Directed by Bill Melendez
Produced by Lee Mendelson
Not knowing who Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang is, is simply un-American. It’s like not knowing Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. It’s simply not acceptable. That being said, there’s a reason why this franchise is so popular. We have all come to love Charlie Brown, his block-headed journey, and his crazy and adventurous dog, Snoopy. And since I have a very strong inner child, I’m very happy to review Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown.
The entire Peanuts gang goes to camp! An experience that nearly every American child knows too well. They touch on everything: the disgusting food, the cold hard bunks, and the bullies. There are three male bullies in this camp with a mean cat with a spiked collar, and I seriously wanted to punch all of them in the face! (Spoiler Alert: Snoopy actually does punch the cat in the face. And it’s glorious.) But we learn that there are other ways to deal with a bully. It’s one of the many lessons in this film.
As the kids get to camp first, they must write a letter about why they are at camp. Charlie Brown struggles for a moment, but then realizes that the reason he is there is to become a better person, and become a leader, like he feels like he is. Of course, Lucy calls him a blockhead and says that he’ll never be a leader. Sigh. This is why we all love Peanuts so much, there’s a little Charlie Brown in all of us. There’s a little insecure kid who just wants to take the reigns and be a good, strong adult.
After we see a slew of normal camp stuff: the awful food, the kids in their bunks, and a potato sack race, they learn that there will be a great rafting race. The girls, lead by the hyper feminist Peppermint Patty, on one raft, the boys on another, and the bushel of bully boys close behind, always trying to mess up their game. Oh, and of course Snoopy and Woodstock are on their own raft as well.
The three groups start their race down the river in their rafts, but things keep going awry. There are storms and rockslides and many other maladies. This is a really fun little ride with some good old friends, and and always teaches some great lessons. Although this isn’t my favorite Charlie Brown movie, I do think that this one is a great addition to ANY DVD collection, be it for a child or a child at heart.
This is a great video that has been restored really well. The animation is still as sweet and retrotastic as anyone will remember from whenever they were a kid. Except this time the colors are more brilliant, the lines are cleaner, and there’s no little fuzzies to make this film look like it was made in the 1970’s.
Audio is even more spectacular. It sounds crisper and more magical than it would have when it was originally made. The soundtrack and score to this little film is pretty great as well. What I love the most is how much the music sounds like the 1970’s. When you listen to the earlier Charlie Brown movies, like the great Christmas special, it sounds like the 1960’s, very jazzy. This soundtrack has a little bit of funk in it… as if George Clinton has funk-ed it up himself.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The cover artwork is clean and sweet. All it is, is the Peanuts gang on a raft screaming for their lives. I think you get the main gist of the story, just from just that. On the back cover, you get some stills from the film and a little description. The plastic case comes in a cardboard sleeve, which I think is completely superfluous for a one DVD, non box-set item, but it does add a touch of class. Sadly, the only bonus feature is an original trailer, which are always fun to watch, but I was hoping for a little something more.
Overall (Not an Average)
Overall, really cute. It was a great little story with a great little lesson on how we become the people that we are meant to be. It was digitally remastered to perfection, and I had a great time watching. You will, too… unless you don’t like cartoons. And in that case, you may be missing your heart… and then you should totally go and find it. Might I suggest summer camp?