Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Series: A Peanuts Movie
Starring: Wesley Singerman, Serena Berman, Corey Padnos, Megan Taylor Harvey, Chrystopher Ryan Johnson
Director: Larry Leichliter
Release Date: 8 December 2002
Length: 18 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: Online Streaming
The Peanuts gang is ready to celebrate Christmastime again in this new holiday special. Lucy (voice by Serena Berman) tries to persuade Schroeder (voice by Chrystopher Ryan Johnson) to go ice skating. Snoopy gathers money for charity while dressed as Santa Claus. Linus (voice by Corey Padnos) doesn’t know what he wants for Christmas and struggles to write a letter to Santa Claus. Sally (voice by Megan Taylor Harvey) decides to make everyone a gift this year. Charlie Brown (voice by Wesley Singerman) attempts to make a Christmas card for the cute little red-haired girl in his class. Join your favorite Peanuts characters as they prepare for Christmas.
This Christmas special was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed it, but it was very abrupt and quite brief. It clocks in at app. 17 minutes (you can watch the whole video above!) so it couldn’t even be broadcast on TV as a half-hour special unless they padded it with a lot of commercials! They had some really funny ideas to present in the cartoon, but they were all so short! Instead of trying to come up with some longer plot lines to thread through the smaller vignettes, they just kind of lump them all together and jump from character to character and idea to idea without any link between them. It felt like I was watching all of Charles Schultz’s Christmas comic strips in an animated form. Each thought could have been rather easily adapted to a Sunday comic strip format, which works great in a newspaper, but is not quite as entertaining in a cartoon.
All of the main characters have an opportunity to participate in several brief sequences. Charlie Brown (voice by Wesley Singerman) pops up quite frequently, but he is not really the star in this special. He is mainly the foil for other characters as they need his help with other activities. Charlie Brown is embarrassed to walk Snoopy (voice by Bill Melendez) to the corner where he plays Santa Claus to gather funds for charity. He also wants to know why Lucy (voice by Serena Berman) cannot agree to be nice to him all year long when Lucy approaches him to say that one of her holiday resolutions is to treat him more kindly. Lucy seems to be the star here and she and her brothers, Linus (voice by Corey Padnos) and Rerun (voice by Timmy Deters), appear in most of the cartoon. In the beginning, Lucy ignores Snoopy, a wonderful ice skater, to try to persuade Shroeder (voice by Chrystopher Ryan Johnson) to partner her in the skating show, but Shroeder is a hockey player and refuses to join her. Rerun asks Snoopy (thinking he is Santa Claus) why Santa didn’t bring him everything on the list the previous year, only be scared off by Snoopy. Linus tries several times to write a letter to Santa Claus – including giving Santa permission to skip their house! – until he finally gives up and just tells Santa to bring him a surprise. Linus then tries to send a Christmas card to a girl that he likes in his class who sits behind him, but the little girl changes her name every day and he doesn’t know who to address it to!
Sally (voice by Megan Taylor Harvey) provides some of the funniest sequences as she is young enough to not really understand everything that is going on. She decides to make paper airplanes for everyone as a Christmas gift this year. Sally then proceeds to write a letter to Samantha Claus and, rather than correcting her, Charlie Brown just lets her go on believing what she wants to believe. It is the other children at school who set her straight! Sally also tries to get a Christmas tree for her family, but she doesn’t know how to cut down a tree. She decides that she will just stare at a tree until it falls down and then bring it home. However, the owners of the tree do not quite agree that the tree belongs to Sally. This was one of the longer stories and it was quite entertaining. I feel that the writers of this Christmas special could have done a bit more to extend any and/or all of these subplots into a 2 – 5 minute sequence instead of a 30 seconds – 1 minute sequence. It just felt like all of the stories were so rushed! I didn’t even have a chance to do more than smile in reaction before the next story was up on the screen!
This Christmas special will appeal to little children most of all as I am sure that they will appreciate the brevity. The Peanuts gang is also given a face-lift and the colors are brighter with a slightly different style of animation than the original Peanuts specials. The characters are all still recognizable, however, and the vocal talents are similar enough to the originals that none of the new voices jumped out at me in a negative way. Even though this is not my favorite Peanuts special, there is still a great deal to enjoy. This special is so short and moves so rapidly that there is always time to squeeze it into my holiday viewing, which is a definite plus. If you are a fan of the Peanuts gang or looking for a fun cartoon to share with some little kids around the holidays, this is a nice little filler.
This cartoon features some mild violence and rather stunning verbal put downs. Appropriate for viewers of all ages. Recommended for ages 2 and up.