, 30:17) – A solid making-of, which highlights where The Peanuts came from and what the plan was for this movie, with nice interviews with the filmmakers.
  • Snoopy’s Sibling Salute (HD, 1:55) – A look at the relatives of Snoopy.
  • Learn to Draw Snoopy (HD, 4:13) – Director Steve Martino hosts a few featurettes for drawing characters and it’s decent fun.
  • Learn to draw Woodstock (HD, 3:04)
  • Learn to Draw Charlie Brown (HD, 4:02)
  • Snoopy Playlist (HD, 27:52) – This is basically a shortcut to accessing all the music moments in the film.
  • Gallery (HD) – Concept Art, Color Keys, Characters, Final Art
  • Trailers
  • DVD Copy of the Film
  • Digital HD Copy – UltraViolet and iTunes

 

Summary:

The Peanuts Movie was a joy to watch and continues to be one. Some may be less enthralled by the sense of nostalgia that it delivers, but I was very happy with the approach to bringing Charlie Brown and the gang to the big screen of today. This Blu-ray is pretty terrific as well, with some fantastic technical qualities and a bevy of extras that do plenty to satisfy. Let the kids and the kid in you enjoy this home release.

Order Your Copy Here:

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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