Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Spring Training Charlie Brown

Growing up, I had a Peanuts book. It was mine, and nobody else's, which, when you're small is a great source of pride, even if you can't read it too well. I remember that it was pink or orange with Snoopy and flowers on the cover.  In fact, to this day, I still love Peanuts. I fell that Charles Shultz was a genius and am ardent that the strips should be reprinted in papers until the end of time.

That being said, all copies of It's Spring Training Charlie Brown should be destroyed. The film was written by Shultz, but it has none of the charm, philosophy or humor of the actual strip. In the film, it is the beginning of the baseball season for Charlie Brown's team. They are their usual uncoordinated selves while getting ready for the new season. Some random new character called Leland, a little boy, who seems to be Freida's little brother, who is too small to tie his shoe, wants to join their team. Charlie Brown mocks him cruelly, and then lets him be on the team.

The team wants uniforms, claiming they'll play better with them, and so Charlie Brown tries to deliver. He finds a local store owner, who will buy them uniforms, but first, they have to win their opening game. Oddly enough they are able to win with Leland's help. They get their uniforms, and then promptly lose the next game. This allows them to have two heavy handed cliched morals, it doesn't matter what you wear it's how you play the game, and it doesn't matter if you're big or small, you can still make a difference. These are both good morals, but they are dealt with such seriousness, they are hard to stomach.

Charlie Brown's team actually winning an important game is like giving the Trix Rabbit cereal, you always hope for it for them, but in the end it feels extremely wrong. The whole film has the same unnatural feel. The characters' usual wit and appeal has been sucked right out of them, and they seem like tired cliches. The film, created in 1992, replaced the iconic Peanuts soundtrack, ranging from dreamer sounds like the catch Christmastime to Beethoven, in the background with a rap-like sound which doesn't really fit. This leads to one of the worst moments in the film. It turns out that instead of singing the "National Anthem", the characters do the hokey-pokey, and then, Franklin raps. The rap is something about being the invincible team that never loses (although their record says otherwise) and winning is what it's all about.

This film takes all the joy, humor, and charisma out of a classic comic strip, and I hope that no one out there has the misfortune to watch it.

The Babysitter

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