NEW YORK (CNS) — Anyone familiar with the perennial TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will know that the “Peanuts” franchise, which began life as a comic strip penned by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz between 1950 and 2000, has a knack for unabashed but also un-bashing spirituality.
That fine tradition continues with the charming animated comedy “The Peanuts Movie” (Fox).
Just as blanket-loving Linus succeeds, each year, in pointing small-screen viewers toward the real meaning of Dec. 25 — by the sound method of quoting the Gospel of Luke — so hapless Charlie Brown (voice of Noah Schnapp) teaches moviegoers a lesson about divine providence and the power of prayer at the climax of this latest “Peanuts” outing.
In extending a feature film legacy that dates back to 1971’s “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” director Steve Martino is scrupulously faithful to the understated tone as well as the tried-and-true chemistry of his source material. It’s a wise decision.
What might be called the Zen of Schulz’s world — in which the everyday quirks and travails of children take on a poignant significance when viewed from an adult perspective — has, after all, been delighting audiences across multiple media formats for decades.
And the pleasure endures as Charlie resumes his pining for his fetching classmate, and seemingly unattainable love interest, the Little Red-Haired Girl (voice of Francesca Capaldi).
Charlie’s fantasy-prone beagle, Snoopy — voiced, via recordings, by the late Bill Melendez — is also pursuing romance. The girl of his daydreams turns out to be a World War I-era aviatrix named Fifi. Snoopy crosses Fifi’s path, of course, while battling his perpetual enemy, German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen (“Curse you, Red Baron!”).
The needless incorporation of 3-D effects leads to an overemphasis on Snoopy’s airborne adventures during which the mild strain of padding the action out to reach the 90-minute mark becomes apparent. Back on the ground, however, top-notch values — including altruism, honesty and loyalty — prevail in a touching story well calculated to win the hearts of old and young alike.
The film contains imaginary combat and some minor peril. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G — general audiences. All ages admitted.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103