The gang from Charles Schultz’ classic comic strip The Peanuts Movie is coming to the big screen, and in a presentation we have never seen. Charlie Brown and his crew have not only escaped the bonds of 2D animation into the CGI world, but the film itself is coming to theaters with the option of whether or not to see it in 3D. Of course, like with every new extra-dimensional movie, there is one big question to ask: is it worth shilling out an extra few bucks for a more technologically advanced theatrical experience?
My full review of The Peanuts Movie will be in the review section of our site, but what you’ll find below is a full breakdown of the experience to determine exactly the best way to see the movie on the big screen. To 3D or not to 3D is the query, so read on for the answer…
Peanuts die-hards may still take issue with the fact that the characters are leaving the 2D world behind with this new film, but the truth is that the movie does offer a lot towards the 3D experience. Since every element of the movie is created in a computer, animation and the extra dimension have long been friends (since creating a greater sense of depth can be more easily manipulated), but The Peanuts Movie also offers a good bit of action – particularly during Snoopy’s aerial battles with the Red Baron.
Planning & Effort Score
With Blue Sky Animation Studios behind the film, The Peanuts Movie was always going to be a CGI animated movie, and obviously in order to make 3D happen it has to be a part of the production plan early on. As a result of this, the animators constructing the various sequences had to do so with the extra dimension in mind – and the truth of the matter is that the effort shows. There isn’t a single scene in the movie that doesn’t take full advantage of the format.
Before the Window Score
The gimmicky aspects of 3D, which have various objects poke out of the screen and get up close with the audience, are my favorite aspects of 3D – but sadly The Peanuts Movie is a bit of a letdown in this department. The movie does take advantage of this half of the presentation sometimes – such as with falling snow or a rogue flying Red Baron toy – but for the most part the various elements of the feature are kept within the bounds of the screen.
Beyond the Window Score
As far as depth goes, The Peanuts Movie is one of the most stunning 3D presentations that I’ve seen. There are many scenes that make you feel as though you’re actually peering into a spinable snowglobe, able to see the full scope of the environment and everything in it. What makes it work is the way that the CGI animation is juxtaposed with the simplistic pen line-like details, which perfectly makes flat elements look flat and round objects look perfectly round. To call it impressive would be an understatement.
Snoopy may like to write about dark and stormy nights, but the 3D presentation in The Peanuts Movie is bright and clear as a sunny day. Not only are most sequences set in the daytime – resulting in the movie pumping in plenty of light to counterbalance the darkness of the 3D glasses – but environments are often completely snow covered, and the white manages to really pop and work as a great balance for the colorful characters.
Glasses Off Score
Want to see exactly how effective the 3D in a film is in any given moment? Just lower your glasses on the bridge of your nose. Without using lenses to adjust the stereoscopic image, what’s revealed are the artificial layers that create the extra-dimensional experience – and as a rule of thumb, the harder the screen is to watch, the stronger the 3D. The Peanuts Movie was most definitely a challenge to view this way for a long time. While one layer would be in focus, the entire screen would otherwise be a complete blur. It most definitely earned high marks in this category
Audience Health Score
For some members of the audience, watching a 3D movie can be an ugly experience that causes headaches and motion sickness. This is typically a result of filmmakers not creating strong enough focal points, resulting in your eyes constantly wandering around the screen and making you dizzy. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue at all for The Peanuts Movie, as I walked out of the theater feeling just as healthy as I did walking in. Admittedly this category can be a bit more subjective than the others, but as someone who has felt the negative effects of bad 3D before, I can assure you that you’ll be fine with this one.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: You know that question proposed at the very beginning of this article? The answer is "Absolutely, yes." Though it’s certainly a different kind of experience for Peanuts fans, the movie takes full advantage of 3D technology, and creates something really visually wonderful. From snowflakes falling from the sky to the hair on Charlie Brown’s head, the filmmakers made sure that every necessary detail in the feature really pops, and in that mission they were very successful. Basically, if you’re going to go see The Peanuts Movie, do yourself a favor and see it in 3D.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.