You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown Review

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It’s time to look at another Peanuts special. It’s been quite a while since I saw the last one but as Election Day just passed it’s the perfect time for it to air. These specials are always quite short, but make for fun adventures with the cast. Charlie himself gets a really small role this time around so Linus is the one who has to take the center stage this time around. Does he have what it takes to hold the special?

The class is getting ready to pick their Student President which is naturally how it ties into Election Day. Charlie Brown and the others figure that Linus would make a good candidate and he agrees. However, there is one student who is running against him. The guy doesn’t seem to be much of a threat as so far everyone is voting for Linus, but Lucy still keeps on running surveys. She decides that they can’t get complacent and is proven correct when Linus goes on a rant about how the Great Pumpkin is real. Kids start to doubt in his abilities. What should have been a clear win is now turning into a very close battle.

That’s the main plot and there isn’t really room for a subplot this time. We still do have some nice Snoopy scenes where he builds himself a big breakfast though. It’s like I always say, when in doubt make yourself a sandwich. Snoopy’s also nice enough to make sandwiches for Charlie and Sally as well though which was nice. Snoopy does have a hard time of it in the actual school though as his Joe Cool disguise doesn’t work too well and then he is kicked out of the school. You’d think that the school would show him a little more respect considering that Snoopy is always the one helping them out of a pinch. Without Snoopy the school wouldn’t be doing too well.

Linus is a good lead and he’s always been one of the better Charlie Brown characters. He does seem to lose some common sense in this special though like when he brought up the Great Pumpkin. Not only was it basically off topic so her had no reason to bring it up, but he should have known that this wasn’t the right time. I can see him going on a long speech about why he would make for a great president though so that makes sense. I was also glad that the real principal got a lot of props here. The kids think they have the advantage at first when they see him sweating, but it turns out that the guy was probably just laughing. He set the record straight very quickly.

As always the animation is pretty consistent with the rest of the Peanut specials. They all look the same so the animators are definitely pretty experienced. The characters are never off model so it helps you get into the adventure right away as if it’s just another episode. There isn’t too much music in this special though. The Joe Cool song that we did get wasn’t all that good so the soundtrack is a little weaker than the average special. No matter, it’s still not a bad soundtrack I suppose.

Overall, This is a pretty fun special. It’s also very short so it’s not like it would take a long time to watch. At most you may just wish Charlie Brown had run for President since I think that probably would have been a little more entertaining. Of course, he would have been doomed from the start though so this way at least you can believe that Linus not only has a chance, but a pretty good chance at winning this. What could have worked would have been to have Charlie run against Linus instead of Russell, but that could have also ended up being super emotional or tragic so as always it would be a tough balance to keep in mind. I’m now one step closer to finishing all of the specials. It’s definitely a franchise that has had a lot of entries over the years. If you haven’t seen this one yet then I would recommend checking it out.

Overall 6/10

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Why, Charlie Brown, Why? Review

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This is the most serious Charlie Brown special. It still has subplots for the comic relief and some jokes to keep it from being too ultra serious, but the tone is certainly darker than what you will be used to from this series. It’s good to tackle themes like this once in a while to spread awareness and act as an infomercial, but I am glad that it is only an occasional thing. Not to mention that some themes are a little too dark regardless. If the ending hadn’t been quite as positive, it definitely would have hurt the special more.

One of Linus’ friends has started to feel sick lately. He advises her to go to the nurse’s office and from there she ends up in the hospital as she has developed cancer. Charlie decides that he and Linus should visit the hospital. The special is mostly focused on describing the treatment and showing how the main characters cope with this sudden development. Some handle it well, but others not so much.

It may be a little iffy for some when we see Lucy in particular. She really doesn’t care that someone got cancer and it fairly rude about it. It’s true that kids probably don’t understand the gravity of the situation, but the special went out of its way to show that everyone was really mean about it aside from Charlie and Linus. Snoopy handled it well as he continued to eat a lot of food whenever possible though. You can never count him out and he stole the show with his “dinner” as he proved to everyone how to enjoy yourself while having a healthy diet at the same time. It did look like a complete meal after all.

A bully showed up for the first time in a while. Naturally Linus was upset about this, but I felt like he could have handled the situation better. He mostly just let the bully talk for a while before clenching his fists and finally yelling at the guy a little, but I was hoping for Linus to throw a solid punch. Linus blew up, but in a rather anticlimactic way and it took him too long to react. Of course, he was able to solve the situation without violence so in a way that’s good…in a way.

Aside from Lucy and the bully, the characters are pretty solid here. Linus did well and the new character seemed nice enough. Charlie was considerate as always and it’s easy to see why he is the main character of the franchise. The others mean well, but they’d definitely be lost without his expert guidance. If not for all of his plans and last second heroics, the town would probably be a lot more depressing and solemn. From winning tournaments to visiting friends in the hospital, Charlie’s the guy you can count on.

The soundtrack is certainly more downcast and less fast paced than usual. This helps the special carry across the feeling that things are more serious than usual. It works well enough and the animation is as good as usual. These specials are nothing if not consistent in their technical quality. As always, the special is definitely very short so you can really watch it whenever you have a free period. It’s not too fun so you’ll want to have some snacks to munch while watching it.

Luckily, as mentioned earlier, the ending is fairly happy. Good endings can always help a film quite a bit. If the friend had died to try to show how serious cancer is, it would have failed pretty badly. She even got her hair back, which was definitely a nice added bonus. All’s well that ends well and that’s why going to the doctor regularly is a good thing so you can catch these conditions right away. I don’t particularly like going to the doctor’s too often since I feel pretty healthy, but I still recommend going. It’s worth it folks, even if I don’t follow my own advice on this.

Overall, This special certainly sticks out from the rest. One watch is really enough though and I would sooner recommend checking out most of the other Charlie Brown specials. Still, at least the special tackled the topic of cancer I suppose. The kid should have been put to sleep before getting the bone marrow shot if you ask me, but beyond that it did a good job of explaining the treatments available. With this, the Charlie Brown animated specials have come to an end for now, but eventually I aim to see the others that I have not checked out yet. Hopefully Snoopy continues to steal the show and show us just why he is such a great character.

Overall 6/10

Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown Review

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The Peanuts marathon continues although the speed at which I have been watching them may slow down a little after this. Unfortunately, Life Is a Circus ends up being one of the weaker Peanut specials. Snoopy’s the main character so you’d think that this wouldn’t be the case, but unfortunately he didn’t have much of a plot to work with this time around. After watching a few Snoopy centered videos, I have to admit that the specials may just work a little better with the human characters getting a bigger role. I still believe that Snoopy can hold his own special if necessary though.

A new circus is in town and Snoopy sees one dog who catches his eye. The problem is that he has to join the circus if he wants to keep talking to the dog. This circus is hard work and the dogs have to perform unreasonable stunts, but this isn’t enough to deter a dog as tough as Snoopy. Snoopy masters all of the tricks, but eventually realizes that the life of a circus has too many sacrifices and hardships for it to all be worth it. Time to head back to his life with Charlie.

Snoopy handles the whole thing very well though. He goes home and has a lot to eat before taking a nap. It’s one of the best strategies to have when something tricky happens and I totally recommend it. I’m looking forward to having a nice bowl of Mac n Cheese relatively soon myself. Snoopy also didn’t turn back when he realized that the other dog wasn’t stopping. He was decisive and knew what had to be done this time around.

Charlie Brown was pretty upset the whole special, but it’s hard to blame him. His Cotton Candy was wrecked when Patty threw some popcorn on it and then he had to watch as Snoopy was dognapped by the Circus. He probably should have tried a little harder to get Snoopy back though, considering the fact that the circus went pretty far away. His friends weren’t very understanding either and they seemed to just enjoy the fact that Snoopy had finally found a place where he could be happy.

The main thing that draws this special down is the fact that the romance is fairly boring. We all know that Snoopy will end up leaving at some point anyway since the status quo would be changed a little too drastically if she had gone back to Charlie’s with him. The dog also seemed a little odd as she also didn’t want to be colored pink, but ultimately decided to go back to the show. Considering that the show had them do crazy stunts with no safety nets in place, it seemed like an odd choice. Well, I guess that’s how far their bonds of friendship ended up taking them in the end.

There were some classic Peanut themes here. Nothing really out of the ordinary, but they work for the setting. The animation was also traditional Peanuts style so there is not a whole lot to say about it on that front. If you’ve enjoyed the Peanuts style throughout the specials, then you’ll enjoy it. If you’ve never seen one of these before, then just picture a retro hand drawn style. This came out a while ago so don’t expect Justice League action here, but more like an older version of the Super Friends.

Overall, This special dragged a little and it wasn’t as interesting as the usual Charlie Brown adventure. It had its moments and I suppose that it’s a good special overall, but I just needed Snoopy to be a little more in character. I like to see him take charge and just do whatever he wants. Seeing him in this kind of role just isn’t the same. Charlie Brown was in character though so you can always count on him to see the cup half empty. I’m ready for the eventual Peanuts election. That one definitely sounds promising! As for another Snoopy centered special, I could see that one easily surpassing this one.

Overall 5/10

Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? Review

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Time for the next Charlie Brown special! In this one, Linus has to move away because his father has moved on to a new job. This means that he will be leaving the old cast for good now. It’s been a fun ride, but every status quo must end someday. I don’t think anyone actually believed that he would be gone by the time that the special ended, but I won’t say whether or not he actually goes through with it. Regardless, it’s a solid Charlie Brown special and even his fight with Snoopy is handled a lot better than the movie. That being said, I can’t say that Linus is particularly likable in this one.

Linus is just a little more aggressive and mean in this film. He threatens Snoopy when the Beagle tries to take away his blanket. They don’t actually fight like in the film which is good, but he still takes it in the end. He gives it to Snoopy when he leaves town for a while so that was good. He even writes post cards, but in this film, I’ll take the other supporting characters for the most part. Sally doesn’t do much except make her own promises. We actually get two parallels of the same subplot so see the contrast. Peppermint Patty handles being stood up a whole lot better than Sally does at least. She may not have been all that smart this time as she ignored Charlie the whole time, but she’ll learn how to do that quite well in the coming specials. This is a bit of a prequel in the sense that this is where Patty’s daily phone calls to Charlie Brown started.

Charlie Brown is the best human character by far this time. He was sad when Linus left, but he handled it well and even got a good night’s sleep until the phone rang. He even decided not to pay Snoopy the 50 cents for a meet up so he’s wizened up a little over the years. The Charlie Brown specials just wouldn’t be the same without the main character at the helm. Snoopy also steals the show as expected. It makes sense that he would be the guy in charge of the food at the party and he even replaced Lucy as the advice giving doctor. Snoopy may charge more since his time is so valuable, but that’s just how he roles. Snoopy was also nice enough to give Linus his blanket back, which was actually a little unexpected. Snoopy is not averse to being the bigger man once in a while.

Having 3 different romance running gags in the special was a little much though. Especially since two of them were ultimately the same exact plot. They aren’t around all that much though and the 3 respective guys all take it in stride by pretending not to know what is happening or gently rejecting the offer. After all, they’re too busy. The party was definitely fun although it is a little surprising that Snoopy didn’t have a proper feast for the heroes. I will assume that he was just trolling them all for the fun of it. He couldn’t have actually just not thought this through right? He’s Snoopy after all!

The animation and soundtrack are par for the course with these specials. Nothing has really changed and the animation style is iconic for the series so they’ll want to keep it around for as long as possible. The characters all look well drawn and the style is certainly better than other animated features. For its time, this animation was fairly good. There is really no music this time around so there’s nothing to really say about that angle.

Overall, I enjoyed this special. It was a solid one that didn’t rely on any gimmicks and just had good dialogue between the characters. It felt like more of an ordinary day for the group and how they handled the loss of Linus. The ending is very predictable, but it really had to end that way because a big change to the status quo would be like taking an unnecessary risk at this point. Especially to a fan favorite character. Unless that is what the special did in the end..heh heh. If you enjoy the other Charlie Brown specials or just feel like watching a relaxing special with the characters all having a good time, this one’s for you. Just be warned if you’re a Linus fan as this isn’t his best moment.

Overall 7/10

Snoopy Come Home Review

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It’s time for the next big Snoopy film, but unfortunately this one ends up being the weakest one of them all. It goes on for too long and generally isn’t all that much fun. It should have been since Snoopy was the main character, but you mostly just end up feeling bad for him. The film forgot to even have Snoopy just show up and start wrecking everyone like he usually would. It goes for a more emotional feel, but it ends up backfiring quite badly.

Snoopy gets a letter from his old owner. She is very sick and has been in the hospital for a few weeks. She believes that having Snoopy by her side will help her get better so he gathers his belongings and sets off. Charlie Brown starts to believe that Snoopy has left because he has grown tired of him. Charlie doesn’t really know how to make amends though so this plot doesn’t go anywhere. We have some cutaways where Charlie ponders the current situation, but that it all. It’s really just filler when you really think about it. Still, his plot is more enjoyable than Snoopy’s even if it’s not much.

The best part of the special is when Snoopy comes home temporarily to have a big send off from the gang. They get him a lot of bones to chew on and show how sad they would be without him. Charlie couldn’t even say anything since it was all just too emotional for him. Everyone did miss Snoopy after all and not having him around anymore would certainly be tough for them to get past. That’s why I would have liked to have had a subplot of them trying a little harder to find Snoopy. Meeting him at the hospital would have been a good move, but instead the friends just stay at home the whole time. Snoopy makes sure to pay them back for that by the end and then the status quo is preserved.

What hurts the Snoopy subplot is the fact that he has to go through many hardships. They are all comic relief of course, but it can get to be a bit much. One such plot like this is when Linus and Snoopy decide to start beating each other up over the blanket that Linus always carries around. It goes on for quite some time and the blows do look quite painful. The scene isn’t particularly flattering to either character. Another example is when Snoopy is adopted by a mean little girl who decides to keep on throwing Snoopy around and doesn’t know how to have a pet. Even when escaping, Snoopy drops the bird that he was helping and gives him a headache.

These plots weren’t funny in the slightest and just made the special a little more irritating. At least Snoopy’s old owner was reasonable. She didn’t try to guilt trip Snoopy quite as much as I had expected. Not knowing that her building didn’t allow dogs was a pretty big mistake though. That seems like something that she should have known beforehand. Still, it gave Snoopy a good “out” and he was able to return home. By now it’s possible that the letter he signed to the mayor will have taken effect so he can use the library and other services again. Hopefully that happens since we just saw him use the library in “It’s Magic Charlie Brown.” Seems odd that they would ban him after that. He was being loud, but the book was just that funny.

The animation is roughly the same as all of the TV specials. It looks fine and holds up well throughout the years. There isn’t much of a soundtrack that I can recall. There are a few songs that are used as narration though. For example, you never see the letter’s contents from the old owner, but the song narrates the letter to an extent with a Grinch sounding voice. The songs aren’t bad, but they’re not really my style either. At least it has some songs/tunes though so this special actually has a bit of a soundtrack.

This special really didn’t need to be over an hour though. It could have easily achieved this plot with a simple half n hour and I believe that it would have been better off if it had done this. Maybe the Peanuts isn’t really meant for full length films, although I certainly think it’s possible to have a good one. The first movie dragged on as well, but it was still fun. The next one just needs to make sure that it has a full plot, which doesn’t need to be artificially extended. If it does need to be extended, then it just shouldn’t do it with harsh trials for Snoopy.

Overall, Snoopy Come Home is a bit of a flop. Cut out the fight against Linus and Snoopy’s other misadventures and this movie would have been a lot better. It doesn’t mean that Snoopy should just vanish either. His fight against Lucy was handled fairly well and felt more like a real Peanuts adventure. The fight was decently long, but it wasn’t as exaggerated as Snoopy’s other battles. If you like the Peanuts a lot then this may be a good film to check out. If not, then I definitely recommend skipping out on this one and you should just watch one of the classics like the Christmas special or It’s Magic Charlie Brown as an example of a Snoopy centered special done right.

Overall 4/10