YOU’RE IN good hands, Charlie Brown.
There was so much to be gleaned, from frame to frame and scene to cut scene, that we’ll slow down this lovely visual ode to joy and boyhood, and pause to appreciate These 10 Head-Turning Facets that assuage and inspire:
1. It’s a Good Van, Charlie Brown. A new kid is coming to town, and right away, we glimpse the moving van. Wait, the name of the moving company looks possibly familiar. Let’s get a closer look:
Why, yes, indeed, the movers are [Lee] “Mendelson” and [Bill] “Melendez” — a classy nod to Schulz’s Emmy-winning producer and animator on decades of classic “Peanuts” animation. Well-played, Steve Martino and Team “Peanuts Movie.”
2. Block + Head. The new movie’s filmmakers have labored to be true to Schulz’s unmistakable two-dimensional line, particularlly in how it is wed to three-dimensional sculpting and shading. But here, in an especially pure appreciation, the trailer offers thought balloons to provide the warmth of 2-D “Chuck” — a nifty gift for fans of the strip, and a clever aesthetic duality. It works brilliantly when the 3D and 2D faces mirror the same smile, and Charlie Brown’s familiar progression, of high expectations soon punctured by daily humiliations, helps seed the soil for the plot to come.
3. Visual wit. Not only does Snoopy scale the school and drop in as if in some “Mission Impossible”-esque spy caper — call it, “Where Beagles Dare” — but our favorite dog climbs the window looking like some suction-cup Garfield car-window toy of yore. (It’s worth noting here that Mendelson was also executive producer on the series “Garfield and Friends.”)
4. One true line. Touches of Sparky’s pure inked line routinely populate the frame, but it’s especially wonderful in the careful details, like on the soles of Sally’s shoes, or the dimensional shaping of Charlie Brown’s hair.
5. Second the motion. Also an artful nod to the comic-strip art is how motion is rendered by the doubling of body parts, to heighten the sense of physical movement, whether its feet or arms that are twinned in the same frame to winning effect.
6. A Tolstoy Named Charlie Brown. In a beguiling homage to our hero’s academic past, Chuck’s sledding adventure becomes a true page-turner, as the brick of a Tolstoy tome hurtles down the hill, too, like some embossed albatross. The nod, of course, is to Charlie Brown’s past battles with “War and Peace,” as reflected in the 1986 special “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!” — in which he must deliver a book report on the Russian classic. Once again, the “Peanuts Movie” filmmakers are themselves true students of the characters.
7. Red alert. The fantasies and flights-of-fancy in this film will apparently revolve often around the color red. In one shot, we glimpse the beloved Little Red-Haired Girl from only the neck down, as the filmmakers tease our never quite getting a direct look at her face — as if she shines like the sun. And the film’s true action-fantasy scenes are fittingly left to Snoopy and Woodstock, as the dog’s Sopwith Camel aims to strafe his nemesis, the Red Baron and his silk-scarved ilk. And related to that…
8. Smooth moves. Whether grabbing Linus’s security blanket or roaming the infield, Snoopy is an animal who so often exudes poise and grace. In that athletic spirit, Snoopy moves here like an Astaire of the stair, a quick whippet of movement that dog-trots toward the doorbell. And not unrelated to that…
9. The love of the dance. Whether it’s Pigpen busting out some “dirty” dancing or Snoopy’s Joe Cool owning the floor, “Peanuts” characters have long loved to dance in their varied and inimitable ways. The filmmakers get it: To waltz in Schulz’s creative wake calls for engaging the pas de deux that is his visually balletic legacy.
10. A loyal breed. At the end of another dog day, “Peanuts” is always, foremost, about friendship. A boy and his dog. A director and his collaborators. A fan and his enduring embrace of Sparky Schulz’s heartfelt world.
The main song propelling this new trailer is, of course, The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” which includes the lyric: “The happy ones are near / Let’s get together / Before we get much older.”
That, as much as anything, is a soundtrack’s sounding call: Come be young. Come enjoy the familiar humanity. And come celebrate these characters like dear old friends.