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Charlie Brown hopes for the better but fails to the sounds of The Who in the new trailer for The Peanuts Movie.

The new trailer offers a good sense of the film’s story and animation, the latter of which uses CGI and drawn elements, and owing to the inspired creative choice of eliminating motion blur, feels almost like stop motion animation with the uniqueness of hand-drawn poses.

Blue Sky Studios’ new peek at the Steve Martino-directed The Peanuts Movie quickly illustrates the complexities of recreating Charles Schulz’s immortal comic strip for millennials. Gone is the bouncy jazz of Vince Guaraldi and Schroeder’s Beethoven — at least in Fox’s marketing — and in are warnings of “Teenage wasteland!” from The Who’s popular anthem, “Baba O’Riley,” as well as sprinklings of hip-hop and flamenco.

Gone also are the preconceptions that this Charlie Brown will be the same early adopters remember so well: “Step one, forget everything you know about yourself,” the lovable failure repeats as a mantra in the new trailer.

But they will notice the legendary hand-drawn cartoons of the 1960s and 1970s peering through the 3D reboot, as Snoopy pulls the gang around an ice rink using Linus’ blanket, or as his alter egos Joe Cool and World War One flying Ace get their paws stuck in binders and strafe enemies from the sky. More references to the past: The first shot of this new trailer pays tribute to legendary Peanuts animation director Bill Melendez and producer Lee Mendelson, and much of trailer’s romantic drama concerns the new Little Red-Headed Girl in town, an obsession of Charlie’s that dates back to Charles Schulz’s strips of the early-1960s.

Media outlets who obsess over these nostalgic elements are at risk of missing the bigger story: the animation in The Peanuts Movie is wildly experimental and fresh, at least as far as big-budget CG features go, and feels like nothing else out there today.

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Scott Thill

Scott Thill

Scott Thill is a freelance writer, his work has appeared in Wired, Salon, The Nation, and Rolling Stone. Visit his site Morphizm.com.

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