As you can tell from the poster, things aren’t looking good for Charlie in this film. It’s been a tough journey and he has to deal with all sorts of threats. The Charlie Brown luck is as consistent as ever. This film switches up the locale which is definitely a blast. I wouldn’t want the series to permanently leave the iconic town, but a switch now and again is always cool. It’s a fun movie and while it isn’t the absolute best Charlie Brown adventure up there, it’s definitely solid.
The time has finally come for Charlie Brown to leave the country. He has grown accustomed to America and isn’t in a real hurry to leave it, but these things happen. There is an international exchange program going on and Charlie Brown has actually been accepted along with Linus, Marcie, and Peppermint Patty. The 4 of them head over to Europe to have a grand ole time, but the experience turns out to be a little different than expected. In particular, Linus and Charlie have a rough time as they approach a deserted mansion during a crazy storm. Why is Europe making things so hard on them?
It’s safe to say that Snoopy has the best plot as always. We find out that he is actually a Tennis superstar who has access to his own court whenever he wants to play. Unfortunately, his reflexes are a little slow due to jet lag so he gets hit by a lot of balls. I don’t think it’s his fault since the situation is obviously rigged against him, but you can’t help but feel bad for the guy. Snoopy entered the court with a lot of enthusiasm and confidence, but things still got tricky. Regardless, he was fun to have around. Snoopy even helped the others with the bread when it counted.
Charlie and Linus’ plot was pretty fun. Charlie made sure to mess things up quite a bit as per usual though. How could he not think to enter with the bread sideways instead of breaking it at the door though? You can’t even blame bad luck or external elements for this one. It’s just a classic Charlie Brown mistake through and through so it makes sense that he wouldn’t be able to have lunch that day. While he may have slipped up a bit, I do think Charlie fared better here than in most of the other specials. When you think back to the film, Charlie didn’t get into a dozen disasters like usual. The bread was mainly the only thing that went seriously wrong….depending on how you look at it at least. The whole being stuck outside during a thunderstorm was some pretty bad luck as well, but it all turned out all right. The ex soldier just needed to let off some steam.
Patty and Marcie’s subplot wasn’t quite as interesting, but I had a feeling about that from the start. They stay at a farm where a kid tries to become Marcie’s friend. Patty makes sure to block his every move though and show the kid the friend zone card. He may have been rather confused at the whole thing, but fortunately she put him in his place. The plot just needed some more star power like Charlie or Snoopy. It’s hard to really have a Peanuts subplot without them although I suppose the point of a subplot is not to have any of the main characters in it. It’s a difficult issue, but that’s just the way it goes.
It was nice to have a change of scenery though. The gang seems to leave their home town once every 10 specials or so as it has happened a few times, but still isn’t the norm. The mansion was fairly atmospheric although you’ll find yourself missing the school. It always reminds me of the Spelling Bee and to this day that is one of the best subplots in a Charlie Brown film. It was just great and a competition that didn’t drag on or last too long. It was just right if you ask me.
The animation is good. The character designs are all on point and the animations are smooth. Snoopy’s tennis match showed that quite well as he dashed from side to side. He just couldn’t be stopped or slowed down as the dog was on a roll. At this point though, you likely know the animation very well. There are dozens of specials and the animation is the same for just about all of them. It’s a very consistent style that is easy to make yourself familiar with. As for the soundtrack, there’s not much of one this time, but not all Peanut specials can have a big one I suppose.
I haven’t talked about the original characters in the special much, but there’s not much to say. I didn’t like the kid from the farming plot but I did like Patty’s rejection of him. The girl from the ex soldier plot was nice enough. For the soldier, I suppose I can see why he wouldn’t be too thrilled about kids being in his house since he’s trying to live the retired life. Doesn’t make up for him being so cold, but it happens I guess. Either way, the main characters and how they handle the new situations are typically the more important part of these specials. While I would have dropped Marcie from the cast here, the rest of the picks made sense. I’d have switched her out for Lucy since having her around is always a chance to get Charlie into more tricky situations thanks to all of her insults.
Overall, It feels like I’m actually near the end of the Peanuts franchise. At the very least, you can see how much progress I’ve made by checking out my older reviews. I’ve been able to get through quite a number of them so I like to pat myself on the back for that. It’s a fun franchise and the specials are all fairly short so they are very convenient. This one would probably be closer to the bottom half of the specials than the top but it’s still a good special. I suppose I enjoyed the traveling to Europe part than actually being over there. Still, if you haven’t seen this special yet you should definitely hurry and fix that.