Ever since the first announcement of a CGI Peanuts movie, fans all across the board have been concerned and skeptical. This is mainly because despite the abundance of fine CGI animated movies, CGI has a checkered reputation. It is primarily derided as being a pop-culture-loaded and slapstick-heavy medium that panders to kids and overshadows all other types of animation. However, Peanuts producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) says that fans can put their misconceptions of CGI aside, as Peanuts will not contain them.
At SXSW, Collider did an interview with Paul Feig, asking if the Peanuts characters will be "modernized" for today's audiences. Feig stated:
It’s very sweet. It’s totally a G-rated movie, because you can’t get edgy with Charlie Brown. That was the Schulz family’s fear, that me and Fox everybody were gonna come in and hip it up and cast Justin Bieber as Charlie Brown and have it like Space Jam or something. All of us were like, ‘No.’ We cast kids that sound exactly like the kids you remember from the specials. It’s very pure of heart.
According to Feig, our fears of a PG rude-humor-based film will not be realized. There will be no celebrities, no urinating Snoopy jokes, no hip hop dance numbers, no selfies, and no twerking.
The new 2015 film will be the first feature-length theatrical Peanuts film since 1980's Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!). It will be directed by Steve Martino, who previously co-directed Horton Hears a Who! and Ice Age: Continental Drift. Bryan Shulz, grandson of Charlie Brown creator Charles Schulz, is writing the screenplay.
In an interview with the Washington Post last October, Martino said of the story:
Here’s where I lean thematically. I want to go through this journey. … Charlie Brown is that guy who, in the face of repeated failure, picks himself back up and tries again. That’s no small task. I have kids who aspire to be something big and great. … a star football player or on Broadway. I think what Charlie Brown is — what I hope to show in this film — is the everyday qualities of perseverance…to pick yourself back up with a positive attitude — that’s every bit as heroic … as having a star on the Walk of Fame or being a star on Broadway. That’s the [story's] core.
The fact that the filmmakers are taking a traditional approach to a beloved character is quite nice to hear, especially after the disappointing news involving Sony's Popeye last week. Perhaps the aloof studio heads at Sony could take a few pointers from Fox and allow a more traditional take on Popeye; the classic approach seems to be hyping Peanuts quite well.