Snoopy, Come Home

Richard Petro

twitter @ThePetroProject

October 14, 2018

     A Boy Named Charlie Brown was a success, making $12 million off of its $1.1 million budget and receiving very positive critical word of mouth. It was only a matter of time before another story of the Peanuts gang hit the big screen, and three years later saw the release of Snoopy, Come Home, a stand-alone film that was adapted/expanded from a storyline in the comic strip like its predecessor

     Snoopy finds himself having a bit of a rough summer as everything he wants to do, like go to the beach or library, is interrupted by the fact that no dogs are allowed at these places. Keeping himself occupied, he has a fight with Linus over his blanket and a boxing match with Lucy. Charlie Brown, meanwhile, finds himself being unappreciated by Snoopy and frustrated. One day, Snoopy receives a letter from a girl named Lila, who is in the hospital, and he immediately packs up and goes off to see her, leaving Charlie Brown confused and upset.
     Along this journey with Woodstock (making his film debut), the duo come across some usual travelling issues and not-so usual travelling issues, such as an overtly excitable girl that finds them and keeps the “stray” pets, since she’s always wanted a “sheepdog and a parrot.” Eventually Charlie Brown learns that Lila is Snoopy’s original owner, having to have put him up for adoption because of moving, and, at the hospital, Lila asks Snoopy to return home with her. A gesture of sadness and sympathy is seemingly mistaken for a yes answer, and Snoopy returns home to say goodbye to everyone. After a sad going away party where Charlie Brown is stricken speechless, Snoopy makes his way to Lila’s only to find that no dogs are allowed in the building, happily allowing him a way to return to his home. Everyone is incredibly happy to see him… until he asks for the objects he kindly left to others back and threatening legal action if they don’t do so.

     I’ve seen Snoopy, Come Home’s biggest flaw be described as being the fact that there’s too much Snoopy, since he is best used as a side, comic characters who shows up at just the right time for just the right amount. I think I’d both agree and disagree with that; Snoopy is most definitely best when he is free to come and go as he pleases, but still very much a supporting character who seems to have his own adventures going on when you aren’t seeing the main plot of a film, but I wouldn’t say that that is a flaw of this film. I found he was used well here, giving the creators a chance to explore a broader, visual style of humour and storytelling without being able to rely so much on dialogue. There never really felt like there was too much Snoopy to me, since we had enough of a variety of on-goings in the plot and the cutaways to Charlie Brown at home.

     And that’s kind of where the main fault of the film lies. Re-watching it I did really enjoy it and had fun with it, it’s a very cute movie that is also full of a lot of hardships for Snoopy and even Charlie Brown, who is upset about his dog up and leaving without a word and the subsequent goodbye party. The 80-minute running time is filled pretty well with various events, but the movie still feels as though it had a big missed opportunity to it. The cut-backs to Charlie Brown involve him talking about how he is upset about Snoopy’s departure and wondering who Lila is. I kind of wish that aspect was expanded a bit more, as it could have been a nice way to showcase how much someone’s pet means to them besides simply relying on the fact that we are saddened because Snoopy obviously belongs with Charlie Brown. It reaches for it at certain points near the end once Snoopy leaves and it works wonderfully there, I just wish that there was a bit more to it in the earlier portion of the film.
     Because of the events packed into the runtime, we don’t get a chance to see Lila have much of a character either. We feel bad for her because she’s a child in a hospital, and she seems sweet enough, but besides that she doesn’t have a whole lot of depth to her, which I also wish there was more of. It’s a weird predicament for the movie to have, as it’s hard to truly say how they could have fixed it. They could have expanded more on all these things, which I would have liked especially for Charlie Brown and the exploration of how much a pet because a staple in your family, but it would have taken away from the focus on Snoopy and his own hardships. I still enjoyed it as a whole, having a fun time with it and some of its individual moments, but it is weaker than A Boy Named Charlie Brown, which is too bad because I felt like it could have been very much to its standard or even surpass it.

     I still believe the movie is worth watching and not just because I personally liked it. Besides the obviousness of great moments, I found the movie to be very pretty. There are many instances of some great uses of styles, and though it never quite changed up to the level of A Boy Named Charlie Brown did, it still did a great job in working with what it had. The opening credits are wonderfully done and I adore the way the characters are integrated into it, along with something unique to them. There are certain shots of Snoopy and Woodstock’s travel which are also incredibly pretty to see and perfectly sums up the feelings of trekking along by the sunset.

     It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the movie is also really funny, in between various lines of dialogue and moments. The entire beach section is fantastic (I never tire of Patty thinking Snoopy is an actual kid and the first lines of the movie are, hilariously, Linus giving Charlie Brown grief over something he did), and there’s an absolutely wonderful sequence of the kids playing Monopoly (Shroeder not taking Lucy’s BS is beautiful). There’s a fight sequence over Linus’ blanket that really gets brutal in a funny-shock way and the boxing match with Lucy is hilariously choreographed and realized. There are a lot of great bits here, enough to make the film worth viewing on its own (the girl who loves animals but maybe shouldn’t take care of one alone is just a massive tense battle). The cutest moment, which I won’t fully spoil, is a cute payoff to “beep”. You’ll see.

     There’s a lot to love and enjoy here, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights that the prior film did and it’s kind of frustrating thinking about how it could easily have been just as great if not better had it fleshed out certain aspects of it. I didn’t find Snoopy as a main character to be too much, since he was utilized really well in his set pieces, and his interactions with Woodstock are all gold. Even following Snoopy most of the time, the other characters have plenty of time to shine, and it’s nice to see Charlie Brown try to get some acknowledgment from at least one individual in his life. At the end of the day, Snoopy, Come Home is a very cute movie and, for better or worse, that is kind of where it stands no matter what. It’s cute and sweet without the real depth that it could have had with some tweaks that may have been hard to do with everything already in the film. Though its faults are pretty easy to point out, it’s still a nice way to spend 80 minutes.