Join Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang in their very first big screen adventure. Take a jazzy joyride through the streets of Manhattan, with delightful dream sequences, imagination-filled musical interludes, and icy flights-of-fantasy—all as Charlie Brown sets out to bolster his shaky confidence at the National Spelling Bee. The prolific, much-honored cartoonist Charles M. Schulz and franchise director Bill Melendez weave a world made of witty dialogue, magical security blankets and bright-eyed beagles, all set to an Academy Award-nominated score by Rod McKuen and Vince Guaraldi.
These kids are mean. Sheesh!
Poor Charlie Brown. This kid is bound for some major therapy later on in life, and this psychological help is going to cost more than a nickel.
I’m always amazed at how mean the kids in Peanuts can be. Some of the more famous “Peanuts” cartoons like 'It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,' the animosity toward Charlie is turned down. Sure they draw a jack-o-lantern on the back of his perfectly-shaped pumpkin head, but even that’s not as downright nasty as what Charlie endures in “A Boy Named Charlie Brown.”
This was the first feature-length “Peanuts” film, clocking in at 85 minutes. It didn’t set a welcome stage for Charles Schulz’s loveable loser. Charlie endures painful rejection and loss as life keeps handing him lemons without any ingredients to make lemonade.
Now, you might be wondering how could a little cartoon have such a mean spirit. The movie features a few songs, but here’s its crowning gem. It’s a song viciously titled “Failure Face.” A song in which all of his so-called friends jump around him singing at the top of their lungs:
“You never do anything right
You never put anything in its place
No wonder everyone calls you
You're so impossibly dumb
In history books your name they'll erase
Or else they're bound to call you
And in the race to be stupid
You'd set a brand-new kind of pace
We'd like to christen you, Charlie
I understand the 1960s was a different time, but Lord that’s some grade-A bullying right there.
‘The Peanuts Movie’ (2015) thankfully pushed all that negativity and outright hostility aside. I'm glad they didn’t put Charlie through that abuse again. That’s what was so great about the newest film, it captured the essence of childhood without being unnecessarily cruel.
It’s just too difficult to see past how maniacal Charlie’s friends are here. Karma is even crueler, by providing Charlie something that he might excel at – spelling in a spelling bee – only to rip it away while giving him words like “failure,” “insecure,” and “unconfident."
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a single-disc release that comes with a 25GB Blu-ray. It comes packaged in a standard keepcase that’s red instead of the usual blue. It also comes with a slipcover.
The 1080p transfer certainly shows its age. There doesn’t appear to have been much done in the way of cleaning up the image. This is something that could be done with care in order to preserve its original content, but brighten it up for the high-def treatment. It seems, however, Paramount decided against that.
The image looks like it’s from the ‘60s. Scratches, specks, and dots flicker on and off the image regularly. Color fills pulsate at times. The lightness and darkness of scenes fluctuate. And yet, it looks somewhat clean when you take its age into account. A filmic texture accompanies the presentation.
It’s understandable that they wouldn’t go through a painstaking remaster of the original elements. It does feel like more could’ve been done though.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is surprising in that you wouldn’t guess that it’s a surround sound experience until you read the box.
There’s pretty much one sequence that utilizes the rear channels, and that’s Snoopy’s dream encounter with the Red Baron. After that the rear channels are mostly silent, focusing all the sound up front. There’s some decent directionality depending where people are in the frame. That’s about the extent of its audio prowess. Dialogue is clearly heard, which is what matters most.
There are no special features provided.
'A Boy Name Charlie Brown' definitely isn’t the best “Peanuts” has to offer. It’s too mean for its own good. Life is hard, but is it this hard? Yeesh! The video is OK and the audio is passable too. This is a release that’s for fans only.