First Look at 500 New Peanuts Shorts
Late last year it was revealed that France’s Normaal Animation would be producing an eye-popping 500(!) new Peanuts shorts, helping build into the upcoming $100 million dollar Blue Sky Studios feature film version that’s due out in November of 2015. Now for the first time we’re getting an eyeful of what these 90 second shorts look like, after being revealed at the MIPJunior keynote address in France last week. These 2D shorts are directed by Alexis Lavillat, the founder of Normaal Animation, and I think they did a reasonably good job, with some reservations that I’ll detail after the video.
The production design is faithful to Charles M. Schulz’ classic comic strip, but the animation is too bouncy, utilizing far too much squash and stretch of the symbols – overshooting and settling every movement. Some restraint and economy of motion should have been employed here.
The voices are the big misfire, however. They’re stock ‘kid show’ reads that are often too broad and occasionally rigid. I empathize with the plight of the production team, having to work under the shadow of the original cast of child actors like Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Sally Dryer (one of the Lucy actresses). A new generation of kids not familiar with the original cast might have a different reaction that I did, but I still feel like the casting effort should have been given more thought.
All that said, I think the world is a better place with more Peanuts shorts in it! They premiere on state-owned France Télévisions network in a few weeks.