Jim Henson's Muppets will return to the big screen this week with Muppets Most Wanted, but they look to bring with them the first look at Peanuts - another cherished property that holds a special place in the hearts of many adults, who grew up either reading the late Charles Schulz' comic strip and/or watching the various TV specials (and occasional animated feature) that brought characters like Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and many more to cartoon life.
Co-producers on the Peanuts reboot include Paul Feig (director of Bridesmaids and The Heat), along with Charles Schulz' son Craig Schulz and Craig's son Bryan Schulz. The latter is co-penning the script with fellow producer Cornelius Uliano.
However, as you can see from the above teaser trailer, Peanuts will break away from tradition, by realizing the world of Charlie Brown and his peers via CGI-animation (read: 3D) techniques. The Peanuts gang have crossed over into the real-world before (case in point, this Super Bowl ad), but always in two-dimensional form - meaning, this is a comparatively radical change of pace for the franchise.
That said, judging by the initial footage from the 2015 reboot, the Peanuts gang looks to land smoothly after having made the jump to three dimensions. Schulz' minimalist physical designs for the characters appear to translate well into 3D on their own, while additional, yet nonintrusive details have been incorporated to provide the characters with more texture (see Charlie Brown's curly hair or Snoopy's fur) - without removing their cartoony essence in the process, that is.
If nothing else, the results here seem less awkward (and easier to adjust to) than when other nostalgic 2D cartoon players - like the Looney Tunes crowd or certain iconic Disney 'toons (see the Sleeping Beauty fairies in Maleficent) - have been re-envisioned for the age of computer-animation.
For more, check out the following screenshots from the Peanuts teaser, courtesy of USA Today:
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Peanuts director Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) told USA Today that the "bigger canvas" offered by 3D animation will be put to good use, in order to do things like bring Snoopy's fantasy world - where he famously envisions himself as a fighter pilot in WWI - to life in a more expressive fashion that was possible before. Indeed, as films like How to Train your Dragon have shown, flying/action sequences can be something to behold in 3D - if done right, of course.
More importantly, Feig promises there will be no ill-advised attempts to make the Peanuts brand "cool" in this movie - as he put it, "Snoopy will not be rapping, no one will be twerking, we're in good hands." Indeed, some of the past Peanuts films and cartoons have offered moments of real poignance and (for lack of a better term) powerful childhood existentialism. So, hopefully, Feig's comments - and those of his collaborators - is a sign that the reboot will have an equal amount of heart.
Peanuts opens in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on November 6th, 2015.
Source: USA Today