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Snoopy Come Home (1972)
Very disappointing bummer of a "Peanuts" movie
I recently watched this movie for the first time in a long time and I soon realized why I've avoided it for so long. First of all, I have to say that I've always loved the "Peanuts" comic strip and the delightfully witty antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is still my all time favorite Xmas special and most of the early specials remain among my favorites. And I saw "A Boy named Charlie Brown" at the theatre as a kid and still love it. I never saw "Snoopy Come Home" at the theatre,probably because I felt that I was getting too old for the Peanuts gang. But I did catch the movie when it appeared on network TV a few years later. I remember being so disappointed I didn't even watch to the end. So when I decided to take another look at it, I thought maybe I misjudged it. Unfortunately, I realized that I had not misjudged it. First of all, this is the first "Peanuts" production that didn't have Charlie Brown in the title. Also, Vince Guaraldi, the wonderfully talented composer of the specials is not involved at all. Then there is a very dark and very sad plot line, involving Snoopy leaving Charlie and the gang to visit his original owner,Leila in the hospital. I know this was a story line from the strip, but in the strip, Charlie Brown and the others don't seem to come off as badly as they do in this film. And lets face it, the music is corny as all get out. Guaraldis music is sorely missed here. His scores are filled with joy and optimism, but the music here is so manipulative and dated, you don't feel joy, but you feel used. The one part I really enjoyed was when Snoopy is captured by the crazy Clara. That was the only time I felt any sense of the joy of the classic "Peanuts" specials, although I did get kind of a kick out of Thurl Ravenscroft singing "No Dogs Allowed" whenever Snoopy saw a sign with that on it. The story had none of the wit of the strip, the specials or the first movie. It just seemed like a bummer every time Charlie Brown came on, bemoaning the loss of his dog. And even the animation didn't seem as bold or striking as it was in the first movie, with fewer bold choices like the "Beethoven" montage from that movie. I've always thought that Snoopy had pretty much taken over the strip in the mid 70s and to an extent, the specials, but the Snoopy obsession seems to have reached its peak here. But I do like the way Peppermint Patty is used here, as well as Woodstock, but thats about it for the positives. Im guessing that the later movies are probably even weaker, because the later specials would suffer, especially following Guaraldis death. You probably think Im just getting old, but I still love the early specials and the first movie and I still love reading classic strips. So I will return to those and get the bad taste of "Snoopy Come Home" out of my mouth.