Adventure Animation

'The Peanuts Movie' Blu-ray Review: You look great in HD, Charlie Brown

March 21, 2016Ben MK

Just call him the world's oldest 8-year-old. Of course, we're talking about Charlie Brown, that round-headed kid and icon of the American comic strip. It's been 65 years since cartoonist Charles M. Schulz first introduced readers to the Peanuts gang. Now they're all back, and this time they're on the big screen, ready to meet a whole new generation of moviegoers.

Directed by Steve Martino (Ice Age: Continental Drift), The Peanuts Movie takes the characters we all know and love — Charlie Brown, his sister Sally, Lucy Van Pelt, her brother Linus, Peppermint Patty, Schroeder, Marcie, Pig-Pen, Woodstock, and of course, Snoopy — and gives them a little computer-animated makeover. But never fear, even though this is a Peanuts movie made with state-of-the-art 21st century technology, the film still manages to stay true to that classic Peanuts look, right down to the curly lock of hair atop Charlie Brown's head.

Needless to say, it all feels like something that's been plucked straight out of the funny pages. But what else would you expect when the film's screenwriters include Charles M. Schulz's son, Craig Schulz, and his grandson, Bryan Schulz? Together with Cornelius Uliano, the three of them have crafted a screenplay that pays mindful homage to the cartoon's long and colorful history, thanks in part to the inclusion of such Peanuts staples as the kite-eating tree and, of course, Lucy's penchant for pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown just as he's about to kick it.

More importantly, what makes The Peanuts Movie feel so genuine is that it holds true to the tone of the comic strip and the spirit of the characters. From the dialogue (which has the nearly-all-kid cast spouting out familiar phrases like "Good Grief!" and "You Blockhead!") to Charlie Brown himself (Noah Schnapp), who's portrayed as a lovable, insecure loser with an undefeatable sense of optimism, longtime fans of Schulz's work will delight in knowing that this is the same old Peanuts gang they've grown up with. Yes, you're just as we remember you, Charlie Brown. Don't ever change.

The Peanuts Movie's blend of modern computer animation and a traditional hand-drawn aesthetic looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray, with vivid colors and a flawless digital-to-digital transfer bringing to life the film's bright, cartoony visuals. From Charlie Brown's trademark yellow and zig-zagged striped shirt to the subtle textures of Snoopy's fur, everything here is reference-grade. And the same goes for the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, which delivers crystal-clear acoustics, whether it's the voices of the Peanuts gang, the film's up-tempo music or the sounds of airplane engines that fill the air during Snoopy's "Flying Ace" fantasy sequences.

Fox has released The Peanuts Movie as a two-disc 2D Blu-ray combo pack and a limited edition gift set featuring a Snoopy plush toy, both of which include an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy and a DVD. A separate two-disc 4K Ultra HD release and a three-disc 3D Blu-ray combo pack are also available. All Blu-ray editions include the following extras:

  • Snoopy Snippets (2:45) - Six short scenes ("Snoopy & Charlie Brown on Couch," "Snoopy & Charlie Brown Ice Skating," "Gift," "Charlie Brown Swing & Hit," "Snoopy Pitch" and "Snoopy Root Beer").
  • You Never Grow Up Charlie Brown (30:17) - A three-part, behind-the-scenes documentary covering the original Peanuts comic strips and TV specials, the characters and the life of creator Charles M. Schulz, and the work done by the animation team at Blue Sky to bring the Peanuts gang to the big screen.
  • Snoopy's Sibling Salute (1:55) - A brief look at Snoopy's siblings, who are featured briefly at the end of the movie.
  • Learn to Draw Snoopy (4:13) - Director Steve Martino shows viewers how to draw Snoopy.
  • Learn to Draw Woodstock (3:04) - Director Steve Martino shows viewers how to draw Woodstock.
  • Learn to Draw Charlie Brown (4:02) - Director Steve Martino shows viewers how to draw Charlie Brown.
  • Get Down with Snoopy and Woodstock Music Video (2:17) - The Peanuts gang dance to an updated version of the Peanuts theme song.
  • "Better When I'm Dancin'" Meghan Trainor Lyric Video (3:01) - An animated music video with karaoke-style lyrics.
  • "Better When I'm Dancin'" Meghan Trainor Music Video (3:08) - The official, live-action music video.
  • Behind the Scenes of "Better When I'm Dancin'" (2:53) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the live-action music video.
  • Snoopy's Playlist (27:52) - Quick access to sixteen scenes highlighting music from the movie ("Skating," "Linus and Lucy," "Better When I'm Dancin'," "Linus and Lucy (Reprise)," "Good to be Alive," "Better When I'm Dancin' (Reprise)," "Wingwalking / Fifi's Theme," "That's What I Like," "Curse You Red Baron," "Christmas Time is Here," "Never Give Up / Fifi's Theme," "Linus and Lucy (Carnival)," "Better When I'm Dancin' (End Credits)," "Good to be Alive (End Credits)," "Snow Day (End Credits)" and "Skating (End Credits)").
  • Gallery - "Concept Art," "Color Keys," "Characters" and "Final Art" from the film, totaling 116 images.
  • Trailers (9:29) - Five trailers for the film ("Official Trailer 1," "Official Trailer 2," "Teaser Trailer 1," "Teaser Trailer 2" and "Official Holiday Trailer").

The Peanuts Movie is available from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment as of March 8th, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 28 mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on November 6th, 2015.

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