Charles M. Schulz
It’s a big day, Charlie Brown! A teaser trailer for the upcoming Peanuts movie has been released, and although it doesn’t reveal much about the plot of the film, it does show Charlie Brown and Snoopy, who have gotten a 3D makeover for the big screen. But Peanuts purists shouldn’t worry about what will become of their favorite overly neurotic children just yet, as the film has the blessing of Craig Schulz – son of cartoonist Charles Schulz – and will be produced by Paul Feig, and his involvement is always a good sign for comedies. In honor of the new teaser trailer, we've ranked all 13 of the main Peanuts characters, in order to determine once and for all which ones are the best, and which ones are better off forgotten about. Could Marcie actually be a better character than Peppermint Patty? Which Van Pelt sibling comes out on top? You can find out the answers to these questions, along with where your favorites landed on our list by clicking through to the gallery, below.
GALLERY: Ranking the Peanuts Characters from Worst to Best
Not much about the plot of the film has been revealed yet, but both Feig and director Steve Martino have hinted that they will explore Snoopy’s imagination and follow Charlie Brown’s loyal companion on some exciting adventures. But as much as we love Snoopy and his pals, we’re really more interested in seeing the rest of the Peanuts gang hit the big screen. After all, what's a Peanuts movie without Lucy pulling the football out from under Charlie Brown, or Linus dispensing life-altering philosophy from under his blanket or even Franklin asking the tough questions? Sure, Snoopy's cool, but some of Charlie Brown's other friends are much cooler.
When it comes to our cherished childhood properties, we generally approach the idea of contemporary adaptation or reboot with hesitance as opposed to excitement. We don't want to see the television shows, cartoons, or comic strips we loved unconditionally "ruined" for a new generation by a commercial lens or a creative force without the appropriate appreciation for the works in question. At the top of the list for a good sum of Americans born in the latter half of the 20th century is Charles Schulz's Peanuts, rating more sacred than just about any other piece of childhood scripture. Naturally, living within a pop culture era that has churned out more bastardized reimaginings to old favorites than we can count — notable examples: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, James Wong's Dragonball: Evolution, Tim Hill's Alvin and the Chipmunks/Garfield/developing Short Circuit movies (we know it isn't fair to cast out a movie that's still in the works, but we're making an educated guess here) — we approach the news of a developing Peanuts movie with apprehension. But buried deep beneath the cynicism is that blip of hope (cemented inside of us, funnily enough, by the never-give-up attitude of one Charlie Brown) that this movie might actually work. And that hope is abetted by the announcement that Paul Feig will be producing the Fox project.
Those new to Feig fandom will raise an eyebrow at the reports from Deadline. His contemporary image has him connoted with hard R send-up comedies — Bridesmaids, The Heat, and his developing Melissa McCarthy spy flick and Channing Tatum-led gay rom-com. But if you know Feig from his Freaks and Geeks days, then you know precisely why he's the perfect pick for Schulz's universe. In essence, a lot of what Feig transmitted to the small screen in his one-season wonder could be likened to the themes of Schulz's comic strip. His main characters were sad, confused, lonely big dreamers at ceaseless odds with the kooky, convoluted, decidedly bleak world around them. But, just as Schulz did so masterfully with his cartoon, Feig never let his program feel defeatist. As low as Lindsay Weir might have plunged from her once stellar personal and academic stature, latching desperately to her existential crisis that was the plotline of the show, we never felt that she was "gone for good." We never felt that her brother Sam would be destined forever to a life of being bullied, or that Nick Andopolis would be overwrought with those troubling psychological maladies for all time. Feig always let us feel that there was a chance... a chance that maybe, maybe this time, Lucy wouldn't pull that damn football away.
Feig tells Deadline, "Growing up, Peanuts was my Star Wars. Charles Schulz's characters influenced everything in my career, especially Freaks And Geeks. I'm thrilled I finally get to be pals with Charlie Brown and Snoopy." So with the grounded, imaginative, somber, and overall hopeful ideology of Feig set to instill into this new incarnation of Peanuts, we do indeed look forward to something special.
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David Mitchell's novel Cloud Atlas consists of six stories set in various periods between 1850 and a time far into Earth's post-apocalyptic future. Each segment lives on its own the previous first person account picked up and read by a character in its successor creating connective tissue between each moment in time. The various stories remain intact for Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) Lana Wachowski's and Andy Wachowski's (The Matrix) film adaptation which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. The massive change comes from the interweaving of the book's parts into one three-hour saga — a move that elevates the material and transforms Cloud Atlas in to a work of epic proportions.
Don't be turned off by the runtime — Cloud Atlas moves at lightning pace as it cuts back and forth between its various threads: an American notary sailing the Pacific; a budding musician tasked with transcribing the hummings of an accomplished 1930's composer; a '70s-era investigatory journalist who uncovers a nefarious plot tied to the local nuclear power plant; a book publisher in 2012 who goes on the run from gangsters only to be incarcerated in a nursing home; Sonmi~451 a clone in Neo Seoul who takes on the oppressive government that enslaves her; and a primitive human from the future who teams with one of the few remaining technologically-advanced Earthlings in order to survive. Dense but so was the unfamiliar world of The Matrix. Cloud Atlas has more moving parts than the Wachowskis' seminal sci-fi flick but with additional ambition to boot. Every second is a sight to behold.
The members of the directing trio are known for their visual prowess but Cloud Atlas is a movie about juxtaposition. The art of editing is normally a seamless one — unless someone is really into the craft the cutting of a film is rarely a post-viewing talking point — but Cloud Atlas turns the editor into one of the cast members an obvious player who ties the film together with brilliant cross-cutting and overlapping dialogue. Timothy Cavendish the elderly publisher could be musing on his need to escape and the film will wander to the events of Sonmi~451 or the tortured music apprentice Robert Frobisher also feeling the impulse to run. The details of each world seep into one another but the real joy comes from watching each carefully selected scene fall into place. You never feel lost in Cloud Atlas even when Tykwer and the Wachowskis have infused three action sequences — a gritty car chase in the '70s a kinetic chase through Neo Seoul and a foot race through the forests of future millennia — into one extended set piece. This is a unified film with distinct parts echoing the themes of human interconnectivity.
The biggest treat is watching Cloud Atlas' ensemble tackle the diverse array of characters sprinkled into the stories. No film in recent memory has afforded a cast this type of opportunity yet another form of juxtaposition that wows. Within a few seconds Tom Hanks will go from near-neanderthal to British gangster to wily 19th century doctor. Halle Berry Hugh Grant Jim Sturgess Jim Broadbent Ben Whishaw Hugo Weaving and Susan Sarandon play the same game taking on roles of different sexes races and the like. (Weaving as an evil nurse returning to his Priscilla Queen of the Desert cross-dressing roots is mind-blowing.) The cast's dedication to inhabiting their roles on every level helps us quickly understand the worlds. We know it's Halle Berry behind the fair skinned wife of the lunatic composer but she's never playing Halle Berry. Even when the actors are playing variations on themselves they're glowing with the film's overall epic feel. Jim Broadbent's wickedly funny modern segment a Tykwer creation that packs a particularly German sense of humor is on a smaller scale than the rest of the film but the actor never dials it down. Every story character and scene in Cloud Atlas commits to a style. That diversity keeps the swirling maelstrom of a movie in check.
Cloud Atlas poses big questions without losing track of its human element the characters at the heart of each story. A slower moment or two may have helped the Wachowskis' and Tykwer's film to hit a powerful emotional chord but the finished product still proves mainstream movies can ask questions while laying over explosive action scenes. This year there won't be a bigger movie in terms of scope in terms of ideas and in terms of heart than Cloud Atlas.