It’s been a little while, but time for another Charlie Brown review. This one was pretty big since it was celebrating one of Charlie Brown’s big anniversaries. Unfortunately, the special fell a little on the flat side. It decided to basically be one large anthology instead of containing one full plot. Doing something different for this special makes sense I suppose, but this was definitely not the right call. The Anthology format has never been all that good and this special doesn’t change my mind on that.
Well, there’s not much of a plot here since the segments keep cutting to another one. The one that probably appeared the most was Peppermint Patty being tricked into graduating dog school and then getting beaten up by a cat. To her defense, the cat was extremely powerful and definitely wasn’t playing around. You gotta love that level of dedication eh? Snoopy was around to back her up at least so that helped quite a bit. This was easily the best plot in the special if you ask me as it was fairly entertaining.
Other plots included Charlie Brown getting humiliated in Baseball as per usual and the Piano kid getting upset as always. In Charlie Brown’s plot, he was actually a little tougher than usual as he didn’t let the other kids know how they could buy caps. His discretion worked pretty well if you ask me as he can’t give the other kids all of the answers all of the time right? They probably wouldn’t be very grateful anyway. For the Piano kid, his instrument was flushed down the sewers so it was a sad day for him. He called in to get a replacement, but it’s safe to say that Lucy had the last laugh this time. The replacement wouldn’t come for quite a while so the piano kid would have to hang out with her now. (Or just cry in his room)
As always, Snoopy is the best character in the special. He’s a professional lawyer who may trick his clients from time to time but he means well. He did ultimately go back to help Patty so you have to give him some props there. Charlie’s definitely the next best character as he’s consistent as always. Linus surprisingly didn’t get much of a role here at all. Considering that this is a big anniversary project, that was a little bit surprising. They basically got everyone else back though so I guess that’s good enough.
The animation is consistent as always. The Peanuts style has certainly aged well and the animators have always done a good job of keeping everything on point. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see other styles like if we get another modern Charlie Brown special or the infamous flash one. I can’t see them being quite as catchy as this one although CGI works well enough. The modern film was proof enough of that.
The only thing holding this film back is the format. Each story ends way too quickly and it would have been better off picking a few stories and just stretching them out for a while. The Patty plot could have easily been the main plot of a special with the Piano kid one being the subplot. That would have worked a lot better if you ask me. At least the special was a little longer to help compensate for that, but this should be a lesson to all franchises…never do anthologies. It’s just not worth it. There will always be a story that’s better than another one that you’ll want to see more of and a weak one that you’ll wish they had excluded. It comes with the territory.
Overall, It’s still a Charlie Brown film so I wouldn’t call it bad or anything. My only gripe with it is that the film can be a tad bit boring at times. There’s not really anything happening after all so it’s like seeing a bunch of Charlie Brown gags without the actual plot to back it up. It comes across as a little odd and dare I say low budget? Still, the writing was good and the film is still pretty short so I wouldn’t say that it drags on or anything. If you’re a big Charlie Brown fan, then you should check this one out. If not, then this isn’t the best way to get into the series. I suppose it could work as a preview of the franchise, but it’s still not worth it. I’d recommend watching the Christmas special first.