Friday, November 6, 2015

Peanuts The Movie

I have just watched The Peanuts Movie with my nephew.  The movie is based on the popular comic strip by Charles M. Schulz.  The Peanuts were featured in previous movies which are aired as specials during the holidays; however, this movie is in 3D.  We saw our favorite characters, Charlie Brown, Patty, Schroeder, Lucy, Linus, Sally, and, of course, the lovable white dog Snoopy. This movie was very well made for being an animated film. Charlie Brown is upset with his life.  He is insecure and clumsy which leads to low self-esteem. However, a new girl comes into his class who has red hair.  He develops a crush for her and tries to get her attention but seems to fail every time. While taking an exam, the red hair girl drops her pencil after finishing the exam first.  The pencil rolls to the feet of Charlie Brown.  While distracted with the pencil, the teacher says with the famous 'wah wah wah' sound that there is only about one minute left.  Brown nervously rushes through the exam. Meanwhile, Peppermint Patty is asleep and wakes up abruptly.  She rushes through the exam as well and both run to the teacher's desk to return it.

However, they forget to write their names and in a  mix-up, write their names on each other's papers.  Charlie Brown's crush increases and he tries to learn how to dance in order to impress the red hair girl in an upcoming school dance.  Brown also tries to better his communication and social skills with the help of Snoopy.  When the dance comes, Charlie Brown watches nervously as his friends dance.  He then develops some courage and starts dancing which surprisingly leads his schoolmates to cheer him on until he slips on a puddle of punch and hits the sprinkler system causing the water to spray on everyone.  Lucy and others grumble and leave since his clumsiness ruined the dance. This further depresses Charlie Brown who wants nothing more than to get the attention of the red hair girl. Back at school, the grades of the standardized exams are posted and it is learned that Charlie Brown scored at perfect 100 on the exam.  He becomes the most popular kid in the school after this. Lucy becomes infuriated with this.

Meanwhile, the red hair girl leaves town to care for a sick relative. However, Charlie Brown is selected to be her book report partner which surprises him.  He works hard to finish the book report in her absence in order to impress her and keep the image that he is a genius after acing the exam.  However, during an assembly where Charlie Brown is about to be given a star for his performance on the exam, he realizes that the exam attributed to him was not his.  When it was his time to accept his award, he chose to tell the truth instead of taking credit for the test score.  This disappoints his peers with the exception of Lucy who is ecstatic that he once again failed.  Brown becomes depressed again because he feels that his embarrassment further harmed the possibility that he would get the attention of his red hair crush. Throughout the movie, Snoopy is also trying to conquer his crush, a dog named Fifi. However, he does so while fantasizing several scenarios of him taking on the role of a World War II pilot. This leads to Lucy calling Charlie Brown and telling him that his crazy dog was wandering about. In the end, Charlie Brown feels defeated until he learns that the red hair girl wanted to be partners with him in a school project.

However, he also learns that she would be leaving for summer camp. This forces him to go after her in order to return her pencil which had rolled in front of his feet.  As he tries, things get in his way. He gets frustrated but continues. When he feels hopeless, he prays that things go right and a kite comes down from a tree and he gets entangled in it. The wind picks up and he is pulled towards the red hair girl.  Charlie Brown manages to reach  her before she boarded the bus and returned her pencil. Both have a discussion after Charlie Brown asks her why she chose him as a partner. The red hair girl responds that he has all the qualities she likes.  He is honest, sincere, loving, and so forth. Charlie Brown realizes that the qualities he thought were bad and which made him feel unimportant were in fact what shone in him and made him valuable.

This movie is great for the family and reminds me of the book of Corinthians which says that "Love never fails or gives up" (1 Corinthians 13:8). Charlie Brown is a kid who feels he is not valuable. He deprecates himself to the point of becoming hopeless. This is very typical of kids as they age. In a world that encourages competition, many kids often feel like they are not built for this world.  unfortunately, some hurt themselves or even resort to suicide in order to escape what they perceive as a hopeless and valueless existence.  The movie gives a good message to those who feel isolated and hopeless.  Charlie Brown learns that it is the little things that he felt do not count that actually did.  His good nature, honesty and so forth were enough to get the attention of his crush. The moral of the story is not to hate yourself or put yourself down. One has to love him or herself and not try too hard. Charlie Brown felt that the world was against him. He felt that the world was set up to be against him.

We often feel this way. Even the book of Psalms and Lamentations we read of similar feelings. The storyline can inspire kids and even grown ups to value themselves and persevere just like Charlie Brown did. Aside from the funny parts, the part of the movie that stood out was when Charlie Brown prayed and the kite fell before him to help him get to the red hair girl. It reminded me of Divine Providence. We have to look for the 'winks' God gives in our lives and how He helps us get through difficult moments via many ways which are not so obvious at the moment. I recommend this movie for families and people of all ages. It is a great movie, not overly funny nor crude. The storyline presents the opportunity for a great discussion on the value of one's life, perseverance, love, and Divine Providence.

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