Love, in Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie, takes the shape of little red hearts that float in the air and punch through snowbanks by a frozen lake. Love is also the floppy-eared beagle Snoopy, with his tiny sidekick Woodstock. Love is the friend who never leaves your side.
But above all, in this movie, Love is the new red-haired girl in town.
Charlie Brown is totally smitten with her – and it is not like we can look away either, as she is always the brightest one in a crowd of grey.
Not to be left out, the super-adorable Snoopy stars in his own fantasy tale where he takes to the skies and locks horns with his nemesis, the Red Baron. He also has his own love interest to pursue: an alluring poodle named Fifi.
It is all very cute, but if you are looking to be blown away by surprise twists and turns, look away – there is nothing much here for you.
Instead, the strength of The Peanuts Movie lies in delivering the familiar and the faithful, packaged in truckloads of nostalgia, optimism and bright colours.
The Peanuts newspaper comic strip, created by the late Charles M. Schulz, first appeared in 1950 and took the world by storm. It grew into a wildly successful franchise that continues till today.
In The Peanuts Movie, the characters behave exactly as we know them: Snoopy types on his trusty typewriter, Linus is inseparable from his security blanket, Schroeder is always on his piano, and Lucy dispenses psychiatric advice to all and sundry.
Their facial expressions are drawn in the characteristic shaky black ink lines that we know and love.
The movie plays it safe, retracing the tried and tested Peanuts path, and never quite venturing outside well-charted territory. It holds true to its original spirit, which undeniably makes for a pleasant watch.
Plot-wise, it is simple, hopeful, and likely most relatable to the young and diehard Peanuts fans.
Charlie Brown is out to impress his red-haired crush, but things don’t exactly go his way. Life is full of trials and tribulations – like striking out at baseball and losing your kite to the menacing kite-eating tree – but through it all, perseverance and kindness prevail.
In the end, he realises that the most important thing is to be yourself, be a good person, and be nice to others.
You guessed right: there is no room for bitter, grown-up disillusionment here.
In fact, the movie feels like it has been transported into the present from a time long past, when the innocence of childhood was pure and untarnished, and dreams were built on cotton candy clouds and rainbows.
No doubt, The Peanuts Movie, with its uplifting message and eternally blue sky, is comfortable in its own skin.
And it is so squeaky clean that it feels almost retro.
It might be a stretch to say that it will win over new fans, but the true-blue fans should be satisfied with this solid effort.
It is amicable and lively, complemented by these warm and fuzzy classic characters lovingly crafted in their quirky comic-strip likeness.
Indeed, the movie is easy to like.
But love? I think Charlie Brown does it better than I do.
Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
Director: Steve Martino
Cast: Noah Schnapp, Hadley Belle Miller, Noah Johnston, Venus Omega Schultheis, Alex Garfin, Francesca Angelucci Capaldi, Marleik Walker, Rebecca Bloom.