When I first saw the trailer for The Peanuts Movie about a year ago, I couldn't wait to see the movie! Hollywood had already destroyed many of my favorite childhood shows and movies in recent years (RIP Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), but it looked like this movie was actually going to be decent, maybe even good.
So I decided to see it in theaters. As the movie started, everything was great - the animation was beautiful, the characters were classic "Peanuts", and Vince Guaraldi's themes brought a big smile to my face. And then the score came in. And then other music came in. And here's what I thought...
At the beginning of the movie, Vince Guaraldi's jazzy piano introduced the characters, which I loved, but once the intro was over and the story began, those classic themes went out the window. Instead, lush strings and the sound of a modern Hollywood orchestra accompanied the rest of the movie.
This wasn't necessarily a terrible way to go - the movie was obviously a modern take on the TV and comic series, so it makes sense to give the music a modern twist as well. But the instantly-recognizable music that accompanied the original Peanuts shows was as much a character to the show as the block head himself, and to me this new score was like deciding to make Snoopy a Great Dane or a Pomeranian.
This isn't to say that the music itself is bad, it's not. Christophe Beck is a talented composer. This was just an example of how "good music" doesn't mean "the right music." But that of course depends on what you're trying to accomplish with the music.
I had already begun to cringe before I even started typing this. Meghan Trainor and Flo Rida. Meghan. Trainor. and Flo. Rida. *Sigh*
Okay. I'd say I don't know what they were thinking, but I know exactly what they were thinking. Attract young audiences and make money. Because taking the chance that just making a good movie would be enough is never an option for Hollywood.
Now, I know how business works. The executive producers needed to make sure that their investment would make a return, I get it. On the creative side, they wanted to bring this classic franchise to a younger audience - I get that too. But this was a sad and transparent way to accomplish either of those goals.
Overall, I still liked the movie, but the music was a huge miss for me. It was very clear that this movie was not made for the millions of people who grew up watching It's the Great Pumpkin or A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV or VHS. (For my younger readers, VHS is like if Netflix was a bookshelf, and you'd pick a movie by putting a brick into a box under your TV).
The Peanuts Movie soundtrack is available on iTunes, for anyone who is interested. What did you think of the music? Tell me in the comments below!
Film | Music
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