As Hollywood continues on its quest to squeeze millions out of our childhoods, one of the most divisive and risky cinematic ventures being undertaken is a cinematic update of the seminal comic-strip Peanuts. The last time that the comic, which follows Charlie Brown and his loyal canine companion Snoopy, graced cinemas was in 1980, so there’s a lot riding on the success of this feature-length update.
Today, we get our first look at the unique animation style being employed by Blue Sky Studios for the upcoming film with two images (one above and one below) and a teaser trailer. The CGI on display is sure to divide fans, but I’m on board with what Blue Sky is showing us so far.
Producer Craig Shulz (the son of comic creator Charles Shulz, who died in 2000) doesn’t have a problem with the new animation style and believes that Charles himself would have “embraced” 3-D and CGI. “It would have been absolutely logical for him to have come onboard,” he told USA Today, which broke the pics. “And it brings you closer into the comic strip.”
Whether the new Peanuts movie will find an audience is still unclear. Peanuts was beloved for classic television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, but its popularity has waned significantly in recent years. Craig, for one, believes there’s still a strong appetite for more Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
“It’s long overdue,” he said. “The fans have been asking for a long time, but we held off until the time was right.” Craig added that he was “way more protective than my father would have been” about finding the right team to bring Peanuts back to the big screen. “Our No. 1 goal was always to be authentic to his work and legacy.”
Craig’s son Bryan, along with writing partner Cornelius Uliano, penned the screenplay. Said Craig: “With my father’s work this is three generation [sic] of Shulzes on this film.”
We know very little about the plot of the upcoming film and Craig played coy when pressed for details, stating that, “It’s about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that’s about as far as I’m willing to go.” However, USA Today did discover that Charlie Brown’s crush, the Little Red-Headed Girl, and Snoopy’s love interest Fifi will both have roles.
Additionally, expect to see some of Snoopy’s adventures as a world-class aviator. “We’re going to fly with Snoopy in his fantasy world,” said director Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who!). “We have a bigger canvas. Bill Melendez got Snoopy off the ground in the TV specials. We’re going to take it a step further.”
Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), who’s serving on the project as a producer, noted that the “sweet optimism” of Charlie Brown and Snoopy’s adventures has been preserved. “Snoopy will not be rapping, no one will be twerking, we’re in good hands,” he said. Given how Hollywood horrifically mangled both The Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks in recent years, that’s certainly a relief to hear.
Peanuts is set to open in 3D on November 6, 2015.
Source: USA Today