Blue Sky Studios
Charlie Brown probably doesn’t listen to The Who. He’s likely not a big DJ Khaled fan. Snoopy isn’t the traditional Gipsy Kings devotee. (Woodstock, on the other hand, likely has eclectic tastes in his tunes.) And yet, those are the exact kind of jams that kit out our latest look at the upcoming The Peanuts Movie, inspired by the classic Charles M. Schulz comic strip and, apparently, a bad mix tape your cousin gave you when you were a kid.
In March of last year, Schulz’s son Craig Schulz ‐ whose son, Bryan Schulz, helped pen the script for the new feature alongside his dad and Cornelius Uliano ‐ told USA Today, “I’m way more protective than my father would have been…Our No. 1 goal was always to be authentic to his work and legacy.” The film, a 3D affair that also uses computer animation to give Charlie Brown and company a slightly more modern new look, will likely introduce the big-headed kid and his wacky friends to an entirely new audience, but what about the long-time fans who don’t recognize all the components of this hipped-up new kiddo?
The truth is, Charlie Brown’s legacy doesn’t include a lot of stuff about The Who, but you know what? That’s okay.
It’s a common cycle: a beloved property is remade or rebooted or franchised or resurrected from the dead, covered in blood and leaves and screaming a little bit, and fans of the first incarnation (or the best or the most popular or the most recent) freak out at what they perceive to be some sort of destructive act against a thing they love, especially if they loved that thing when they were kids. I’m just as guilty of it as anyone, thanks to my recent fit over the look, feel, and direction of the new Jem and the Holograms movie (to be honest, I still think this movie looks like a total bastardization of the beloved television series, and I’m really attempting to work that out before it arrives in October).
This [insert new thing here] is ruining my childhood!
The new Peanuts Movie is not going to ruin your childhood, just as the Jem and the Holograms movie isn’t going to ruin mine (despite past teeth-gnashing to the contrary). In the wider sense, no new iteration of any property is going to ruin whatever emotions you have attached to the original source (which you love), because the existence of something new doesn’t somehow erase the old.
Sure, the new Terminator: Genisys seems to be taking the concept of retconning to truly bizarre new levels, and even though the feature looks to be futzing with the beloved franchise’s timeline ‐ one of its most important elements, to be sure ‐ that doesn’t black out what came before. You can still watch The Terminator. It’s still there. It exists as you remember it. It hasn’t changed, I promise. (Even better, if you’re really worried that a new take on an old thing will taint your memory of what came before, there’s another option available to you: don’t see it. This isn’t snark, it’s the truth. You don’t have to see it, it’s not compulsory.)
As it applies to The Peanuts Movie, though, childhoods appear to remain safe, despite some awkward soundtrack choices ‐ and, to be sure, this is just a trailer, it’s fully possible that The Who will not be featured prominently on the film’s soundtrack, which is definitely good news for Schroeder ‐ this look at the new film does still crackle with the innocent fun of Schulz’s original strips. Peanuts, by and large, is good-hearted and wholesome, a boy-and-his-dog-and-also-his-bird story that’s about growing up, the importance of friendships, and overcoming relatably low self-esteem.
The bones of the strip seem to still be in place, and although the film has been gussied up with 3D (sigh), computer-animation (deeper sigh), and Ludacris screaming about winning (actually, interesting), Charlie Brown is still awkward, Snoopy is still the best, and Woodstock is still wildly unappreciated. Peppermint Patty is still yelling, Marcie is still calling her “sir,” Pigpen is still filthy, and Sally is still screaming it up as only a little sister can. It’s still The Peanuts, tone-deaf song choices aside. It’s impossible to ignore modernization, but if that stuff remains where it should ‐ at the heart of the story ‐ maybe our childhoods are safe after all.
The Peanuts Movie opens on November 6.