Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I can recall reading the paperback compilations of Charles M. Schulze classic strips. The Charlie Brown Christmas is one of the only holiday specials that I must watch every year. I imagined my childhood was not so dissimilar from Charlie Brown’s, afternoons playing baseball, school, playing with my dog (when I had one before we transitioned to cats), crushes, and just trying to figure out life.
Paramount Pictures delivers a dose of nostalgia with a four movie collection that takes Charlie Brown from 1969 to 1980, with their new Snoopy Collection on blu-ray. The four films included in the set are 1969’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown, 1972’s Snoopy Come Home, 1977’s Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, and 1980’s Bon Voyage Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back).
While both the first films are a little more experimental in some of their animated sequences, they were made in 4:3. On the other hand, both Race For Your Life, and Bon Voyage are 1:33 and made for the big screen, but play a little more straight.
Of the group, one could argue films two (Snoopy Come Home) and four (Bon Voyage) are the strongest entries in the series, though all of them are wonderfully entertaining, and you can hear Schulze’s voice in each and every line of dialogue.
A Boy Named Charlie Brown introduced film-goers to the beloved Peanuts gang as Charlie Brown finds unexpected success in a spelling bee, but the pressure mounts as he heads to New York, with Linus and Snoopy in pursuit (Linus needs his blanket back). There are some great moments, and like all the great Peanuts stories, whether in stip, film, or television, there is an honesty to the characters, that allow us to recognize ourselves in the moments, and revel in the nostalgia of our own childhood.
Snoopy Comes Home has the strongest story of the collection, as we learn a little about Snoopy’s past, and get introduced to Woodstock. While feeling a little unappreciated at home, he receives a letter from his previous owner, Lila, who is sick and in the hospital. We’re not told what’s wrong with her, but bu Snoopy’s reaction, it’s pretty bad. So he heads off on a road trip to visit Lila, accompanied by songs by the Sherman Brothers. At home, Charlie Brown and the rest worry about his missing dog.
Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, which includes the theatrical trailer as an extra, sees the gang heading to summer camp, something that, honestly, should have been explored a little more, before they take on a group of bullies who are making the summer a nightmare, and who are determined to win the river race. It feels like too much time is spent on the race, when more summer camp events could have been included. Still, there are some great character moments, and no matter what happens, Snoopy always makes for some great entertainment.
Bon Voyage Charlie Brown (and Don’ t Come Back) includes the trailer as well as a quick making of segment and sees Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Linus, Patty, and Marcie heading to Europe as part of an exchange student program. The film allowed Schulze to have Snoopy visit locations he had been at during the War. It also is one of the only times that adults can be heard and understood. It’s a fun film, and the Snoopy segments stand out as the best parts of the film.
This collection is a welcome addition for Peanuts fans (the films look great) and are wonderfully family friendly, with characters and situations that continue to endure. The Snoopy Collection is available now from Paramount Canada!