There Will Be Grief

Blake Harris 06.17.2015

After years of spurning the idea of a film adaptation, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang will be coming to a theater near you. Here’s our first glimpse at what that will look like…

Whether or not you think this trailer looks good, I suspect that in this current film climate of remakes and reboots, you’ll eventually wonder something like: why did it take Hollywood so long to make a 3D-animated Peanuts movie? After all, we’ve seen Chipmunks and Smurfs invade the big screen, and Charlie Brown is undoubtedly more famous than those B-level animated stars. So why, in 2015, is the Peanuts gang just now getting the silver screen treatment?

The main reason is that Charles M. Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip, was protective of his property and not particularly interested in a Hollywood-sized adaptation. And if he had seen movies like Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007) or Smurfs (2011) he might have felt even stronger in this belief, but he that never came to pass because he passed away in February 2000.

Six years after his passing, his son, Craig Schulz, came up with an idea that he thought might work for a feature-length Peanuts movie. He then relayed this idea to his own son, an aspiring screenwriter named Bryan Schulz, who helped him revise and re-structure the concept behind the film. Together (and a few years later), Craig and Bryan Schulz pitched their idea to a handful of movie studios. In addition, and keeping with their late father/grandfather’s vision, they stipulated that if things were to go forward with this project then it was critical that the Schulz retain creative control in order to properly honor vision of its creator. “You can’t bring people in from the outside,” Craig Schulz said, “and  expect them to understand Peanuts.”

Blue Sky

In October 2012 it was announced that 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios were developing a 3D computer-animated Peanuts film. Directing this project would be Steve Martino (whose previous work includes Ice Age: Continental Drift and Horton Hears a Who!), based on a script by Craig Schulz, Bryan Schulz and Cornelius Uliano. That announcement came nearly three years ago, and now for the first time we’re getting out first glimpse at the film.

Personally, I was pretty disappointment. Not just with the visuals, but more so with the spirit of the film; it lacked the energy and joie de vivre that I associate with the Peanuts. Maybe I’m in the minority here, or maybe I’m just bummed the trailer didn’t feature a cameo from my favorite Peanuts character…

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