The Peanuts Movie ★★½

It's failure to be the kind of Peanuts movie we all want bothered me a lot more this time. From the generic kid movie chase scenes of the Red Baron fantasy sequences (compare them to the haunting and abstract ones in The Great Pumpkin) to the fact that Charlie Brown is defined as not just not-a-loser, but as a winner, his faults only the result of his good qualities, rather than the whims of a dynamically oppressive universe (even the Kite-Eating Tree helps him!).

Peanuts has always been more saccharine than essay-writers want us to believe, but this goes beyond "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" into fundamental betrayal territory. We love Charlie Brown because the world often feels as cruel to us as it objectively is to him. But if you make his loserdom merely a matter of perspective, then what you're telling us is that we're all wrong, that our misery is just an illusion, that everything really is great, that the little red-haired girl really will like us and we will all win in the end. What a horrible message to teach our children.

Sean liked these reviews