First Look: Charlie Brown and Gang to Take the Big Screen (Trailer)

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang are getting a new look and coming to the big screen in time for Thanksgiving 2015, and 20th Century Fox has already released a teaser trailer for the film even though it’s a year and a half from its release. The short clip features a 2001: A Space Odyssey joke featuring Charlie Brown’s bald head and that film’s iconic music before the moment is ruined by Snoopy and the Peanuts piano theme “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi.

Charles Schulz’s beloved comic characters have taken many forms since the strip debuted in 1950, but this is the first big screen film the characters have been featured in, the first time they’ve been computer animated, and their first time in 3-D. The Peanuts characters have been in several successful made-for-TV movies with hand-drawn animation, including favorites A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; been featured as floats in the Macy’s Day Parade; and even been in a┬ámusical titled You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

The movie is being made by Fox animation house BlueSky Studios, which is also responsible for the Ice Age movies and the Dr. Seuss adaptation Horton Hears a Who. The film is being directed by Steve Martino, who directed the sequel Ice Age: Continental Drift and Horton. For those who might be cringing at the thought of Peanuts being turned into what constitutes a typical family friendly animated feature these days, the movie is being written by Charles Schulz’s grandson Brian Schulz and produced by Charles’s son Craig Schulz.

I’m way more protective than my father would have been,” Craig told USA Today. “Our No. 1 goal was always to be authentic to his work and legacy.” The team is keeping the plot of the film closely under wraps. “It’s about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that’s about as far as I’m willing to go,” said Craig, although he did confirm that the entire Peanuts cast from both the comic strips and the TV specials would be included.

Producer Paul Feig, who has also worked on the misfit-centered TV show Freaks and Geeks, said that the film would retain the “sweet optimism” of Schulz’s strip. “Snoopy will not be rapping, no one will be twerking, we’re in good hands,” Feig told USA Today.

Some are nervous about the film keeping true to creator Charles Schulz’s vision, but it seems the people on board with the project are dedicated to the original strip and Schulz’s ideas. Some have also balked at the decision to use 3-D computer animation, but Craig says father would have approved and “embraced the technology.” Judging from the trailer, the animation will remain heavily inspired by Schulz’s drawings but give some added depth with objects like Snoopy’s fur.

Martino is particularly excited about animating Snoopy’s imagined worlds, including his fantasies as a World War I fighter pilot. “We’re going to fly with Snoopy in his fantasy world,” Martino said to USA Today. “We have a bigger canvas. Bill Melendez got Snoopy off the ground in the TV specials. We’re going to take it a step further.”

Given the team working on the project, the film will likely be the most loyal take on the Peanuts world that could be conjured in a computer-animated film. Response to the trailer on social media has been mostly positive, but don’t get excited too soon: There’s still a year and a half to wait before the movie comes out.

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