New ‘Peanuts’ Cartoon Brings The Comic Strip To Life [Review]
Last year's Peanuts Movie did the near-impossible and pulled off a successful translation of Charles M. Schulz's iconic style and characters from their native 2-D to CGI. That technical breakthrough was the film's real marquee attraction; the story was just a greatest hits. Structured over an entire year, you got the Red Baron, the Little Red-Haired Girl, the whole deal. Despite the deep melancholy and ennui at the strip's heart, Peanuts is a comic ultimately built on comfort and refuge.
Knowing that, it's easy to see why the new Boomerang/Cartoon Network series, Peanuts, went the route it did. Rather than attempt to modernize or emulate newer shows like Steven Universe or Adventure Time, Peanuts opts for a familiarity that perfectly evokes the feel of the comic strip.
French animation studio Normaal has been producing the series for the French market since 2014, and has done remarkable work recreating the look and feel of the strip with Flash animation. The shorts are presented as if we're reading the comic and having it come to life in our heads, and it looks stellar.
On top of that, director and writer Alexis Lavillat does some fascinating things with transitions and color. For example, in a short where Charlie Brown instructs Snoopy on the different colored flags he should use to indicate what type of food he wants, the background changes to match the flag. Lavilliat also provides some really fun bumper gags between shorts.
The kids voicing the gang --- who sound similar to, but probably aren't the kids from the recent movie --- all do a swell job, sounding very naturalistic and at ease.
If you love Peanuts like I do, you're going to love this show. It doesn't do anything unfamiliar but hey, that's OK. We're in a boom of exciting animation right now. It's nice to have a warm glass of milk and cookies after trying something new.
Peanuts airs on Boomerang and Cartoon Network. Check your cable provider and local listings.
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