‘Peanuts Movie’ Reviews: Do Critics Adore or Snore Through Charlie Brown Reboot?

What could have been a recipe for disaster “is a meticulously faithful and clearly loving tribute to America’s favorite blockhead,” one reviewer says

“The Peanuts Movie” successfully took a beloved comic strip from the 1950s and adapted it to the big screen, for a new generation to enjoy along with those who grew up with Charlie Brown.

Critics are raving about Steve Martino’s rebooted childhood classic, saying it “remains almost completely true to its original values,” while being “a sweet little gift for fans of the long-running comic strip.”

And TheWrap’s film critic Alonso Duralde says the movie will be fit for all ages, not just children: “‘Peanuts’ on the page had an adult sensibility that children could also enjoy, but the animated versions have always been aimed at kids, with enough subtlety and intelligence that grown-ups could also be entertained.”

Written by creator Charles M. Schulz’s son and grandson, the film was produced by “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig and “Epic” producer Michael J. Travers. “The Peanuts Movie” hits theaters this Friday.

See nine of the best reviews below.

Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times:

“That could have been a recipe for disaster and the source of outrage from the multi-generational legions of fans — but to my great relief and only the best kind of good grief, I’m pleased to report this is a meticulously faithful and clearly loving tribute to America’s favorite blockhead. This movie hugs you, and you want to hug it back.”

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle:

‘”Peanuts’ is not a perfect film, but it remains almost completely true to its original values. It’s a snowflake slowly falling to the melancholy notes of Vince Guaraldi. About the worst thing you can say about its integrity is that the ending is maybe 50 percent too happy for a ‘Peanuts’ purist’s tastes.”

Sandie Angulo Chen, The Washington Post:

“If the idea of a computer-animated, 3-D version of the ‘Peanuts’ gang has you sighing ‘good grief’ to your five-cent therapist, fear not. While plenty of other childhood treasures have been atrociously adapted for the big screen, ‘The Peanuts Movie’ is a sweet little gift for fans of the long-running comic strip. ‘The Peanuts Movie’ is delightfully faithful to the earnest spirit of the original characters and their beloved holiday television specials. Director Steve Martino (‘Ice Age: Continental Drift) focuses on several themes familiar from those works: youthful angst, love, embarrassment and imagination, all of which will tug on the heartstrings of nostalgic adults while introducing even the youngest moviegoers to the world of Charlie Brown and his pals.”

Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian:

“Nostalgic adults, there’s no need to shout ‘aaugh!’ like Linus van Pelt has told Charlie Brown for over six decades, don’t worry so much. The youth of today have been spared. ‘The Peanuts Movie,’ the long-awaited return of the Charles M. Schulz comic strip characters to theatrically released feature films, isn’t that different from what you or perhaps your parents watched. While that has its drawbacks, this is, overall, a good thing. Indeed, ‘The Peanuts Movie’ plays as something like a ‘greatest hits’ of the franchise in all its incarnations, from the beloved holiday television specials to those cute-but-not-hilarious greeting cards that seem to arrive with regularity from an infantilising family member. All the classic moments are there, crammed in as if we might not get another shot at this. It’s all very sweet and charming, and we should be thankful this isn’t a childhood-ruining disaster. But it’s still a 93-minute movie that somehow feels a half-hour too long.”

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

“‘Peanuts’ is all about simplicity, and what the plot lacks in nuance and complexity is made up for with relatable characters whom people have spent a lifetime watching. The movie is a testament to Charlie Brown’s place in pop culture and a showcase for a new generation bound to fall in love with its perennially insecure star.”

Sandy Cohen, Associated Press:

“Thankfully, ‘The Peanuts Movie’ isn’t just a small-screen special writ large. The filmmakers take advantage of their cinematic scope with a bigger story, more sophisticated animation and effective use of 3-D that gives new depth to the Peanuts world. But the characters loved by generations of fans — Lucy, Linus, Snoopy, Woodstock and beloved blockhead Charlie Brown — are as charming and timeless as ever.”

Katherine Pushkar, New York Daily News:

“Theirs is a world where kids can’t wait to go outside and play on a snow day, and there aren’t any parents policing the park for hurt feelings and peanut butter. And it’s a lo-fi delight. I was worried that the likes of ‘Up’ and ‘Toy Story’ had permanently raised the bar, but the kids at my screening loved Snoopy’s antics, laughed a lot, and even clapped at the end. I’d say that’s worth the price of admission.”

Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International:

“‘The Peanuts Movie’ never tries to top Schulz’s work, or to lure younger viewers with modern props like smartphones or backpacks bulging with books. It unfolds in an idyllic suburbia that never really existed when Schulz was alive–a cozy, parent-free world where kids can do and be what they want. While older kids may scoff at the antics here, ‘The Peanuts Movie’ will be just the ticket for the young.”

Jesse Hassenger, A.V. Club:

“Even without dialogue operating at peak sophistication levels, this charming movie mostly captures the tone of Schulz’s work and the voices of his characters.”

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