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Good Grief Charlie Brown – We Love You

(I wanted to rerun this as Halloween is not the same without the Great Pumpkin – Still can not help but feel that Charles Schulz did something so very right)

Had the privilege of taking in The Peanuts Movie and couldn’t help feeling that Charles Schulz would be so proud of his son Craig and grandson Bryan with the beautiful homage paid to him and the characters he so lovingly created.

The particular animation and vibrant colour they fought for set an ambience that took every Peanuts lover back to the excitement of days gone by – holiday specials with Charlie Brown and those delicious Kraft commercials.

Staying true to Charles’ vision it was refreshing to see not an iphone, ipod or any other technological device in sight. Instead relying on colour, dialogue and sound effects to lead the way.

This screen play was written by Cornelius Uliano who honoured the storyline and as Bryan Schulz said “If you change one line it’s not a Peanuts comic strip. If you need inspiration you go back and look at the old comic strips Grandpa had done.”

“Peanuts” comic strip “isn’t a laugh-out-loud strip, it’s a chuckle strip. I told them that this is sophisticated humor. You almost had to grow up with my dad to be able to write this movie.” Craig Schulz said.

Craig recalled viewing an early scene of “The Peanuts Movie” in which rain pummels Charlie Brown as he stands forlornly on the pitcher’s mound. The elder Schulz sensed something was wrong.

He realized that the animated rain looked too much like real rain, too little like the streaks his father had scrawled to denote a downpour. “His favorite thing was to draw rain,” says Craig.

He spoke with the animators from Blue Sky Studios, creator also of the “Ice Age” animated films, and they redid the rain. “They went to great pains to make it exactly like my dad had drawn it,” Schulz said.

a charles and bryan schulz

The film was born in Craig Schulz’s mind as a 17 minute short. Bryan Schulz read his dad’s script and concluded that it tried to cover too much ground in 17 minutes. He proposed a full-length movie, and said he’d like to work with his dad on the script.

Bryan, Craig and Cornelius set to work in 2010. The task proved to be incredibly difficult and time-demanding. Craig said, ” I can’t believe the hurdles we jumped through to get this movie made. Animators minutely analyzed the late cartoonist’s pen strokes and wrestled long with how best to recreate the characters that would stay true to Schulz’s vision over 65 years ago.

Charles widow Jeannie Shculz said:

“We always had things that brought parents and children together when the children were young, before they could read, but we had lost that. We realized that we missed an era…. Things happen so fast, and every year they begin happening faster and faster and people are onto the newest thing.”

It’s apparent  Charles and Jeannie did something right as the efforts and loyalty their children put forth is true testament to the fact that they got the message.

All through the writing and making of “The Peanuts Movie,” Bryan said, he and his dad worked to make it the best film it could be and to preserve the artwork, humor, wisdom and heart of his grandfather.

“I think we’ve got it there,” he said.

“I’m very happy with it, and now we will see what the rest of the world thinks about it.”

 

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