‘The Peanuts Movie’ Exists. That’s All.

by Simon Williams on November 6, 2015

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Minor Rock Fist Down]

It. Never. Ends.

I almost want to end this review there. It’s not because Blue Sky’s new The Peanuts Movie film is bad, but rather that the terrible pacing is one of the only noteworthy things about it. It has so many internal references and so much in terms of pre-knowledge groundwork that it works as a Peanuts film, but somehow it still utterly fails at feeling like one. It’s a lot faster than a Peanuts film of yore, with an obnoxious amount of more slapstick, but all of it is so bland you forget it’s there at all.

It’s not terrible at all; it’s not interesting enough to be terrible. It creates a tone where it feels like it has far too much plot and none at all at the same time. This movie has the consistency of cornstarch and the flavor of pre-chewed gum. And to reiterate my first point: IT. NEVER. ENDS. It’s all the ADHD, switching to the next scene, keep the kids distracted madness that every hackneyed, cash-in animated film does now, but it’s so monotonous that while I’m supposed to be distracted I’m also monstrously bored and just waiting for the scene to be over.

The story doesn’t help, there are four “major event” plots, all one after another, that each could make up a single special in the old days on their own, and the fact they’re all here makes them all seem pointless and flat. It feels busy and unfocused while also being dull and horrendously long-winded. It’s the longest hour and a half I’ve had since the last funeral I’ve been to. Its biggest point of salvation is that, by the time of writing, I can barely remember about half of the thing. I can’t say I disliked it because I can’t summon up strong enough feelings for it.

It looks nice though. I guess.

I apologize for the rather unprofessional intro but I’ve been wrestling with my thoughts on this film since leaving the theater. If I had seen the film on my own, on a matinee screening, paying for it with my own money, then I would probably have forgotten it entirely and never thought about it again. And yet here I am, your humble reviewer, and this is my job. It is my duty, dear reader, to delve deep into whatever cinematic experience I have witnessed and return to you to convey whether or not it is worth your money, and today I am unable to find anything particularly good to say about the film. Yet of all those negatives, none are really all that atrocious when watching the film.

I cannot fully say it is unworthy of your time. Small children may like it, perhaps, but only as a passing fancy, a distraction. Those who grew up watching “The Great Pumpkin” every year on Halloween may enjoy it for the sheer number of references and the general sense of nostalgia. But honestly The Peanuts Movie isn’t interesting enough to be really worth talking about. I’ve gotten hyperbolic merely as a byproduct of desperately trying to find something to talk about, and that’s not a good thing. If you need to take your kids to a movie theater, go ahead and check this thing out. As for me, I just found myself dreadfully bored.

Oh yeah and did I mention that it’s completely dropped the Christian subtext? I mean it’s still wholesome and everything, and it’s a kid’s film in 2015 it would not only be weird but quite improper to have direct Christian content in the film but I mean, it’s The Peanuts Movie. They even have a direct reference to the Christmas special in there. This isn’t even a negative as much as it is something that sticks out like a slapstick scene in a normally contemplative children’s cartoon about a depressed boy with no hair.

I mean it doesn’t bother me, per se, but I never even would have thought about it if they didn’t have the Christmas Special reference, and when that happens all I can think about is Linus quoting Matthew on the school auditorium stage. It’s like they gathered all their friends around, held a loaded gun to their foot and shouted “HEY LOOK! I’M NOT SHOOTING MYSELF!” It’s weird, and for some reason I keep getting stuck on that point. Anyway, back to your Internet searching. I just thought I’d bring that up.

Simon Williams

Simon Williams is a media critic and filmmaker originally from Columbus Ohio. He makes short films about sad people who don’t speak their minds because he himself is a sad person who does not have that issue.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Michael Williams November 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm

The Peanuts specials were on of the joys of my childhood. As it was I watched the decline of the franchise as years went by (Peppermint Patty driving while the crew was in France anyone?) This review confirms the fears I had from the first preview.


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