The first trailer for the 3D, CG-rendered Peanuts film is here, and it's actually better than you might think.
My introduction to Peanuts came a long time ago, not from newspaper strips but from large anthologies at my local library, which I read over and over when I was very young. That rooted me in the early days of the comic, the 1950s and 60s, when it was still relatively new and fresh and even daring; and while I certainly can't claim that I was a big fan by any measure, I like to think there was a certain depth to my appreciation of the work.
That may be why the prospect of a 3D, CG-rendered Peanuts film leaves me feeling a little uneasy. Are we going to see a hip, edgy Peanuts gang? Is Snoopy going to be transformed into an unironic Poochie? And above all else, why is it being made? Is there a purpose to this besides, "Hey, look, it's Peanuts in 3D?"
Today's trailer doesn't answer the last of those questions, but that's (mostly) okay, because it does seem to indicate that the first two aren't something we need to worry about. CG notwithstanding, it looks like Peanuts and it sounds like Peanuts, and according to Schulz's son Craig, the filmmakers are taking a very cautious approach to the project.
"I'm way more protective than my father would have been," he told USA Today. "Our No. 1 goal was always to be authentic to his work and legacy."
Producer Paul Feig added that the team is working to ensure the "sweet optimism" of the strip is front and center in the film. "Snoopy will not be rapping, no one will be twerking, we're in good hands," he said.
That's good to hear, although I'm not sure that "sweet optimism" really nails what Peanuts was all about. At its finest, it was really rather dark, as the characters - especially Charlie Brown - struggled with existential issues about life, love and hopelessness in a a fundamentally cold and uncaring world. There were sweet elements to it, like Snoopy's happy dance, but the strip was far more firmly rooted in Charlie Brown's lonely, sleepless nights.
In any event, here's hoping it works out! Peanuts is scheduled to hit theaters in November 2015.