Peanuts Double Feature Getting Blu-ray Treatment This Fall

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Media Distribution will re-issue two classic Peanuts TV specials again this fall.

Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy, Come Home will be released in a special new Blu-ray double feature presentation this fall.  The TV specials will be released in one complete collection on Tuesday, November 1st in stores and online.  Their upcoming joint release will two months after the two movies will be released in their own standalone Blu-ray packages.

The features’ standalone Blu-ray presentations will be released Tuesday, September 6th via CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Media Distribution.  The specials were have also been released a number of times on DVD both by themselves and with other Peanuts specials in recent years.

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

PeanutsA Boy Named Charlie Brown is the first of the Peanuts specials to ever be aired.  It follows Charlie Brown as he unwittingly becomes his school’s representative in the national spelling bee.  It all begins as Charlie sets out to disprove his fellow students who believe that he can’t even win the school spelling bee.  Along the way Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus deals with the disappearance of his beloved blanket as he tries to help Charlie Brown prepare for the spelling bee.  And back home scheming Lucy plans to take advantage of Charlie Brown’s potential success by naming herself his agent.  Of course things don’t turn out quite as she, Charlie Brown, or anyone else expect.  But the special still leaves audiences with smiles on their faces and feeling such support for everybody’s favorite underdog.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

PeanutsSnoopy Come Home presents a completely different story.  When Snoopy receives a letter in the mail, he suddenly leaves his doghouse and embarks on a cross-country journey.  The reason for Snoopy’s journey is a mystery to everybody including Charlie Brown.  That is until the contents of the letter are revealed.  What comes next is a deeply moving story that will move audiences of all ages to tears of joy.

PeanutsA Boy Named Charlie Brown and PeanutsSnoopy Come Home will both be available on Blu-ray on Tuesday, September 6th.  Both titles are expected to retail for MSRP of $24.99.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Paramount, CBS DVD To Re-Issue Two Classic Peanuts Specials

CBS DVD and Paramount will re-issue two classic Peanuts TV specials this summer.

Courtesy:  CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

On Tuesday, September 6th, CBS DVD and Paramount will re-issue the classic Peanuts specials Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home on Blu-ray.  It marks the first time that either special has ever been released on Blu-ray.  Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown is the first of the Peanuts specials to ever be aired.  It follows Charlie Brown as he unwittingly becomes his school’s representative in the national spelling bee.  It all begins as Charlie sets out to disprove his fellow students who believe that he can’t even win the school spelling bee.  Along the way Charlie Brown’s best friend Linus deals with the disappearance of his beloved blanket as he tries to help Charlie Brown prepare for the spelling bee.  And back home scheming Lucy plans to take advantage of Charlie Brown’s potential success by naming herself his agent.  Of course things don’t turn out quite as she, Charlie Brown, or anyone else expect.  But the special still leaves audiences with smiles on their faces and feeling such support for everybody’s favorite underdog.

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Courtesy: CBS DVD/Paramount

Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home presents a completely different story.  When Snoopy receives a letter in the mail, he suddenly leaves his doghouse and embarks on a cross-country journey.  The reason for Snoopy’s journey is a mystery to everybody including Charlie Brown.  That is until the contents of the letter are revealed.  What comes next is a deeply moving story that will move audiences of all ages to tears of joy.

Peanuts: A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Peanuts: Snoopy Come Home will both be available on Blu-ray on Tuesday, September 6th.  Both titles are expected to retail for MSRP of $24.99.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Peanuts Movie Dishonors Charles Schulz’s Legacy

Courtesy:  Blue Sky Studios

Courtesy: Blue Sky Studios

Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are among the most iconic and beloved figures in American pop culture history.  More than sixty-five years ago Charlie Brown and company were first introduced to America.  Since that time generations of audiences have been introduced to the Peanuts gang both in print and on screen.  Being that the Peanuts franchise has proven to be since its inception one can’t help but wonder why in 2011 the new feature Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown was released.  That new take on the Peanuts gang proved to be anything but a success.  One would think that considering the lackluster response to that abomination of a Peanuts special, there wouldn’t be another attempt to update the Peanuts gang anymore.  That assumption obviously proved wrong as Blue Sky Studios—the studio behind the apparently never-ending Ice Age franchise—teamed up with Schulz’s son Craig and grandson Bryan, and Cornelius Uliano to develop a “new” (the term “new” is used very loosely here) Peanuts feature in 2015.  The feature, simply titled The Peanuts Movie, tried to masquerade as something new and original but in reality was anything but.  The reality of this creation is that it was little more than a quick and largely forgettable cash grab for Blue Sky Studios.  This is exemplified largely through the movie’s piecemeal story.  That will be discussed shortly.  While the story presented within The Peanuts Movie is anything but laudable, the movie isn’t a complete loss.  To its credit (or to the credit of those behind its design, rather) there obviously were painstaking efforts to actually recreate the original look of the Peanuts universe.  To that extent that part of the movie must be lauded.  While the movie’s look does its part to at least try to save the movie’s presentation it sadly isn’t enough.  Along with the movie’s story, its young actors pale in comparison to those that originally brought the Peanuts gang to life so many years ago.  Yes, there were various groups that voiced the characters in those features.  Some were better in those cases than others, too.  This is one of those cases in which the cast was not as laudable.  Due to this and, again, the movie’s hardly thought out script the end result of this movie is a work that is one of the worst of the Peanuts presentations in recent memory.

Blue Sky Studios’ new Peanuts presentation is one of the franchise’s worst presentations in recent memory if not its worst to date. It is clear in watching the movie, which comes in at less than ninety minutes, that it is really little more than a cash grab for Blue Sky Studios.  That is most obvious in the movie’s script.  The script, which was crafted by the father-son duo of Craig and Bryan Schulz (Charles Schulz’s son and grandson), and co-writer Cornelius Uliano makes absolutely no effort to pay any true respect to the legacy of Charles Schulz’s characters or his own legacy for that matter.  Rather it just tosses together elements of said classics haphazardly with no regard for any real storytelling.  It’s obvious in what they did that they hoped that viewers’ nostalgia would kick in and overpower their common sense when watching the movie, thus leading them to love this mess of a movie–even though they know they shouldn’t.  Even at its base the movie’s story is anything but original.  It tells a story of how Charlie Brown first met the little red-haired girl.  Did the world really need this?  The answer is a simple “no.”  The whole story follows Charlie Brown as he attempts (yet again) to impress the little red-haired girl.  Along the way father and son, along with Uliano, add in the underlying story of Snoopy’s ongoing battle with the Red Baron.  Again, did the world need this update, too?  Once more the answer is “no.”  The only positive to the whole thing is that the Schulz’s and Uliano kept alive the tradition of not naming the little red-haired girl.  That’s good because there were actually two little red-haired girls—Heather and Peggy Jean—in the original franchise.  Heather was the original red-haired girl.  Her name was revealed in Happy New Year, Charlie Brown.  Peggy Jean was introduced in It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown.  Other than that, there is little to nothing redeeming about this movie’s script.  Because of this one can only wonder if the movie is worth even one watch.  It would be worth just one watch in order to see the disservice that it has done to the Peanuts legacy and that of Charles Schulz.  For all of the cons presented by The Peanuts Movie’s script the movie isn’t a total loss believe it not.  Those responsible for the movie’s look are to be applauded for their efforts.  That is because they obviously made a concerted effort to make The Peanuts Movie actually look, stylistically, like the original Peanuts TV features.  They didn’t just go the all-too-commonly used CG route in doing so either.  Rather its look boasts more of an odd, almost claymation look crossed with a hand drawn look.  Claymation likely wasn’t used in the special’s creation.  Odds are those behind the movie’s look did use CG.  But in using it to make the movie look so much like those aforementioned specials, they did an excellent job of attempting to actually pay tribute to that look.  It would have been so easy for them to just go the standard cookie cutter CG route.  But they opted not to go that route.  To that end they are to be applauded.  That is because the end result of that choice is a movie that is redeemed solely by that final look.  Sadly, it’s the movie’s only redeeming element.  For all of the positive that is offered by the movie’s look the work of the movie’s young cast counters it.

The people who were responsible for the look of The Peanuts Movie are to be commended for their work on the movie.  Sadly they are the only people involved in the movie’s creation to be commended.  The men behind the movie’s script did anything but pay tribute to the Peanuts legacy or that of Charles Schulz.  They are not the only ones involved in the movie that detracted from its enjoyment.  The movie’s voice cast put forth a valiant effort in their take on the classic characters.  Sadly they came up short in this case.  To their defense, though they are not the first group to tackle the Peanuts gang.  Those that are familiar with the classic Peanuts TV specials will recall that the voice cast did not remain entirely the same from one TV special to another.  And because of that some portrayals were better than others and vice versa.  This cast’s work is one of the lesser cases.  So many of the portrayals just felt forced here.  That is just this critic’s own interpretation of the cast’s work.  Again, the cast’s work wasn’t a total loss.  There have been far worse portrayals.  Marnette Patterson’s take on Lucy in It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992) is one of those lesser portrayals.  Todd Barbee and Melanie Kohn  were a little bit concerning in It’s A Mystery, Charlie Brown.  So again, while this movie’s cast wasn’t the best of any Peanuts feature it is hardly the worst cast.  To that end the cast’s work does take away from the movie’s experience.  But it doesn’t do so to the level of the movie’s writing team.  Keeping this in mind, The Peanuts Movie proves in the end to be a forgettable and unnecessary incarnation of Charles Schulz’s timeless characters.  And hopefully it will be the last installment for a very long time.

Blue Sky Studios’ “new” installment in the long-running Peanuts franchise is its most forgettable and unnecessary installment.  While it isn’t a total loss of a movie it still proves to be a work that never should have seen the light of day.  That’s the case even with the work of those responsible for the movie’s look.  That is because the script proves to be little more than a quick cash grab for Blue Sky Studios that pays little to not homage to the legacy of the Peanuts gang and that of its creator.  The cast, while not the worst to ever take on the voices of the Peanuts gang, is also hardly the best to ever tackle them.  All things considered The Peanuts Movie proves in the long run to again be the franchise’s most forgettable installment and its most unnecessary, too.  With any luck, it will be the franchise’s last installment for a very long time.  That is because the world doesn’t need “new” installments of Peanuts specials to appreciate Charles Schulz’s creations.  All it needs is the classics.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WHV Finally Gets One Right With Its New Peanuts Collection

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

This Thanksgiving, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox will team up to bring audiences the first-ever big screen Peanuts adventure that (go figure) is simply titled The Peanuts Movie. Personal opinions aside, it is interesting to note that as the movie’s debut nears, so is Warner Brothers’ home entertainment division–Warner Home Video (WHV)–stepping up its re-issues of the classic Peanuts TV specials. Already released this year WHV has re-issued Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. Officials with WHV have also announced that the organization will also release Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) and He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown along with the company’s new compilation set Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection. The latter of the trio is currently planne for a nationwide release on Tuesday, September 15th. Though, interestingly enough it has already been released through Target likely via a special deal between the retailer and the people at WHV. For those that were not lucky enough to pick up the dual-disc collection in its original release via Target will be pleased to add it to their personal collections. The main reason that audiences will be pleased to add it to their collections is its featured specials. It features eleven classic Peanuts TV specials that while previously released on one platform or another are now collected into this much more ergonomic collection. This will be discussed at more length shortly. Another reason that the collection proves so interesting and worth the purchase is the material presented within each special. Audiences actually get to hear an adult talk for the first time ever in one special (She’s A Good Skate, Charlie Brown). And while most audiences are familiar with the classic Peanuts holiday specials, some will be surprised that there is another holiday special of sorts that is just as deserving of attention in the form of What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? This special is a deeply moving Memorial Day special that will impact viewers of all ages. Last of note in regards to this collection’s positives is that classic hand-drawn animation style. The old school style of artwork is yet another example of what once made animated features truly animated and in turn truly entertaining. Each noted element shows in its own way that Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is a surprising new release from WHV. It would be nice to think that maybe it marks the beginning of WHV finally moving in the right direction after having slid in the wrong direction for the past couple of years or so. One can only hope. Even if it is just a random diamond in the rough from the once powerhouse studio, it proves through all three noted elements together, to be one that any Peanuts fan will happily welcome into his or her home DVD library.

Warner Home Video has been noticeably declining over the course of the past two years or more. That is evident through every one of its releases both for families and for select audiences. Said releases have shown that someone(s) at WHV apparently did not and does not care about providing audiences with quality home releases. For all of the problematic releases that WHV has put out in stores over the past couple of years or so, finally a random diamond in the rough from WHV will be released very soon in the form of the new Peanuts collection Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection. This collection of TV specials includes eleven classic Peanuts TV specials that some of which were nominated for Emmy Awards while certain others actually received the coveted trophy. It should be noted that all eleven of the specials featured in this new double-disc collection have each previously been released via one platform or another. Some have been released on VHS while others have previously been released on DVD. Others have even been issued and re-issued on one platform then another. Despite this, some viewers out there might not have been lucky enough to add one, another or more of the featured specials up until this point. That being the case, all eleven specials show collectively to be of the utmost importance for all viewers. That is because more than likely among the legions of Peanuts fans around the world few to any likely have all of the included specials.

The inclusion of each of its specials in one collection is good for Peanuts fans everywhere in large part because having them all in one place means just that. It means that for the first time ever each one of the specials has been finally released on one platform on which all audiences can watch them. No one is left behind. On another level, for those that had one or more of the specials in question from their previous releases can finally eliminate those platforms (or at least most of them if they own the original VHS copies of said specials). That will ultimately lead to saved space for many fans on their respective DVD racks. Again, this might not apply for every Peanuts fan. But it will definitely apply to many fans. And that being the case, it makes the collection’s ergonomic factor that much more important to the whole of its success and enjoyment.

The episodes presented in Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection show clearly why they are within themselves quite important to the whole of the collection. Examining the episodes on a closer level, ther writing shows to be just as important to the collection as the episodes themselves. In examining the specials’ writing it becomes clear why they were either nominated or in some cases even won an Emmy. That is most evident through the surprisingly moving special What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown. This sequel of sorts to Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back) follows Charlie Brown and company on their departure from France. Along the way, the Peanuts gang happens to arrive at Normandy and the site of the Allied landing on D-Day. The history lesson provided by Linus upon their arrival is unbiased and moving all at the same time. The writers don’t pull any punches here, revealing that the Allied attack on Normandy was in fact anything but perfect. Linus notes in his lesson that weather conditions had ruined the mission so much that Allied commanders even considered pulling back. That is a lesson that sadly very few history teachers and professors alike will teach in the classroom. So it is nice to have that historical truth noted in a special that is aimed at younger viewers.

In another of the collection’s episodes, She’s A Good Skate, Charlie Brown, audiences actually get to hear an adult speak for the first (and probably only)time in the history of the Peanuts TV specials. The adult in question is Peppermint Patty’s teacher. She continuously calls on Patty as Patty continues falling asleep in class thanks to her early morning skating practice. Yes, skating. That is another reason that the writing in this special proves so notable. Anyone that knows their Peanuts history knows that Peppermint Patty is more of a tomboy than a girly girl. Heck, she was even voiced by males in a number of the specials. So having Patty taking part in a sport that is traditionally more aimed at females than males shows a completely opposite side of Patty and to the Peanuts universe in whole.  It is a change that all audiences will agree now in the 21st century is a welcome change.  It shows that it’s okay for a girl to be girly and one of the boys.  Simply put, it really serves to defy those strict, standard gender roles established by society.  Whether or not that is the reason that it at least received an Emmy nomination, it is one more reason that the writing behind this special stands out so strongly as one more part of the whole of the collection’s writing.

Why, Charlie Brown, Why? is perhaps the strongest evidence of the importance of the writing behind the collection’s featured episodes. This episode tackles the issue of cancer. On a more specific level, it tackles the issue of childhood cancer and the impact of cancer on both the victim and his or her friends and family. Its story centers on a young girl named Janet who is diagnosed with leukemia. It just so happens that she is friends with Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang. Though, Linus is the main character of this story. That side element of the story’s writing will be discussed shortly. Sticking on the main topic, the manner in which the writers tackled the subject is hugely worthy of applause. It was handled with the utmost gentility and in a fashion that also made the topic accessible even for much younger viewers. That in itself makes this special more than just a special. It is special in every sense of the word. It’s just one aspect of the special’s writing that makes it so notable among the others included in this set. The fact that Linus was made the story’s central character makes it even more worth the watch. It’s not the first time that Charlie Brown took a back seat to his Peanuts pals. But it is one of the most successful episodes that featured someone other than Charlie Brown at the center of the story. That is especially the case as audiences see Linus actually lose his cool in a very rare instance. He loses it when another child makes fun of Janet for having lost her hair right in front of him. Audiences will find themselves cheering Linus on and even doing so with the slightest tear in their eyes. That rare moment really exemplifies the pent-up feelings that not only children feel in a situation such as that presented here, but grown-ups, too. So for that reason too, the writing behind Why, Charlie Brown, Why? shows even more the importance of the episodes’ writing in whole in examining the set in whole. It is just one more example of the importance of the writing within each of the set’s episodes. The writing within each of the remaining eight specials shows in its own way why the writing in whole is so important to the episodes’ enjoyment and the success of the set in whole. And together with the episodes themselves, both elements together make a strong argument why every Peanuts fan should have this new collection in his or her own home DVD library. They still are just part of the whole of the collection’s positives. Last of note is the animation style within each episode.

Both the episodes featured throughout the body of Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection and the writing within each special makes for plenty of reason for Peanuts fans to appreciate this latest collection of Peanuts classics. Of course what examination of such a classic collection would be complete without mention of the specials’ animation style. Every one of the specials featured as part of Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection was drawn by hand. That means that endless hours were spent bringing to leave each and every second of each special. Now being that each special runs roughly in the range of about twenty minutes (or just a little more in some cases), the math adds up to quite a bit of time spent on bringing each special to life for broadcast. That says a lot when these specials are compared to the largely CG presentations out there today that try to claim themselves as being animated. They are animated in name only. These specials show everything that was once great about true, animated features. Each one of the specials boasts a similar look. But there are also minute details within each special that set them apart. Audiences that have eagle eyes will catch that minutia. The same can’t be said of today’s CG creations. It really gives these classic specials a real soul and heart. Together with the episodes’ impressive writing and the episodes themselves all three elements come together to make Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection a clear must have for any real devoted Peanuts fan.

Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is a must have for any real Peanuts fan. That is the case whether or not said fan already owns any of the specials presented here on their original release platforms. The collective writing presented within each of the collection’s makes the episodes and the collection in whole even more enjoyable. The standout animation style presented across each of the collection’s specials rounds out the presentation. It reminds audiences by comparison of what once made animation so great. The animation is original. Even the upcoming Peanuts Movie that is due out this Thanksgiving doesn’t entirely hold up to that style of animation despite the efforts of those behind the movie to make it look like the classics on which it is based. Each element in itself proves to be an important part of the collections’ whole. Altogether they make Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection a collection that any true-blooded Peanuts fan would himself or herself be honored to have in his or her home DVD library. Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection is available now exclusively in Target stores nationwide. It will allegedly be available nationwide in other stores beginning Tuesday, September 15th. More information on this and other upcoming Peanuts releases is available online now along with the latest Peanuts news at:

Website: http://www.peanuts.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Snoopy

Twitter: http://twitter.com/snoopy

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Paramount Comes Up Short With Its New Peanuts Re-Issue

Courtesy:  Paramount

Courtesy: Paramount

This past February, Paramount released to DVD for the first time the 1977 Peanuts “movie” Race For You Life, Charlie Brown. Its recent release marks the first time ever that it has seen the light of day on DVD. It wasn’t even included on either of the Peanuts 1970s Collections released by Warner Home Video in 2009 and 2010 respectively. As long as audiences have waited for this movie to finally be released, its release back in February of this year proved to be anything but outstanding. Interestingly enough, WHV didn’t handle Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. It was actually handled solely by Paramount, one of Hollywood’s Big 5 Studios. Considering this one would have thought that Paramount would have taken more pride in its product than WHV. Alas, that wasn’t the case with this release. It is a bare bones presentation lacking any bonus material for audiences. That will be discussed later. The movie itself presents an enjoyable story. And the overall presentation looks and sounds great. But that glaring lack of ANY bonus material hurts the overall product in a big way. The end result is a DVD that any Peanuts fans will welcome in their home library, but will do so very begrudgingly. It proves to be a DVD that Paramount should have handled far better than it did especially after making audiences wait nearly four decades for it to receive a DVD release albeit a DVD release that could have been far better.

Audiences have waited nearly forty-years for Paramount’s recent release of Race For You Life, Charlie Brown on DVD. Considering the wait, it goes without saying that the wait was not entirely worth it, going through this DVD. That will be discussed shortly. It isn’t all bad, though. The movie itself presents a fun story that takes both the Peanuts gang and audiences out of the typical world created by the Peanuts TV specials. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s story takes Charlie Brown and company out of the comfort of their own neighborhood and puts them into the wilderness racing for not just camp pride but in fact for their own lives. Because it is such a foreign setting for the Peanuts gang, it also forces Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang to band together in order to survive. As ominous as it sounds, it is all entirely family friendly. Even more interesting to note is that the adventure forces Charlie Brown to show a side that was otherwise very rarely put on display in any of the Peanuts special before or after. Schultz even allowed Charlie Brown to end up on top for once. While there were some instances in which he came out on top in other Peanuts specials, those moments are rare. This being one of those rare instances, it makes the story all the more special. And together with the rest of the story, it makes the whole of the script behind Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown the key element that makes this DVD worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan.

Charlies Schulz’s script for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown is one of the key elements that makes this movie worth the purchase by any Peanuts fan. It is not the only reason that audiences will enjoy it, either in its new DVD release. The movie’s overall look and sound is just as worth noting. And it will be discussed shortly. For now the focus will turn to the movie’s one glaring negative.That negative is the fac that the movie’s presentation is a bare bones presentation. There is no bonus TV special. There is no feature offering any background on what led to the story’s creation or any other bonuses. All audiences get aside from the movie is the movie’s original trailer. Had this piece been released like this from say Warner Home Video, that would have been expected. That’s because of WHV’s track record in recent years with both releases for families and grown-ups alike. But having been released by Paramount, one of “Hollywood’s Power 5 Studios,”it comes as something as a disappointing surprise. The movie comes in at a little more than an hour. So that had to have left some room for some extras. For whatever reason though, someone at Paramount decided not to include anything extra with the movie other than its trailer. One can only hope that when and if Paramount releases another Peanuts movie or TV special on stand-alone Peanuts movie and/or feature it will include at least a little more than what this one has offered audiences.

The fact that Paramount has offered audiences very little other than the original trailer for Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown as a bonus to the presentation is somewhat disheartening. It is disheartening considering the fact that every previously released Peanuts feature has included at the very least a bonus TV special and a little bonus featurette offering insight into the given presentations. As much as the overall lack of any bonus material hurts Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown’s overall presentation, at least audiences can look to the overall look and sound of the movie in its first-ever DVD presentation. It is presented in full 16:9 format instead of the standard 4:3 with the black bars on either side. What’s more it looks and sounds just as good as it did in its debut roughly thirty-eight years ago. This is something especially important to note. It is important to note because in comparison to some re-issues out there, said re-issues show that very little effort was taken to properly restore them. They look scratchy and sound just as bad. But as in the case with every previously released Peanuts feature, this one looks and sounds just as great as it did in its debut. Nothing was lost along the way in terms of updating the soundtrack and footage. That continued dedication to properly presenting Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts features coupled with the “movie’s” original script makes Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown well worth the purchase even despite its glaring lack of any extras. This being noted, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown may not be the year’s best new DVD for children and families. But it is at least one of the year’s best.

Looking at Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown in whole, it offers audiences its own share of positives. Its script presents a wholly original story in comparison to the other features that make up the Peanuts universe. It also looks and sounds just as good as in its original debut some thirty-eight years ago. That is thanks to the efforts of those charged with resurrecting the movie. For all of its positives, it suffers just as greatly from its overall lack of extras. The only extra–if one wants to call it an extra–that the DVD boasts is the movie’s original trailer. That’s all. There is no bonus TV special. There is no extra feature offering any insight on the movie’s creation, etc. Because of this, major points are taken away. As troublesome as that lack of extras proves itself to be to the overall presentation of Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, it still doesn’t hurt it enough to keep it from being added to any family’s home movie collection. It is available now in stores and online. All of the latest information on this movie and all of the latest Peanuts news is available online now at:

Website: http://www.peanuts.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/snoopy

Twitter: http://twitter.com/snoopy

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at http://www.wbshop.com/product/this+is+america%2C+charlie+brown-+the+complete+series+dvd+1000411223.do. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.