They defy animation, these startled, pixilated tiny hieroglyphs in black and white. The sweet-and-doleful minimalism of the Peanuts comic strips is/was their joy. We even laugh quietly: a guffaw might blow them away.
The “good news, undesirable news” story in Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (apart from its boasting the worst rolling-stock title of the year) is that the drawing is fabulous and the script and path are a fright. Steve Martino — not, alas, Steve Martin with cod-Latin sobriquet — presses the accelerator on an already over-busy screenplay by, among other people, Craig and Bryan Schulz. They are Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s son and grandson and should know greater. The comic strip was by no means about helter-skelter comedy. It was about non-sequitur, inanity, spooked entrancement. (And it by no means had accompanying songs.)
The very good news? The characters are sketched, even in motion, with a loving fidelity. Shut your eyes and ears to the story overkill and you could be there in the funny pages with Lucy, Charlie, Marcie and Co. Even enabling — and we will — for colour and 3D.
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