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CGIFeature Film

First Look at CGI ‘Peanuts’ by Blue Sky Studios [Updated with Teaser]

Ahead of the film’s teaser trailer premiere later today, we’ve got our first look at the bigscreen CGI adaptation of Peanuts that is being produced by Blue Sky Studios.

Film producer Craig Schulz, the son of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, is trying his best to justify this crushingly artless project that will very likely contribute nothing to his father’s legacy. He told USA Today, “We’ll see that Snoopy has soft-white fur,” and explained that although, “Bill Melendez got Snoopy off the ground in the TV specials,” that Blue Sky is “going to take it a step further.” We’ll check back in with him 48 years from now, which is how many years Melendez’s A Charlie Brown Christmas has aired continuously, and see if Blue Sky was indeed able to take it a step further than Melendez.

The blandification of Peanuts, it turns out, is a Schulz family affair. Craig’s sreenwriter son Bryan (Charles’ grandson) is writing the film with Cornelius Uliano. “With my father’s work this is three generation of Shulzes on this film,” Craig says, conveniently neglecting the fact that the original Peanuts was the brilliant and anguished outpouring of one man’s heart and soul, not a group project. It stands to reason that if Charles Schulz had needed his son or grandson’s help to make Peanuts, he would have asked them when he was alive.

The Steve Martino-directed film is due to be released on November 6, 2015, so I’ve still got another year-and-a-half to get really angry about this film.

[UPDATE]: Here’s the first teaser trailer, complete with scribbly lines over the CG so the filmmakers can claim they were faithful to Schulz’s original artwork:

And in case you want to obsess over Snoopy’s soft-white fur, because according to Craig, the CG “brings you closer into the comic strip,” here are the characters in super-detail. Click on any of the images in this post for a bigger version.

(Thanks, Pedro Nakama)

  • Steve

    Amid Amidi: “This is a personal affront to everything I hold sacred and take extreme offense to this disgusting display of artistic laziness and I shall forever seethe with anger over this precious property that means so much to me in my personal daily life. Death to Blue Sky Studios and the Schulz family”

    Everyone else: “Looks cool.”

    You’re becoming a parody of yourself, Amid.

    • AmidAmidi

      Actually, I’m not that big a fan of Peanuts, at least not on the scale of many fans of the strip. I just have immense respect for Schulz as a comics visionary and hate to see such an intense personal vision trampled upon by a multi-billion-dollar-conglomerate for the sake of a few bucks.

      Danny Antonucci said it best on Facebook a few moments ago:

      • Dan

        So because of your “immense respect” for the source material you feel it’s your job to trash a film based on two stills? And are you saying Schulz wasn’t doing it for a profit? Or do you just hate when “multi-billion-dollar-conglomerates” pursue profits? I’m assuming you got paid to write The Art of Robots for Blue Sky Studios. Was that your way of sticking it to the man? There are definitely some talent less (sic) people around here.

      • Steve

        Talentless technicians? What an embarrassing and ignorant quote.

      • TS

        Is your review of the Peanuts film ready Amid? May as well post it now, huh? No sense in waiting. Ride the wave of your cartoon outrage!

      • CG Animator

        Yes Antonucci, it’s just soooo true that CG animators are all just technicians and computer nerds, not artists.

        Well, that WAS true at least… in about 1980 or so.

        Oh well, that said, I’m going to go worship my Looney Tunes VHS collection and cry about “the good ‘ol days” of quality hand-drawn entertainment like ‘He-Man’ and ‘Hong Kong Phooey’ now instead of actually doing something productive. See ya!

        • Roberto Severino

          Best comment I’ve seen this year. Thank you for saying what needed to be said. Nostalgia can be good and all but when it starts getting in the way of being able to judge something like this objectively, we have a problem. It’s the easiest way to sound irrelevant.

        • Funkybat

          It’s the “John K. Syndrome.” I will say that this point of view seems to be dying out. I am a 2D lover, and wish to draw, not animated digital puppets. But I also admire the artistry that many modelers and 3D animators bring to their work, and anyone who at this point in time still disparages 3D features as “artless technical exercises” is someone who isn’t paying attention. Even features that I feel fell short as films such as Frozen or Brave still showed immense artistic skill, both in the concept stage and the final movie on screen. I think refusing to admit that at this point is putting oneself firmly into the “old man yells at cloud” corner.

      • bobby

        It’s not as if Ed, Edd, and Eddy is the conceptual high point of animation art…. or any of Danny’s work for that matter. Why not recognize that while this is a continuation of a HUGE franchise that has been making money for years, it is also yielding unique results that have never been seen before in feature animation. People complain that everything in animation is looking too similar these days, but when studios do finally try something a little different people try to hate it for whatever reason they can muster up then predictably retreat to Disney nostalgia. If people want a diverse visual industry, they might have to support those who take visual risks.

  • thmazing

    What upsets me most is the kids who will see this film as the standard against which Schulz’s work won’t “look right.”

  • Bill “Danger” Robinson

    I share your concerns, but I’ll reserve my judgement since I (like you) have not seen anything besides TWO FRAMES OF THE FILM.

  • Bill “Danger” Robinson
  • blandyblottschalk


  • AmidAmidi

    It’s not just about the stills. It’s that the whole concept is flawed. When Schulz was alive, he didn’t let his kids and grandkids near the strip. Now that he’s deep underground, the family feels like his legacy is theirs for the taking.

    • Cynthia

      Well they are his heirs. And Schultz didn’t die yesterday, he’s been gone for years. I think they are legally entitled to do this, and sufficient time has passed than there shouldn’t be any moral stigma attached to the project either.

  • IamSam

    Tin Tin sucked. IT only got a high critic rating because it was European based property and classic and you know how critics love anything based in Europe. It looked good but came out as if people knew everything about TIN TIN. It was so boring. As far as this goes it looks pretty cool so far. True to the look of the characters. :)

  • popyea

    Will be interesting to see how this works in motion, since you can tell they’re trying very hard to keep the individual compositions the same. Unless these are just promotional shots and not indicative of how the film will look.

  • a great story and great writing can influence me to think any visual choice is good. too bad it sounds like it’s not going too well in that department, i expect a lot of people to quickly point blame at the visuals if the writing does fall flat.

  • I know CG remakes of classic 2D cartoons is pretty standard now….but this won just breaks my heart.


    when will people realize that 3D can’t beat 2D at being 2D?

  • I for one am genuinely impressed by how faithful the producers were to the original character designs. It would have been so easy for them to give the characters realistic body proportions/facial features like so many CG movie adaptations do. We should be grateful that they didn’t. Here’s to hoping the move will look just as good in motion.

    Having said that, lighten up, Amid. Please.

  • Carl LaFong

    I agree with Amid in principal, but Schulz wasn’t exactly Bill Watterson when it came to integrity. The so-called “brilliant and anguished outpouring of one man’s heart and soul” included having his characters shill everything from life insurance to dog food, for decades. During his lifetime Schulz allowed PEANUTS TV adaptations to reveal a (horribly generic) Little Red-Haired Girl and even show “adult” characters walking around in the background. Schulz has been lionized so long that people seem to have forgotten to what extent he sold out. I think the family’s concept of artistic integrity is strictly a chip off the old block(head).

    • jonhanson

      Exactly! He allowed the Peanuts characters to push life insurance for the last 15 years of his life and now we cry that his legacy is being ruined.

      To me it seems that Schulz viewed himself as a cartoonist. His comics are his legacy. He didn’t let anyone touch what he did for the newspapers and I think that should be respected. It’s hard to say he cared too much about what happened to his characters off his page.

    • Harrison

      So what if his characters were in advertisements? That doesn’t mean he sold out.

  • Carl LaFong

    …Principle, that is! (Rats!)

  • I am willing to give it a chance…

  • Marbles471

    I don’t understand why they felt the need to do this. It was not necessary to do this. So why have they done it?

    Nothing that made Schulz’s world visually unique can be transferred to this kind of CG imagery. By definition it can’t. Video games are one thing. It’s kind of another realm altogether and it’s fun to sometimes see radically different manifestations of characters we know and love in a 3-D world. But this isn’t a video game. It’s a feature film with a story, one that’s supposed to be set in Schulz’s world, with Schulz’s characters. And this graphic approach doesn’t work.
    Snoopy alone should tell you that. Those Schulzian, abstracted eyes superimposed against that finely rendered fur? Look. There’s artistic juxtaposition, and then there’s just plain putting two things together that don’t fit. This is the latter.

  • The close up shot of Snoopy looks a little odd, but other than that it doesn’t look half bad. Don’t really see what the big deal is here. It’s not like what happened to Yogi Bear or Scooby Doo, etc

  • Roberto Severino

    This honestly isn’t as bad as I was expecting. There’s still a lot of appeal in these characters CG animated or not!

  • wgan

    these images got me intrigued enough that I want to see how they are animated even though i’m not a huge fan of either the comics or this cg adoption of the comics.

  • Steve M

    Look, I’m not 100% stoked about a 3-4 panel comic strip being stretched into a 90 minute movie, or a great artistic legacy bastardized into corporate schlock, but the Peanuts have been commercial products as long as I’ve been alive. How many iterations of the original Xmas special are there now? Aren’t they even insurance spokesmen? It is what it is now. And Clavin & Hobbes are still safe for the time being. Also, if you’re not a big fan, I’m sure you can find some other just cause to fight for. I used to like coming to CartoonBrew, and, shit, I often love the snarkyness of Amid, but the bitterness of some of the articles has come off the rails lately. Is posting images from the movie you are bound and determined to hate really going to deter people from throwing money at it, or is it just more free press?

  • Pock C

    I must admit that the visual doesn’t seduce me at all.. I’m much more eager to see how the series produced at Normaal turn out.

  • Hankenshift

    I don’t really know anyone who thinks tintin or especially rango “looked” good at all. tintin was characterless and robotic, while rango was a story and thoughtless design mess (not to mention, it didn’t make any money considering it’s cost).

    I have a bad feeling about this Peanuts thing, but will say I’m surprised at how well they’ve translated Chuck in cg. I wish they’d gone for an older Snoopy (say, 1965). But I’ll slam the door on this if they don’t let Lucy be her old fussbudget self. Blue Sky is LOADED with talent, obviously doing their best under trying (read “Schulz Family”) circumstances. I do believe without their talent, this would actually look WORSE.

    • JudeJackson

      I mean, I have a helluva lot of trouble accepting this as “robotic” or “characterless”. The characters are well-defined, their faces are subtle and emotive, their posture and motion is believable and expressive while still being properly restrained, and the camerawork and lighting is perfect and deliberate (just look at how they use light on Haddock’s poor sad eyes).

      As for Rango being a mess, I’ll warrant that it’s ugly, but ugly is very different from bad design. Ugliness is part of what makes The Name of the Rose so great, and the character design in Paranorman exceptional. Ugly is an underused tool in an artist’s repertoire.

      • cckrad

        you have a “helluva” lot of trouble accepting this as ‘robotic’ or characterless’? you think the faces are ‘subtle and emotive’? are you blind? tin tin is the most lifeless, souless, creepy, dead, stiff looking thing i’ve ever seen! this is much better:

      • Hankenshift

        Mmmmm…no. But it’s obvious from your statement you’re not aware of what “character” means. You’re a technician, who focuses on surface quality. Not a bad thing, but obviously not an animator. rango was just plain bad design, with zero taste. Ugly can be appealing, but rango was just ugly. And lacked character. tintin was a roller coaster ride, but not a good film, and certainly not animation. But I can appreciate your acknowledgement of their technical know how–even if it’s the least of concerns when creating strong and appealing characters and telling a good story well.

        • JudeJackson

          [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

      • Steven Bowser

        I think that it helped that they went FULLY CG with Tintin. They didn’t just take the drawings and glue on fur and skin textures to them.
        I think if you’re going to draw it, draw it, and if you’re going to CG it, CG it. But the pseudo-halfway thing shouldn’t have been tested on Peanuts. We expect them to look a certain way and they’re taking a huge risk by tampering with the drawings like that.

  • Toonimated

    Hey there bud…seem kinda cranky. Need a nap?

    Seriously though Amid, chill out. This doesn’t even look bad. And it’s like, two images. Let’s wait for some actual footage and a synopsis before ragequit, hm?

  • jonhanson

    I love Peanuts and it’s probably the one work of art that most defines my life.

    But this post just seems kind of ridiculous. As others have rightly pointed out Mr. Schulz was no Bill Waterson, carefully guarding his artistic legacy. He poured his heart and soul into the comic but he was fine with licensing all kinds of Peanuts junk. Not trying to insult him, I’m a firm believer in capitalism and I ate up a lot of the junk he had Snoopy and Co. slapped on as a kid.

    If they were trying to change his comic or even the TV specials he helped create I’d be pretty upset, but calling what seems to be a labor of love by Blue Sky a “crushingly artless” and somehow uniquely offensive when Mr. Schulz OK’d the use of his characters to sell insurance every time I turn on the TV just seems silly.

    • Funkybat

      I think whether or not Schulz commercialized his art is pretty irrelevant to the discussion, actually If this were a series of ads using the characters, that would matter. Since Schulz had no problem selling out his characters, I wouldn’t worry too much about their continued use in ads, though WHAT they advertised might matter. (I feel similarly when it comes to seeing the Muppets hawking products, since the very earliest Muppets, including the prototype of Kermit, frequently pitched coffee and hot dogs.)

      This feature is no more or less valid due to Schulz’s commercial use of his characters, to me what validates it is the existence of the animated specials. Since the medium of animation was acceptable to Schulz, I doubt he’d have a problem with this. Contrast that with Watterson, who very clearly rejects both commercial use of his characters, but even animated interpretations, even if he were in charge of the animation. It is not Watterson’s rejection of commercialism that to me makes a Calvin & Hobbes feature untenable, but his rejection of ANY medium other than comic strips drawn by him.

  • Good grief.

  • Gorgilla
  • Happiness is…..

    You know…. When I was a little kid reading Peanuts every Saturday in the funny pages…. I always said to myself…”Self, you know what this comic strip really needs? Some Fur and Subsurface Scatter.” I’m glad that 30 years later I can see my dreams come true.

    • bob

      Technically…. blue sky doesnt have subsurface scattering…

  • Could be worse….

    Could be worse….. Dreamworks could have made this movie. Thankfully nobody gives 2 craps what atrocities have been done to Sherman and Peabody. Lets give Bluesky a crack at this.

  • Matthew Broussard

    Why isn’t Amid allow to dislike things on his own blog? Anytime he expresses skepticism toward any new upcoming film, the comment section explodes with “wow, someone’s cranky”. As the chief editor here, why not just let him, you know, editorialize?

    • jonhanson

      He has every right to editorialize and commenters have every right to comment on his editorial statements.

      That said I think we both agree that those who want him to “shut up and report the news” are misguided.

    • IJK

      This is Amid’s Blog?

      I thought it was CartoonBrew, an animation news website.

      Does that mean Bill Gates can use the Microsoft website to post his rants, too?

  • Max C.

    The writer-director credits leave me curious as to how faithful the spirit will be, considering Steve Martino’s last film had Nick Frost’s manatee butt in 3D, but overall I’m relieved that Blue Sky paid full respect in the design work.

    Reading this article, however, gave me a flashback to this:

    • Steven Bowser

      Full respect=pasting hair and skin onto his drawings, scribbling around it, and then saying “it has those scribbly things, so it’s drawing-y now, just like the strip!”
      If they wanted it to look like the strip then they would have drawn it. All they want is to turn heads so people will watch this “new and improved” Peanuts. It’s just weird and wrong.
      And I’m surprised at myself for being irate about it because I think it’s cool that CG is being used in this way. Just not with the Peanuts.

  • Dan

    I’ve never been an enormous Peanuts fan, and I’m not an animator, so maybe my opinion doesn’t matter here. But I’m actually really surprised and pleased by the look of this thing. They’ve made a real effort to translate Schultz’s style. I like the choppy movement and the line elements. Even the detailed CG textures have a simplicity that doesn’t draw too much attention. For a long time, most CG features, especially as far as child characters were concerned, looked undistinguishable from each other. I think this is pretty damn cool.

  • WackyDelly4Life

    Oh! His pants were made of DENIM! Mystery solved. That explains the chronic depression.

    Also, market research has shown that kids really relate to cartoon kids with scuffed brown leather shoes.
    “We love the Peanuts brand , but let’s go easy on the pathos until we hit Plot Point 2, okay Bryan? We don’t wanna bum kids out, ya know? Just stick to the formula, and I’m sure we’ll have a sure-fire hit.”

  • Rufus Chickenplight

    Maybe it’ll be good. I’ll reserve my judgements until after I’ve seen more than a couple of still pictures. Calm down, Amid.

  • Renata Melo

    Here is the trailer:
    Now we know how it is in motion =) and it’s seems pretty good to me in a way very nostalgic.

  • the Gee

    That teaser trailer.
    I don’t take issue with what you wrote, Amid.
    Do the Schulz offspring care more about legacy than squeezing more money from this? Also, does this Blue Sky feature stick with the “stick to the script” guideline that the tv specials are allegedly supposed to adhere. I remembering reading that new animation had to be based on Schulz’s existing scripts.

    Whether or not “Happiness is a Warm Puppy” does or other specials are mainly based on existing strips, I don’t know.

  • Hey Now

    “His reasons for not merchandising his strip weren’t about artistic integrity, they were about not wanting to have to take time away from cartooning in order to run a merchandising empire.”

    -Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Read any interview by the man.

  • bob

    Amid you have no idea how technically complicated this is.

  • Lucky Jim

    One thing I’ve felt too many CG features do is use really realistic textures and lighting. Sometimes it works, (Rango looks beautiful because of the contrast with the stylized character designs and the hyper-detailed textures), but often it looks like it’s stuck between the animation world and the live-action world. Too much realism.

    So to see something like this, with incredibly stylized lighting and textures and animation, is pretty great. No doubt The Peanuts movie will be a feast for the eyes.

  • Alex Irish

    And hey, it’s really hard to get hired at Blue Sky. They only take the best of the best. Nor is the rotten writing of most of their films the animator’s fault (all out of Hollywood)

  • bob

    Its for kids… have you even seen the original drawings? Its not exactly as if they are re creating michelangelo pieces.

    • cckrad

      but it IS like they are trying to recreate Michelangelo pieces! Shultz was an artist in the true sense of the word-the peanuts contain so much subtlety, a rare and very special uniqueness, sweetness, sadness, and is filled with social commentary-we’re talking about a comic strip written and drawn by one man from the 1950s into the 2000s-almost 50 years! pretty amazing and insane when you think about it. and it wasn’t ‘just for kids’, but if this new incarnation is ‘for kids only’ (whatever that means) should it look bad?
      i don’t want to this so suck or fail- i LOVE the peanuts-but come on-
      the CU of charlie browns head looks like an outtie belly button! GROSS!

    • Alec

      I rarely go on this site (also, I think Amid’s article is insulting and his other comments here are rather contradicting) but I’m just going to be completely honest: That is a god-awful argument. The “it’s for kids” argument not only makes it sound like you’re disregarding the hard work that the animators are putting into this movie they’re making but it also feels like a cop-out argument. Also, cckrad’s comment feels like an insult.

      I honestly hate the term “kids movie” mainly because it feels degrading. I usually like to use the term “family movie” when describing an animated film that would actually sounds like a film for all ages like kids, teens and adults and this new “Peanuts” movie coming out next year fits the bill. The idea that a film that is animated is a “kids movie” feels like a bitch slap in the face to the people who worked on the film (let alone the animation industry). I detest the “Animation Age Ghetto”; the idea that animation is something that’s only for kids is not only a terrible argument but is also rather hypocritical. The Live-Action film medium are similar to “animation” where as “live-action films” are made up of sequences of images that form movement, much like “animation” and yet even “adult” films that have terrible writing and even try too hard to be “mature” seem to get a free pass because they’re aren’t animated and are “fantasy” when most people who use the word have no idea what they’re bloody talking about.

      My point is that I can’t stand that argument because it makes it sound like the people who watch those movies (and hell, even animated series) have no idea that they are in fact dismissing the efforts, long hours and hard work that go into many animated works. Also yes, live-action films do use CGI and even occasionally hard-drawn animation. Does that make those works “kiddy”?

  • HalSolo

    This looks just charming. Considering Blue Sky’s Horton Hears a Who was 60% sublime, 40% unneccessary pop culture references, maybe they can go whole hog and make a really lovely film. It’s happening, so I just want it to be a sweet tale of a depressive and his beagle.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    I don’t know. To me, Charlie Brown and Snoopy actually translate quite nicely to the 3d style. I have a feeling, this movie is in the right hands.

  • jonhanson

    I want to say thank you as a lifelong Peanuts fan who counts Mr. Schulz’s oeuvre as the work that defines my life. Your attention to detail really shows in the teaser animation.

    I get why Amid doesn’t like the chosen aesthetic and I’m always going to prefer seeing the Peanuts characters in drawn form but I really appreciate the work you and the crew is doing to expose these characters to a new generation that doesn’t read newspaper comics and watches less and less network TV.

    Once again I understand why people are defensive about Peanuts but as far as I’m concerned Mr. Schulz’s legacy is already set in the years worth of comics he lovingly crafted. If your movie can inspire just one kid to dive into that wonderful body of work then I think it’s all worth it.

  • jonhanson

    This is the way Cartoon Brew has pretty much always been. Hate it or love it you can say it’s the reason that this blog gets traffic while more traditional “industry blogs” don’t.

    • Jason

      Yeah clearly the Fox news hate train route is the way to go to get respect amongst the artist community.

  • Max C.

    If that is “artless” and “talentless” then I’m a mongoose.

  • Hey Now

    This will be HUGE in Asia. Snoopy is arguably bigger than Mickey Mouse there.

  • Mesterius

    Who said this is just an industry blog, or even *primarily* an industry blog? I’ve always appreciated the personal feel of Cartoon Brew, and I think that touch has been lost to an extent after Jerry left and Amid hired a ton of additional writers. But even today, I find it silly to categorize this site as a whole “an industry blog”.

  • Sevenfeet

    We all act like Peanuts TV specials and movies have all been this outstanding collection of cartoons, but in reality, there are only a handful of gems you want to play over and over again compared to the 45 different TV shows and 4 movies done since 1965. This isn’t any different than the classic Warner, MGM or Disney studios…all of them have classics intermingled with mediocre stuff and some awfulness.

    The best work is easily in the first 15 years of doing these shows when Schulz himself was at the height of his power. But even then, only about 5 specials really stand the test of time. Of the movies, I think three out of four are good (Race For Your Life was mediocre).

    I don’t mind the CGI…are we to stop every single change to an animated form? If so, we wouldn’t have jumped from Iwerks Mickey to Fred Moore Mickey. What I care about more than the artwork is the story. The really good Peanuts specials/movies have a great story that is true to the characters and ultimately make us believe in Charlie Brown, even when he doesn’t want to believe in himself. If they can do that, it will be a success. Lots of Peanuts specials, especially those in the last 20 years (before and after Schulz death) are just 3 panel vignettes stitched together into a 22 minute show with little if any continuity. Nearly ANYTHING is better than that.

  • mark

    This post sounds like something Ego from Ratatouille would write

  • CMC

    It’s not a bad little trailer. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

  • TS

    Feel free to elaborate.

  • Robert Holmén

    Gary Burghoff was the original 3D Charlie Brown in the New York stage play inthe 60’s. Now he looks the part…

  • Kris Åsard

    I think you have “nostalgia” confused with “timelessness”. Nostalgia does not keep anything “relevant”, that would be like using water to keep something dry.

    Anyway, my actual point is that I would much prefer for Craig and Bryan to come out and proudly say “Look at our movie! Look at the movie WE made!” rather than trying to pin it all on their long deceased dad/granddad. It’s simply not a good feeling when you see the elder Schultz’s actual SIGNATURE appear on something we know for a fact he did not sign off on. It just feels fake and unnecessary.

  • Slightly off topic, but any trailer for an animated feature that uses this typeface should be filed away, in a dark drawer labeled “Nope.” This typeface is in every single animated feature trailer for the past 3 years, and it’s got to be stopped.

  • Nick Bruno

    Jeff, honey…

    As your Animation Supervisors could you please get back to Animating, and quit pandering to the the “Troll king.” He’s mean and needs a hug.

    Nick and Scott

  • Taking Peanuts to CG is a hard idea to sell, but it’ll totally make the characters more accessible to today’s audience. I’ve just watched this a dozen times, loving how you guys have translated the look to CG. The way Charlie Brown’s mouth moves from lines to cutout when he turns his head, the ‘drawn’ motion lines – it’s all amazing! It’s so great how much you guys geeked out on those little details. The care and fun put into this really shows and looking forward to this!!

  • Myst AnimatorX

    I like it Can i have a job working on it? lol

  • I just think the detail they put into each frame is absolutely amazing.

  • AmidAmidi

    My criticisms are never directed at the animators and other artists/technical people who are on the battlefield. Blue Sky has an amazing group of talent, and I have no doubt that you will perform to your highest capacity on whatever project you work on.

    The issue here is trying to extend Schulz’ legacy by translating his work into CG. Computer animation is a completely different medium. It does not
    inherently contain the same graphic properties as line drawing. The essence of Schulz’s work is contained in his mode of artistic expression, which is drawing. Those little marks that he puts on the paper are not superficial bits of design to cut-and-paste into CG as you please—they ARE the work. Blue Sky has conveniently separated the technique from its meaning.

    Schulz’s son, Craig, said in the interview that they are attempting to remain ‘authentic’ to Schulz’s work. But accuracy and authenticity are different things. Making something in CG look like Schulz’s line art is a technical exercise, but it is not an artistic expression that takes advantage of the medium that you’re using, nor is it mindful of the creator’s original vision.

    • IJK

      The instant they are rehashing an old franchise though, they are not trying to express artistically some new idea or feeling or whatever. So why not go in the realm of technical exercise?

      • Funkybat

        I would not have felt like I was missing something if Peanuts was never turned into a 3D animated feature (I might feel differently after seeing the final film, though I doubt it.) At the same time, I am not willing to attack what Blue Sky is doing just because it is 3D. That is a knee-jerk reaction (an I say this as a big-time 2D booster.)

        I would prefer to see characters originated in simple 2D like Charlie Brown or Sherman and Peabody remain in 2D, but there are a multitude of ways such characters can be modeled, rendered, and animated in 3D. It might be a bit early to say, but I’m pretty sure the Peanuts film is going to do a more faithful job of portraying the Peanuts characters than the recent DW films did. But then, one franchise has a more ardent fanbase than the other, and the overall target markets are probably different as well. I don’t think DW cared a lot about nostalgic baby boomers coming to see their film, but I am pretty sure Blue Sky is counting on them for this Peanuts film.

        Point is, 3D can be used in a variety of ways at this point, it doesn’t have to look generic or soulless, and even this old 2D animator has to admit that only the most bargain-basement schlockfests still look that way today. There was a lot of very nice animation on Sherman & Peabody, it just didn’t FEEL LIKE Sherman & Peabody.

    • Todd DuBois

      Excuse me – if your criticisms are “never” directed at artists/technical people, you shouldn’t approvingly cite Danny Antonucci’s shot at “talent less technicans”.

    • whoiseyevan

      Amid, I see no difference between your comment and people who say that “the book was better than movie.” Every time original art is adapted to a new medium, format, or style, purists will argue the artistic merits of the original over the derived work. In the case of film adapted novels, I have seen amazing work and I have seen not so amazing work. But there is always room to create new art. I do not see Bob Kane’s line art aesthetics in Batman: The Animated Series, nor in Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight, nor in the light-hearted ’60s Batman TV show, but I respect the artistic merits of all three in expanding the Batman legacy.

      To say that the new film is conceptually flawed, is in itself a flawed statement. The original Peanuts comic strips did not have the same watercolor aesthetics as the Peanuts cartoons. The animation had softer but more defined lines, a bolder, more abstract color palette, and it lacked the inked-look of the strips — which is the very essence of Schulz’s original artwork. However, I do not treasure the cartoons any less than I do the original strips. I recognize the distinction in both and appreciate each one’s artistic merits. The animation technique exhibited in the new trailer is something I have never seen before. It retains some of the ink strokes and motion lines of the strips, fills it in with 3D textures, but animates it in an almost 2D-like sense of aesthetic. To say that it is an exercise and not expression, is akin to labeling the old Peanuts cartoons a technical exercise. After having seen the teaser trailer in motion, I do not agree that “blandification” or “artless” are accurate words to define the film. I see a lot of workmanship and passion from some very creative individuals that worked on this.

      • AmidAmidi

        It would be convenient if I said that the original is always better than the derived work, but I’m hardly a purist in that sense and find that kind of thinking to be silly. In fact, as I’ve already stated, I’m not even a big Peanuts aficionado.

        My issue is with using a computer to slavishly recreate the graphic intent of line art instead of using the unique qualities of computer animation to do something that captures the spirit of the original, like the Batman examples you suggested. This is also why I didn’t mind Steven Spielberg’s Tintin film:

        You lose me completely when you say that ‘it retains some of the ink strokes and motion lines of the strips.’ Like Blue Sky, you are isolating the technique from its meaning. Those markings are not random graphic quirks to be retained; those are the essence of Schulz’s approach and what gave meaning to the whole. Computer animation can recreate anything nowadays so it’s hardly a big deal to artificially recreate such markings. But it’s mindless fetishism to cobble together bits and pieces of Schulz’s art without an eye to the big picture of what Schulz was actually saying with his art. It is why I maintain that this is a conceptually flawed piece.

        • CB

          So you would rather Charlie Brown look like a generic CGI model? Like how they turned Garfield into a generic model, in favor for stylistic realism in the live action film?

          I’m not taking a crack at the new Mr. Peabody and Sherman movie, but I’m getting tired of those CGI renders where 2D animated characters are translated into 3D models where they convey a stylistic realism (i.e irises in eyes, realistic hair and such). There’s nothing wrong with those types of designs they use for CG movie, it’s just that it’s been overdone to the point that it has become a generic style, similar to how many mainstream animated films in the 90’s were so used to the Disney style, that many art critics at the time have become annoyed with the Disney style itself, despite being an incredibly beautiful animation style. (I’m not comparing the CG stylistic realism with the 2D Disney Renaissance style, nor will I pass judgement on it. Only time will tell how influential stylistic realism in CGI will be.)

          One of the problems with today’s animation studios is how they’re scared of experimenting with different types of animation, in fear that the movie will bomb if it slightly deviates from the design norm. Similar to how animation studios from the 90’s would copy the Disney style. Or how in the Fleischer era, American animators would stick to rubber hose animation and rotoscoping. (Though to be fair, animation was a new frontier, and they had to tread carefully). Honestly, the animators who would risk experimentation are mostly indie animators or foreign animators. So it was such a relief to see films like The Lego Movie and this movie, which you call artless, being made in a different style than its other CGI counterparts. It was made combining Schulz’s hand drawn style with the realistic colors that CG can now provide. In fact, the screenshots look more or less like a painting than a normal CG animated movie screenshot.

          You could argue that it’s merely attempting to mimic the stop motion style in animation and Schulz’s style in drawing. What I see is the first step into something greater.

          Ever since I saw the short film Paperman, that was half made by “talentless technicians,” I became optimistic as to how far CGI has come to perfectly recreate the Disney Renaissance hand drawn style that we all love. And with the teaser shown on this page, we see another aspect what CGI can do. It can mimic art with realistic colors and such. So it’s not just being experimental by combining hand drawn and CG styles, it’s the first step to helping hand drawn animators out of jobs due to CGI artist demands.

          Imagine an animated film with extremely complex colors such as the ones you see in paintings. Where instead of the paintings being only in the background, the characters are painting itself. And they are animated in the hand drawn style.
          In other words, imagine Beauty and the Beast, with it’s same animation but looking completely like a painting. Or “When The Wind Blows” but with consistent colors in each frame. This teaser of the movie proves that it’s possible we may see a new era of hand drawn. But in which CGI evolves it to look like a painting, and thus attracts a new audience for it’s new way of creating suspension of disbelief. The truth hurts, but the reason today’s audience cater to CGI is mostly because they look better than hand drawn animation. It’s sleek and new to the audience and holds a better job (in their own opinion) in holding the suspension of disbelief. Famed Disney animator Eric Goldberg once said that what was missing in CG animated films was how they don’t have the same charm of animation that hand drawn animation seems to have.
          So it is a good compromise with hand drawn animators once again creating the movement of characters in the smooth and elegant style seen in those old Disney Renaissance movies, with CGI helping to create a new standard of visual design.

          True, you may argue that even if animation succeeds in the marriage of frame by frame animation and CGI visuals, it will still never be like those classic hand drawn films of old. But it could ultimately help bring back hand drawn animators who hold the knowledge of charming frame by frame animation, while not sacrificing CG technicians who have experience with computer graphics and ultimately make hand drawn animation even more appealing. It’s the best of both worlds. The strengths of two mediums combined to create a new medium.

          So no, I don’t believe CGI is full of useless technicians. I believe they are useful and have knowledge to not only bring a new visual style to hand drawn animation, but to relieve animators of other hassles they used to have before the CGI era.
          These animators of the new Peanuts film are showing much respect for the source. And not only that, they aren’t insulting Schulz’s artwork or other non-technical animation by doing this style for the movie. Whether they know it or not, they helping to contribute to the future of animation itself. And this is not some indie film. This film is from a mainstream animation studios. That says a lot.

    • DangerMaus

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

  • markzzbr

    You made my day! LOL!

  • boohooo

    cry me a river,just because you are putting your heart and soul in your work doesn´t mean that is valid,good or necessary the only appreciation for your work needs to come from you and your coworkers,not by us animation fans or another animators seriously what an attention seeker you are, thanks for adding another nail in the coffin for 2d animation

    sorry for the bad english

    • Bob

      Hey boohoo, Instead of bitterly misdirecting your anger at Jeff over the “death of 2d animation”. Get out of the comments section and flip some paper.

  • IJK

    Ironic considering just two posts down is “How To Train Your Dragon 2 Stills” which are some of the most gorgeous CGI I’ve seen as of lately.

  • frank

    You’re doing a fine job.

  • Jason

    Well said.

  • Toby

    Haters gon Hate.

    The 3d animation art form is relatively young. Styling 3d with 2d design/animation sensibilities is only recently something big studios are having a crack at, and i’m glad for it. It’d be nice to have a bit more positive an outlook for trying this sort of thing. It may not be perfect as it stands, but it’s a step in a fun direction and I myself find it pretty exciting.

    • CG Animator

      You can’t please anyone it seems. If CG is realistic purists say it’s “too creepy”, if it’s cartoony, loose and appealing purists say “why isn’t it hand-drawn?”. If it’s somewhere in between, purists say “it looks like rubber”.

      Oh, and don’t forget Flash animation. If Peanuts was animated in Flash the purists would go ballistic. They love to talk about those “EEVVVIIL TWEENS” that half the time nobody uses anyway or if they do, they are heavily refined so it doesn’t look like they do.

      But hey, most animation purists are stuck in 1997 for Flash just like they are stuck in 1980 for CG. Go figure.

    • Joe

      >The 3d animation art form is relatively young.
      People have been saying this for years, more as a an apologetic response to awkward CG than a look into the future.

  • ebilflindas

    yeah, I don’t think we need to worry too much about “artistic integrity”..

  • BongBong

    But if you want the same cel animation look, there are plenty of opportunities to see the Peanuts TV specials.

  • IJK

    It is a bit heartbreaking to think that the people you once looked up to are now shitting on you as an adult for working on projects they hate and they don’t even know you/know that you are where you are now because of them (Ironically).

    I don’t WANT to lose respect for Danny but…

  • IJK

    Because they’ve already drawn it. They’ve drawn it hundreds of times. We got a ton of episodes and movies in drawn format. So the question is, why not try it in a new medium? Why not? WHY?

  • Krypton Keeper

    I want a link to that.

  • 2MKcreations .

    I think this Peanuts strip might represent Amid completely.

  • daniel

    That’s exactly the problem.. you’ll never even begin to touch Schulz’s work with your approach! Your trying your hardest to imitate an artist without understanding his life and how he thought.. It’s not just trying to hopelessly study his subtle line quality and his shape language..

    If you were a REAL artist and you did respect his work, you would understand the most superficial fact that Schulz would NEVER put texture and gradation where it defeats the illusion give by his ink line..

    Do you really draw? This question arises in my mind because if you really did work the way Schulz did, you would instantly find why he didn’t shade his drawings with a light source; it defeats even drawing with a ink pen..

    What’s sad and pathetic is that the “blood and pain of a hundred artists” amounts to a image that looks like a disney VHS cover done by a lesser artist~

    • bob

      Jeff is doing his job. He didn’t pick the film himself. And, let me educate you, an animator does not pick materials. That is an entirely different department. Do before yo shoe too much more of your fan boy ignorance, I suggest you win an Annie before you try to speak down to Jeff. He already has his.

      • Daniel

        It’s always funny to believe that everyone that makes a comment is a fan boy.. or how relevant having a annie means anything in this conversation..

        The truth is hard to swallow.. It’s a common thing for armies of “artists” to work on films that just look horrible.. what’s sad is that he really believes in it.. Even with a Annie,his whole approach still reminds me of a art student not a ARTIST!

        “It is better to be nothing than an echo of other painters, The wise man has has said: When one follows another, one is always behind.”

        (Jean Baptist-Camille Corot)

        • bob

          I am not the same bob that called you a fanboy (It’s funny how everyone on this thread is named Bob. My actual name is Bob not an alias), but I understand why the other bob might mistake you for a fanboy– because you made a ridiculously condescending to one of the industry’s most talented artists.
          First off as a person who has worked in the feature film industry for 17 years I can tell you that I have actually crossed paths with Jeff Gabor. To answer your question from earlier, he can indeed draw, and there is a descent chance he can draw better than even you. You should do your homework on people before you criticize them. It’ll spare you some embarrassment
          You are absolutely correct in your statement that armies of talented artists often work on crappy films. If you work on films long enough, you will work on at least a few stinkers. If you feel the need to remind all of us of that, you are either very green or you might in fact be a fanboy. Regardless, your perspective confuses me. In Jeff, you have an artist who completely believes in immersing himself in Schulz’ work and you’re crushing him for it. Would it be better to ignore the source material, slap realistic skin pores on all of the characters and give them all whites in their eyes? If you were assigned to work on a film based off of a popular comic, wouldn’t you go to the source material? Or would you just wing it. This movie is getting made whether you (or Jeff Gabor for that matter) like it or not. Jeff is respected, but he did not issue the decree that Blue Sky tell this story. Peanuts fans should just feel lucky that there are artists like Jeff who want to preserve the spirit of the comic strip. There are a lot of “ARTISTS” that gather reference. That is not art school, that is what a professional does. A true pro, takes an assignment like the peanuts and puts as much passion into Schulz’ story as they would their own. That is what Jeff is doing.
          As for the Corot quote…. I love Corot, but he was not an animator. In animation you HAVE to follow. If the wise man Corot applied that motto for feature animation, he would have had to live a lot longer than 1875 to get anything done. He’d probably still be trying to animate his third act.

          I have no idea who you are, you may be a star in the art world or talentless judgemental hack. I don’t know and I really don’t care. The thing is… you should watch your tone towards your fellow artist. We all work on films together and this is a small community. We need to support other artists in this medium that requires more teamwork and cooperation than perhaps any other. If you feel like saying demeaning crap to your fellow industry colleagues makes you feel like an ARTIST in all CAPS, then maybe you should stick to painting pictures like Corot or doing something more solitary like performance art.

          • CG Animator

            WELL SAID Bob. I’ve never met Jeff but I’ve been a fan of his work for a long time. His animation is always fantastic and fun to watch.

    • deepV

      I think a ‘real artist’ uses the medium he has at his disposal to achieve a vision. Obviously the goal is not reproduce Schulz’s work EXACTLY or they would have done the movie in 2D, and then you and Amid would be complaining “what’s this more of the same? We want to see something new!” And that’s what the goal is: to achieve a new look to reboot the Peanuts legacy, but still stay faithful to the spirit of the original drawings. Honestly, even if the style isn’t your taste, I think we as artists should be celebrating anything that pushes the 3D medium, which is what Jeff and the other artists at Blue Sky are doing.

    • Jeremy K

      From your comment, I assume you haven’t watched any of the 40 something TV specials that Schulz was personally involved in…

  • JudeJackson

    The common perspective is the old, horrible crank opinion that CG just can never capture a certain je ne sais quoi; a self-fulfilling belief that CG will never feel right. That, and constant disrespect for artists—not only by openly criticizing their art and intentions, but also by treating them like they’re stupid by lying and backtracking—is unfortunately the vitriolic reality that constantly eats at the animation community. I’m sorry so many people without any particular qualifications feel the need to openly insult you. I look forward to seeing you guys’ work, love it or no I’m certain you’ll bring something valuable.

  • Leo Catelli

    It’s understandable, yet annoying how fans of classic books, comics, etc. get frustrated when their beloved cult item gets translated into a new medium. At some point, you kind of have to let it go and realize that things change, evolve, and adapt to the modern times.

    I really love Cartoon Brew for its fresh update on the animation industry, but the subjective and personal twist to every article isn’t necessary. Ideally, any media outlet would be totally unbiased, but I guess that just isn’t a reality. It’s nice when it’s at least subtle.

  • Roberto González

    I’m a huge fan of Peanuts and I’m really happy they kept the original designs of the characters. We already knew this was going to be a CGI movie. We already knew Blue Sky was producing it. The fact that they decided to keep the original ‘flat’ facial expressions and cartoony eyes in the characters is actually fantastic news, I was expecting something closer to PVC figures at best ( but I like that they chose to include both eyes at the same side of the face. At worst they could have just added realistic eyes and mouths. I also don’t get why all new movies have to be CGI but they did something interesting with the look this time around and it’s not only cool cause they are faithful to the original source material but also because it proves CGI doesn’t have to look always the same. After seeing this I’m also a lot more hopeful about the story/plot, which will probably be just as faithful. I didn’t like the scripts and characters in Rio or Epic but I think I’ll probably love this. At the very least I think it will be quite enjoyable.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I’m looking forward to all of the publicity before this movie is released especially the interview with the digital artist on the cloth simulations and dynamics of Linus’ blanket.

  • Mesterius

    Amid is obviously not a “journalist” here in the sense that you’re talking about. He’s a blogger. He can inject as much personal opinion into these posts as he likes.

  • Jiff

    Charlie Brown wears shorts, not pants!

    • Mesterius

      The pants were the one thing, design-wise, which really felt out of place to me in that trailer.

  • Mesterius

    Meanwhile, Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop has its own shocking opinions about the teaser trailer:

    • Gerry

      Thanks! I think I just found my new source for animation news!

    • Jonathan Wilson

      Yep, except Mark Kausler doesn’t seem too happy about it…

      • Mesterius

        That’s true. Damn, Mark Kausler is sceptical. Guess it’s not allowed to like the trailer after all then.

  • cckrad

    you don’t mean to call me out… but you ARE calling me out…
    this is for you:

  • Mesterius

    “…he didn’t care, most people around him were trying to be more faithful to the strip than himself.” That statement proves you have no idea what you’re talking about. And for the record, Schulz wrote all the TV specials himself until his death in 2000.

  • George Comerci

    I think it looks good! The Peanuts were always a huge part of my childhood, and I have to say, it looks like they’re doing a fine job on this. They’re paying enough homage to the original that they’re certainly not butchering it. I don’t know why you’re so upset, Amid.

  • Harrison

    While I do prefer hand drawn much more than CGI, I am still willing to give this movie a slight chance. Its not the animation that made the Peanuts, its the charm it holds from its characters, stories, and even that timeless piano tune :)

  • Brett

    I really wanted to hate this, and the stills made me cringe. After seeing the teaser animation however, I’m convinced they’re doing it right. It has almost a stop motion feel to it (which for whatever reasons feels less blasphemous than CG). Well done Blue Sky.

  • craig m

    I’m gonna check the blogs from 1967 when the news came out about the Peanuts gang being portrayed on stage by adult actors. I can imagine the hate.

    The Schutz family deserves credit for not having someone take over the strip — that’s the one thing that should never be touched. But if animators and writers with a deep understanding of Schultz’s work can adapt it in a way that will hook a new generation (and the initial signs look promising), I say go for it. But I’ll cringe if Snoopy is writing his novel on an iPad or they do an Angry Birds joke with Woodstock.

    • Steven Bowser

      They had blogs in 1967?

  • anakinbrego

    Because 2D animation is dead! Did I answer that right?

  • henryplusse
    • 4shiki

      Er, this is from 2011…

  • Steven Bowser

    The TV specials were so true to the comic that they looked like the comic had come to life. It was drawn the same way the comic was drawn.

  • Steven Bowser

    Bill Watterson continues to protect his characters because he knows what happens to them when you sell out. It cheapens them until they have no meaning anymore (like the Peanuts and Garfield).
    The only reason we still adore Calvin and Hobbes is because they still live exclusively in our Sunday Comics collections, untouched by the media.
    Look at this comic Watterson made about commercialism

  • Steven Bowser

    Shultz wrote the specials, and they were drawn to look just like his strip. It looked like his strip had come to life just as it was. It didn’t need anything else to capture people. In fact, it was super super cheaply made, but it continues to be re-ran on TV for decades.
    It doesn’t need fur simulations and skin textures to be more true to the comic. Those things only make it creepy and awkward.
    Drawings don’t need real skin and hair. It’s gross and unnecessary.

  • Craig

    I actually think this looks pretty cool for being in 3D. However, I am always sad when 2D is replaced by 3D. The hard work on this shows though, congrats!!

    When Bill Watterson kicks the bucket I hope the studios leave that property alone out of courtesy (won’t happen, but one can hope). It would be the saddest for me personally to see Calvin and Hobbes to be made in 3D. I don’t think I’m alone in that boat.

    Looking forward to seeing more of the hard work you guys have done on this movie when it hits the big screen!!

  • Max C.

    An animation blog where the writers aren’t allowed to be critical, or even biased, would have a point to its existence. People want news and not always reviews. Jerry Beck, for instance, is optimistic when something grabs his interest and when he discovers other animation news he just spreads the word. And when he is negative, his opinions are formal and never contain an Amid level of fury or sarcasm.

    • Mesterius

      “People want news and not always reviews.” I disagree. I want personal opinions AND news. In the earlier days of Cartoon Brew, I felt like I had a personal relationship with the site because the posts by Jerry and Amid nearly always included personal opinions and reflections. These days, with a large cast of additional writers, many of whom I don’t find as interesting or personally engaging and whom I don’t particularly care to get to “know”, that personal feel has disappeared a little… and as a result, I generally don’t come here as often as I used to do.

  • bob

    Well said. One thing people often forget is that many of of the people who work at Blue Sky have also helped to create other movies in the industry, including Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, Up, Brave, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Aladdin, Mulan, Harry Potter, Shrek, Star Wars… etc… the list truly goes on and on. This industry is small and the near bigoted ignorance of someone who has never worked in the industry is frustrating to say the least. To say Blue Sky employees aren’t talented, but then enjoy the same people’s work under a different brand highlights Amid’s bias and undermines some of his arguments.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    “It stands to reason that if Charles Schulz had needed his son or grandson’s help to make Peanuts, he would have asked them when he was alive.”

    Lord knows how many Chris Brownes, Jeff Keanes or the Mastroiannis of the world we already have without one more.

  • tom bancroft

    You’re my new best friend, Jeff Gabor! Keep up the great work!

  • Mesterius

    “Something seems wrong when artists and content creators feel the need to step into the comments to personally defend their artistic work and decisions.” …and that’s because people take this site way too seriously. Cartoon Brew is not God, nor is it some sort of all-knowing Bible. So why treat it like it is?

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      I don’t feel like that’s the case at all. I am curious why you’re so defensive of it, however.

  • Thanael

    Thank you! I’ve been thinking about that all day!

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Good Grief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alec

    I honestly thought they looked pretty decent.

  • Mac

    I want to give the benefit of the doubt to Blue Sky.As a teen,i was wondering if an animated “Peanuts” would play in 1965.The Ford commercials were not a plus,as this was a franchise that would eventually shill for anything.Even a few minutes into the Christmas special,I was not sure. And then Linus had the house lights dimmed,and the tears started. Sparky had won me over.But the animated Peanuts jumped the shark more times than I care to remember(Rod McKuen).
    A musical? Really.Well,that won me over,too.”Snoopy, the Musical”?Well,at least the Muppets got a great song out of it.
    But I’m fearful once again,and evidently with good reason.I don’t care how furry Snooppy looks. I just want him to be quixotic.And I want Linus,too,to sit in that pumpin patch and be disappointed.Like really seeing the little red-haired girl or the inside of Snoopy’s doghouse-this was like radio and we’re not supposed to see so much..To quote Linus:”If you are fake,don’t tell me.I don’t want to know.”

  • Mac

    The music is pretty spot on,I’ll give you that.That doesn’t mean this will actually be used in the film,but they sorta,gotta.It’s as important as Linus’ banket.So who got picked?David Benoit?Dave Grusin?George Winston?
    I’ve thought about adding “Christmas”lyrics to “Linus & Lucy” since it gets played as much as “White Christmas” on radio stations nowadays.Of course,these lyrics always come out mean-spirited towards the phoniness surrounding modern Christmas(as exemplfied with Faith Hill singing that insipid song in the live-action Grinch),so I hide them from others.Please,no lyrics for “Linus & Lucy”.Just a gentle nod to Vince Guaraldi and the magic he created.

  • CB

    Or it’s actually paying homage to the animation the old Peanuts film had. Or at least stop motion animation.

    This movie sure is artless…

  • Steven Bowser

    After thinking about this for a while, I think I’ve come up with my true opinion.
    If I want to nitpick this, I can do it all day and pick it apart saying it’s fundamentally flawed and shouldn’t have been done.
    But just watching from a more basic, freed up perspective, I actually think the animation looks pretty cool. It obviously took a lot of effort, and it does move almost identically to the TV specials. It’s also very colorful and upbeat.
    Looking at history, I think I can predict that in several years we won’t really be as upset about this change as we are now. We were upset about Tintin and that turned out fine. We were upset at the cel-shaded, cartoony style of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and now everyone thinks it’s actually awesome.
    People are always resistant to change at first, but we get over it.
    All that REALLY matters is if the writing is good. If the story and characters are true to the strip, then this will be a success.

  • bob


    Hey it’s cool if you don’t like how the work looks. You don’t need to regurgitate quotes from famous artists to make your point. It does not make you sound smarter or more artistically savvy. If anything you sound like you are so wrapped up in artistic dogma, that you can’t form an independent thought outside of these quotes you’re mining out of google. (Spewing those quotes with zero context actually makes you sound like one of the countless intermediate art students I have instructed over the years). If you think the entire movie will look like crap off of two pictures, that is ok and you are more than welcome to your opinion! You have absolutely every right to say that you think these images look bad.

    My bone to pick with you is not about aesthetics. I just think you were being rude and presumptuous. Your complete lack of understanding for the process shines through when you dump over an animator for the work done by lighting and texture artists. Like I said before, I have no idea what you do as an artist nor do I care. There is no need to get into an artistic pissing contest. I just think that you can argue your point without being a jerk.

  • Sarahfu

    Man, this looks gorgeous. The animation (not the style – the actual movement of the characters) is also very reminiscent of the old cartoons, so kudos to the studio for replicating it so well. Schulz’s art is about a lot more than “the style” – he made his comics to appeal to and talk to kids, as well as to make adults remember what it was like to be a kid. His comics are about lighthearted fun and friends and laughter. Maybe he’d hate a 3D interpretation helmed by his son, but I find it far more likely that he’d hate watching a bunch of people yell at each other angrily over it.

  • Debergerack

    Yes very well thought out and informative. :D

  • Matthew Broussard

    You make some fair points. I guess I’m just tired of this same old song and dance where Amid blogs his disgust with something and the comment section goes wild with people vilifying him for the way he expresses his opinions.

    • Bekah

      Perhaps he should try expressing his opinions in more mature and constructive ways, then.

  • May1979

    For what it’s worth, as a student animator nearing the start of his career, I just want to say, Amid, please don’t change. I love your biting wit and icy sarcasm. It’s what separates your blog from the rest.

    And Mr. Gabor, nobody cares how hard you’re working to imitate an artistic genius. If anything, that’s sort of the problem. You’re never going to please the countless fans by doodling on receipts (seriously, dude?) or by studying pen strokes. You’re a CG animator. To my mind, what matters is the spirit, philosophy, and psychology of the crew (in keeping with “Sparky’s” dislike for the name “Peanuts” I’ll refrain from using it myself). You’re tasked with bringing a deceptively mature comic strip to an audience that will only have a marginal relationship to the original work. That audience may not grasp the meaning behind the football, Lucy’s therapy sessions, or the ambiguity of Peppermint Patty! Never mind the philosophical Lynus. Tell me, Mr. G., do you happen to have any Snoopy doodles in a philosophy book? Somehow I doubt it. I know, you’re not the writer, but it matters even on your end as much as it does on the writer’s. All the pretty images won’t matter if the content is empty and the story leaves fans wanting.

    I think critics are afraid, with some justification (hello, Dr. Seuss!), that this is going to be a heavy handed corporate style film pretending to be a faithful but fun interpretation of an American classic. But, as I inferred, that isn’t always the case. Time will tell. I’m agnostic. But I’ll say this for Pixar: love ’em or hate ’em, those guys don’t look to shamelessly loot icons–they create their own icons … to shameless loot.

  • Joe Chill

    The animation in the teaser looks great and I’m sure you did a fantastic job, but you’re not responsible for the stylistic and/or producing decisions that are being criticized as being artless.
    Amid’s critique seems to be of the decision to make a Peanuts movie and to make it in CG, both of which, from the perspective of somebody not working on the film, seem like decisions made for money and not for art. Which is what I think he means by artless.
    It in no way means that your work on the film is artless.

  • I’m not an industry insider or an indie animator or anything, and I’m not saying anything as a personal attack on animators or their skills or their dedication to their craft. I can only speak as a fan to what I like and what I don’t, and that trailer just looks… weird… Like they just layered every Photoshop CS2 filter over top the original drawings. It’s flat but overdone with pattern and gradient overlays, beveling, satin, inner glow and dropshadows. They might as well have added stroke to keep the heavy outlines. Obviously other people like it, but to me it just looks viscerally wrong.

  • TishTash

    Um, because Blue Sky is a COMPUTER-animation studio?
    (And the trend that hand-drawn 2D animation has lately been not economically feasible.)

  • Edwin Erst

    While a movie of this style was inevitable in a world market obsessed with novel forms of entertainment, this appears to be an idea destined for the game consoles. (I wouldn’t be surprised if a video game is being developed concurrently…) If so, it may actually be one of the few video games associated with a film to actually sell. As a feature-length animation though, It does not appear to be ground-breaking territory at this stage. I would personally rather see a Peanut’s movie that takes off where the MetLife™ commercials begin, by combining the 2D characters with live actors juxtaposed in a modern world, as in the “5 Cents” Commercial, (there seems to be more ‘comic’ value in that format). To ‘Not’ see snoopy in 2D, and/or to see Charlie Brown’s forehead curl sticking out in vivid 3D is equally jarring to someone who has also spent years filling up notebooks, doodling on receipts and table napkins, trying to capture the genius that was Charles Schulz, Disney, et al. 2015 seems quite a ways off. I hope you can pull it off, Jeff.

  • Darlene Castro

    I turned 50 this year and have decided to learn digital modeling because it is something that I love. I admire your work and would like to thank you for all your hard work putting this together. Hats off to you and all the other artists that put so much of their soul into each project that makes millions smile. HUGGS

  • Alec

    This comment makes you sound pretentious. Quit relying on other people’s quotes to speak for you. Also, the idea that an animator is not an artist sounds nonsensical. I know that not all animated materials are going to hit bulls-eyes to people but at least from my own eyes, the people who do work on animated projects try to make the best work they can regardless of critical thought.

    I can see the love, effort and hard work that goes into most productions and this trailer shows they’re putting their heart and soul into every frame to provide excitement from people who want to see a Peanuts movie and others who just want to be entertained and want to see a movie. If you can’t see that, I don’t know what will.

  • Conrad Peril

    Hey, Daniel,

    Rodan was a flying reptile who attacked Japan. His views on art are not particularly significant to me.

    Rodin, the sculptor–now him I’d listen to. And I’d bet anything that he talked to other sculptors about casting techniques, metals, and how to get the nose right. Just as Charles Schulz discussed HIS techniques.

    YOU sound like an art student, because EVERY professional artist I know talks about “pen strokes” all the time. The outcome, the meaning, the “truths” are for them to think about themselves. What’s difficult is how to express them, and that’s all about techniques, which they absolutely discuss. Especially in a professional setting, which requires analysis, collaboration, and communication.

    • To be honest, I care more about what Rodan has to say than Rodin.

      When a huge pterodactyl talks, you listen!

  • Conrad Peril

    Hey, Daniel,

    Rodan was a flying reptile who attacked Japan. His views on art are not particularly significant to me.

    Rodin, the sculptor–now him I’d listen to. And I’d bet anything that he talked to other sculptors about casting techniques, metals, and how to get the nose right. Just as Charles Schulz discussed HIS techniques.

    YOU sound like an art student, because EVERY professional artist I know talks about “pen strokes” all the time. The outcome, the meaning, the “truths” are for them to think about themselves. What’s difficult is how to express them, and that’s all about techniques, which they absolutely discuss. Especially in a professional setting, which requires analysis, collaboration, and communication.

  • slot head

    Yes. that was a snarky article. I really appreciate why the artists who have worked on this are upset. But i do wish this wasn’t made. I have been reading the comments in this thread hoping someone else was going to mention the reason I feel this way. I haven’t found someone saying it, so I guess I will.

    First let me say that I am not an animator and I am not a great artist. I do not understand the amazing skills necessary to make this movie, which looks to be a work of technical brilliance. Nor am I involved with the movie industry in any way other than as a consumer; and a passionate one when it concerns animation. I mention all this because i want it clear that I have nothing to gain or lose by sharing my opinion. It’s just that. An opinion. But I don’t think I am alone with it.

    What i fear this movie may do is crush the delight and charm associated with the old Charlie Brown animations. Yes, they suffered from some “herky jerky” movement, lack of continuity, and a bit of awkward editing, but they were a story telling vehicle that was engaging, sweet, and memorable. I do not think taking the franchise into a computer animated 3D world will alleviate the “problems” while maintaining the charm. I worry that it may absolutely kill the delight.

    As a kid I loved the way the vaudeville-style sound effects worked with pictures. I could relate with the way the kids reading the roles seemed to be struggling with the language. (Mr. Schultz was winking at me – and i got it, even as a kid.) I loved the simple painted backgrounds that were like watercolors of a childhood i wish i had. All this stuff worked together, despite any “flaws” that the learned folks may see.

    This was big magic worked on a little screen. I am sure mine was not the only family that sat together in the living room to bear witness to its wonder.

    Kids today can still appreciate this. Please give them credit. They do not need to have giant screen, nose-hair viewing, hyper reality in their animation. Like all of us, they can revel in the joy of the wacky “low tech” old stuff. And focusing on the fabulous technology available does not guarantee the charm and delight of the story will be present. Kids can appreciate that, too. Seeing the multiple Snoopys in 3D animation looks more like a computer hiccup than the out-of-his-mind-with-glee goofy puppy like the Snoopy I remember. I can only imagine that when Lucy shakes Linus the multiple eye sets he suddenly has will look less like the persistence of vision and more like a computer boo boo. (sorry about that pun.) Adding movement lines to such a richly surfaced image seems, I hate to say, insincere. (and “sincerity” is a word I learned from Mr. Schultz.) Saying or implying that kids need the look of computer animation in order to relate to Charlie Brown is the worst sort of insincerity. It is false and self-serving.

    Please stop “updating” classics. I do not want to drive the kids to grandmas in a Porsche when we are all comfortable in the family wagon…..

    Please take your fabulous talents, amazing technology, hard work, and big formats and go make some wonderful new classics. The kids should have both the new and the old. They will be better for it. We all will.

    (and no. I do not think animation is a “kid’s domain.” I am directing my comments about kids to those people who have said that remaking Charlie Brown in 3D will gain more viewership from a younger crowd.)

    • Eljay

      I would also like to add that many people seem to forget that sometimes the charm comes from things NOT being perfect.

      When Bill Melendez, a Disney trained animator who directed all the previous animated Peanuts productions from 1965(A Charlie Brown Christmas) to 2006(He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown), first saw the Peanuts comic strip, his first thought was “Schulz can’t draw”. Peanuts was being mocked by other famous cartoonists like Al Capp who had a more complex drawn and constructed comic strip “Li’l Abner”. Al Capp even even mocked Peanuts by doing a parody. Schulz wrote to Al Capp and asked him to stop(Schulz mentioned he doesn’t mind parodies if he thinks they’re clever but in this case he thought it was dull and heavy-handed) and at the end Capp respected his request.

      It didn’t change the fact that Peanuts was way more successful than Li’l Abner. The reason was because many people who do not necessarily like comics or cartoons, find a simplistic less constructed style like Peanuts much more appealing. Often if something is too perfect, it becomes boring. Look at all the single panel cartoons in the New Yorker or other magazines. They often have a very simplistic style because the average newspaper/magazine reader finds that more appealing. He’s not a comic fan. He just wants a quick laugh. If the cartoons in the New Yorker were done in a Disney style, in color with shadows and highlights slapped on, that would totally suck all the life out of them. Ok, it would be a great drawing but it wouldn’t make the cartoon any funnier. The cartoon would lose its appeal.

      CGI of classic comic strips like Peanuts reminds me of the London Symphony playing Beatles songs. Obviously they play it with pure excellence by skilled and brilliant musicians and there isn’t a wrong note but it becomes bland and boring or at most, an interesting interpretation.

      CGI has it’s place and sometimes CGI is much better(Toy Story was brilliant because it was done in CGI) but if you look at the recent Oscar nominee Ernest & Célestine which was done in 2D in an illustrative children’s book style being based on the children books of Gabrielle Vincent, you’ll realize that picking the right style for a project is important and essential.

  • Jeff! The moment I saw this trailer, I instantly went back and framed through it over and over. It’s an animation MARVEL and you should be proud of it. Thanks for the HUGE inspiration.

  • Steven Martin

    “What’s the point of an animation blog where the writers aren’t allowed to be critical?.”

    What’s the point of having a comment section where people can’t express their opinion about this “critique”?.

    (“I’m Shocked, Shocked to find that contrary viewpoints are expressed in here!.”)

  • L_Ron_Hoover

    I think Amid may be taking this personally because it’s possible that The Peanuts holds a strong place in his nostalgia. We all get upset when studios try to add the “modern touch” to things from our past. It’s just another piece of your finite childhood innocence that is taken from you and converted into adult cynicism (how dramatic sounding.)

    I can look past the anger in this article and see Amid’s concern. It’s so easy to toss this Peanuts remake into the pile of the numerous failed CGI adaptions of 2D cartoons. It almost never works. The red flag for me is the hyper-realistic texture on the characters. It seems really unnecessary, especially on Snoopy. But I’m still going to reserve judgment until I see it.

    I’m sure the director knows he is stepping into big shoes and it’s clear
    he cares a lot about this project. It sounds like he is really dedicated to appealing to the fans and has a team of artists who want to make something great. That’s all I ask for. I expect great things to continue coming out of Blue Sky.

  • Myra

    Amid is right. This is sickening to behold.
    The animation is fine though. The beings it moves around are ineffably horrible.

  • Eljay

    I have to agree with Amid.
    I’ve been in the animation industry for 24 years now, working on several major animated features and tons of TV stuff but strictly traditional hand-drawn animation. I’m not against CGI but I prefer hand-drawn animation and never got into CGI.

    Many people think that hand-drawn animation is dead but the French production ‘Ernest and Celestine’ is the most recent example how endearing hand-drawn animation still is and so do Miyasaki features. Ernest & Celestine is based on illustrated children’s books which is why the French stayed true to the original art. Hollywood would have probably done a 3d version as well and chucked in a few catchy tunes.

    I was always a big fan of Peanuts and the style of Bill Melendez’s animated specials of Peanuts especially because it was more stylized and not in a perfect Disney style.
    I have less of a problem that Disney features decided to concentrate on CGI because Disney was always about extreme realism. When Schulz started Peanuts in the early fifties, his style was totally unique. It was the opposite of realism. This is the last comic strip I expected to be made into a CGI feature and to be honest, I’m a bit shocked.

    I’ve read many biographies about Schulz(including his own), watched several documentaries and watched all the interviews with Bill Melendez. It was absolutely clear that Schulz only agreed to do an animated special with his creation Peanuts if Bill Melendez directed it. They had worked on a Ford commercial years earlier which is why Schulz knew he could rely on Melendez.
    Schulz wanted Melendez because he knew that Melendez would stay true to the characters and the specific Peanuts style. He was absolutely appalled by the thought that Peanuts could turn out into Disney type style animation and Bill Melendez, a former Disney animator himself, respected that. That was the ONLY reason Schulz agreed to have Peanuts animated.

    When it comes to his comic strip, Schulz did everything himself and was a one man show. Many other cartoonists had assistants and many had their comic strip continued by another artist after they were too old or sick to continue. Schulz didn’t want that. He wanted the strip to stop with him. Peanuts is his life work.

    It is mentioned here by the makers of the movie that they’re doing the best work that they can etc. I’m sure that the artists are all dedicated and professional.
    Even if they do the best job possible, the question remains WHY do a CGI version of Peanuts? Do they think that will actually IMPROVE Schulz’s work?

    Do they need to use CGI just because just because it exists? I don’t get it.
    Most of all, do they actually think Schulz would have approved that his work is being done in CGI? Just curious.

  • Funkybat

    Danny is pretty well known for being outspoken and opinionated. I know it sucks when someone you admire disparages you, especially if they do it in a blanket way. Try not to take it too personally, his reaction surely has more to do with personal feelings about corporate decisions that he (quite understandably) views as exploitative than it does with the actual artistry. As a fan of Schulz and the Mendelson/Melendez animated specials, I have to say looks better than one might have expected for a 3D “revival” of Peanuts.

  • Funkybat

    You must be new to Cartoon Brew. This is a blog, run by a very opinionated and outspoken blog-master. This is not a “hard news” site, and I do not believe the owner or most of the readers ever want or intend for it to become one.

    There are more staid and even-handed animation sites out there, I’d say this place is more the Huffington Post or Drudge Report of animation.

  • Funkybat

    I think they wanted to make it a logo distinct from the existing Peanuts content, so that it would more easily be marketed as a distinct entity. The have done the same thing with the Simpsons comics and Futurama comics for a long time (though Bongo shifted to rather generic-looking cover logos a couple of years ago.)

  • Funkybat

    Good point you raised there, I think all of us are forgetting that. What really made the good Peanuts specials stand out from the bad (and the classic peanuts strips stand out from the waning years) is the writing. There is a particular tone that is not easy to strike, this mix of wry, almost dry humor, with an underlying sense of worldliness beyond age and even depression. That NEEDS to be there for it to feel like Peanuts at all. THAT is what will really determine if this 3D film “works.” All this discussion over the visuals will prove kind of pointless if the writing and voice acting delivery are not “right.”

  • Ron R

    Bringing an old beloved cartoon to life via a new medium is not wrong, for me it is an opportunity to show the youth of today a classic in a style they are used to and maybe a few of them will take a look back in time to the original strips and become new fans . Lighten up people .

    • Eljay

      It’s a misconception that today’s style is automatically CGI while hand-drawn animation is a style that is out-dated. The most popular TV series like Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, SpongeBob to name a few, plus popular Japanese animes are all in a traditional hand-drawn animation style. If anything, anime is way more popular with kids these days. Should Peanuts be done in an anime style based on that logic?

      Btw, having another opinion has nothing to do with being uptight. It’s more the opposite: uptight people can’t take criticism.

  • Maxi Diaz

    Awesome!!!! It’s nice to see Hollywood embracing new concepts, rather than reboots and sequels. It really helps drive new blood into creating new and interesting ideas.

  • andrea rania

    As the memorable image we all have (i suppose) of “Peanuts” is Snoopy sleeping on his roof house, i asking to myself why you didn’t use this image at the very beginning of the trailer instead the bald head of charlie brown? it could be more remarkable also for “old people” audience?

  • bachelorrj

    I don’t know… I think they should’ve left it alone. There are too many vintage shows becoming cheap looking CGI/ 3D look a likes these days.

  • guz

    Good lord aren’t you a grumpy guy – this is looking awesome and I can’t wait to watch it. I’m sure my kid will love it as will I.. Unless the story REALLY sucks, the CG style is looking amazing.

  • guz

    You nailed it. Its the WAY its written – it’s just like high school ranting indeed.

  • dennishaleywriter

    I think there is a lot of potential to take the Peanuts crew to a new level. I think, if it isn’t already obvious, that Charlie Brown is Charles Schulz. He is an observer that is forced into circumstances more through his friends than from a self-actuating choice. Each character has a soul, and as in other animated features, the natural course to take is to extend the tendencies of each one. Movies are not snippets or sound bites, like the original strips or even the TV features. I would like to know Charlie Brown closer than his cliche, vignettes. An extended storyline could do that. It only remains to bring a plausible story that doesn’t violate the original premise. I think these are the kinds of things that come to mind in my writing, and what I would do if I were in the position to bring the story to the silver screen.

  • tlc9711

    I thought it was hand drawn when i 1st saw this trailer…just teasing.

  • Ken Wallace

    Guess we will never know if Sparky would have embraced 3D animated versions of his characters, but I do know that the director of this film is dedicated to making the most faithful movie he can and has the utmost respect for the material. I’ve had the pleasure of being his co-worker and friend many years before he came to Blue Sky, and he is one of the nicest, and most talented people I know.

  • Bg Bremer

    OK. Everybody just relax. Put on “Don’t Take My Blanket” and drift away with Linus (shameless plug for Jimmy Wallace’s, Working for Peanuts).