Lost somewhere in the great morass of superhero movies, sci-fi dramas, and Oscar-bait prestige pictures, I managed to miss the fact that producer Paul Feig and director Steve Martino were making a Peanuts film! With a new batch of images being released today, I have to say that the new cinematic version of Charles Schulz’s classic comic strip looks pretty true to the spirit of the originals.
One of the great dangers of adapting a beloved strip to the cinematic milieu – even one as oft adapted as Peanuts – is the chance that the filmmakers will try to turn something sweet and genuine into a hip cash-grab. Yes, Snoopy will sell us insurance, but at least all the TV specials featuring Charlie Brown and the gang have been largely in keeping with the bittersweet spirit of the comic strip. With these images, it’s nice to see that Peanuts will maintain that spirit. Here we see no attempts at making Snoopy into a talking dog voiced by Chris Rock; no apparent drive to giving Charlie Brown a cell phone, or making Lucy into an online therapist. Actually, everything looks like a 3D version of the original strips.
We shall have to wait and see what Martino and writer Craig Schulz (Charles Schulz’s son) have in store in terms of plot. Certainly Martino has claimed that they’re trying to immerse viewers in this world without betraying what made Peanuts so charming and timeless to begin with. There’s as yet no word on voice casting, though I pray they shy away from recognizable celebrity voices. What this film needs is warm, gentle humor, not niche casting. It seems like Feig and Martino are on the right track so far.
Peanuts will come to theaters on November 6, 2015. You can check out the latest images below and see what you think about the prospects for this latest attempt.