In this CBS animated miniseries of eight episodes, the Peanuts gang (created by Charles M. Schulz) visit important events in United States history. The episodes were: "The Mayflower ... See full summary »
Poor Charlie Brown. He can't fly a kite, and he always loses in baseball. Having his faults projected onto a screen by Lucy doesn't help him much either. Against the sage advice and taunting of the girls in his class, he volunteers for the class spelling bee...and wins! Next, it's the school spelling bee. Once again, a winner! Good grief! Now the pressure is on as he is off to New York City for the televised national spelling bee. With Snoopy and Linus present for moral support, can Charlie Brown spell his way to a national championship? Written by
Peppermint Patty makes a brief appearance in one shot (behind Frieda), among a group of children cheering for Charlie Brown upon successfully spelling "perceive" in the class spelling bee. She would finally become a major character in the next film, Snoopy Come Home (1972). See more »
Linus and Snoopy are entering the theater where the Spelling Bee is held from the interior of the building. When Linus tells the usher he's a friend of one of the contestants, they are shown going inside from the exterior. See more »
Lucy Van Pelt:
Aren't the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by. If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud's formations. What do you think you see, Linus?
Linus Van Pelt:
Well, those clouds up there look to me look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean.
Linus Van Pelt:
That cloud up there looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there....
[...] See more »
At the end of the opening credits, when Snoopy plays "vulture" sitting on a tree, he slips and crashes on the "Directed by Bill Melendez" credit, which dashes into scattered black text below. See more »
Close to the spirit of the strip in terms of content and animation but also contains imaginative additions
Charlie Brown is a young boy who cannot ever seem to do anything right. His baseball team always loses the first and last games of the season (as well as most of the ones in between) and he gets the blame. He never gets a moment's rest from his friends putting him down as the designated goat even his dog gives him a rough ride. Determined to show that he is more than just a failure, Charlie enters the school spelling bee, aiming for victory but can he stand up under the pressure that awaits him? Meanwhile Linus goes cold-turkey.
I have seen several of the Peanuts features and have enjoyed them as a fan but been the first to put my hands up and say that they are neither great films or totally captured the spirit of the strip. However with this feature I am pleased to report that it was pretty much spot on in both regards. The plot starts well and the first half of the film is an enjoyable collection of episodes that act like individual strips while still moving the film forward. The second half moves into more solid territory with the spelling-bee but even then it keeps it together and is well structured. The humour of the piece will appeal to those who enjoy the strip not hilarious but it has some funny moments as well as the amusing philosophising that they all do. The film benefits from imaginative writing that adds humour in various ways Snoopy drinking the water and Linus going cold-turkey are two such examples. Only the actual spelling bee final is a little slow as it is a couple of minutes of spelling!
The film isn't heavy with songs like other features I've seen and the animation is nicely close to the strip and pleased me as a fan. However, again an added bonus, the animation opens out every now and again to become something much more sublime (and that word is not an exaggeration). Snoopy taking to ice becomes a blur of colour, while Linus playing the piano becomes close to art! It may not be as polished as Disney but it is really cool and imaginative while still staying within the Peanuts style. The voice work is all good a little flat at times but it suits the characters (of course I'm used to them by now so I didn't have the 'problem' of imagining them myself first).
Another reviewer has put this film on a par with Fantasia and, while I wouldn't say that, I can see what they mean. The plot moves the film forward but also manages to capture the spirit of the strip really well. Likewise the animation is very close to the strip and is pleasing to watch. Both these aspects are made better by a series of imaginative touches in the writing it is funny little gags and the strips' usual philosophising while in the animation it is a series of imaginative fantasy sequences that really make the film feel like something special. The most pleasing Peanuts movie I have seen.
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