“Don’t give up kid”: ‘The Peanuts Movie’ Review

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Snoopy and Woodstock wage war on the Red Baron.

When I heard there was going to be a new Peanuts movie, I was terrified. I love Peanuts. Like really, really love it. It has been a part of my life ever since I was small, and though not very popular here in the UK, I have managed to maintain this love for my entire 27 years. Why was I so sceptical? Well. Firstly, ‘modernised’ versions of my dearest childhood heroes have not washed well with me. There was Thomas the Tank Engine in 3D, Sonic Boom(the new Sonic games), and don’t even get me started on the HD series’ of The Simpsons. I know, everything has to move on, and everything has to develop. I just wasn’t sure that the Peanuts’ gang move to the big screen was going to a smooth or particularly necessary one. Secondly, as with most snotty people who know a lot about their favourite stuff, I didn’t want Peanuts to be thrown around, exploited and marketed to the point that the fantastic, original and heart warming gem Charles M. Schulz created to get lost amongst its hype.

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Lucy Van Pelt hair and Charlie Brown dress. I was SO ready!

Anyway like most things, I was wrong.
A UK release in the midst of Star Wars: The Force Awakens meant my much feared over-hype wasn’t really an option. Although posters and merchandise appeared, they were overshadowed by Disney’s multi million making machine(and that was OK by me).
Now, to the film. The company behind the Peanuts movie, Blue Sky Studios, tactfully threw in an Ice Age short animation prior to the film. Although unintentionally, it doesn’t bode well that the first thing you see is the companies’ biggest accomplishment : a tired old franchise. It just reminded me that I have never liked a movie animated by Blue Sky before, and made me shuffle in my seat with nervousness.

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Lucy continues to lend a helpful ear (for 5 cents).

Let me just make it clear that the storyline isn’t going to win any prizes for originality. Charlie Brown’s pursuit of the little red-haired girl alongside Snoopy’s take down of the Red Baron is nothing new to those who have grown up watching Peanuts, and has been done many times before. That said, it is a solid and comforting story, entertaining and a good message of hopefulness that will pull in audiences of all ages. This isn’t what I was looking for from this film though, it was the visuals and loyalty to the original comic strip.

 

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You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

I was not disappointed. From start to finish, the movie is faithful from Schroeder accompanying ’20th Century Fox’ intro on piano, to Schulz signing his name at the end of the film. The little touches such as 2D references to the black and white strips, written sound effects (AUUGH! anyone?), and the trombone voiced adults are all tropes that I loved. Bill Melendez returns as Snoopy via recordings, and a hell of a lot of dancing goes on to the tunes of Vince Guaraldi(now remastered). The 3D transition is excellent also, understated, not too showy and just right. The characters facial expressions remain the same as in the strips and the combination of 2D and 3D landscapes are executed beautifully. The fact that they haven’t tried to be too ambitious with the animation and full throttle it into 3D means it keeps the original Schulz charm and nostalgia, providing a fresh, yet wonderfully familiar viewing experience. My only gripe with this movie, was the use of pop music in one sequence. It was a bit cheesy and kind of pulled me from the Peanuts experience we know and love. I believe this film’s soundtrack could have entirely been a piano score and that would have worked fine. That could just be me getting old though.

 

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Charlie Brown reflects on his 2D beginnings in ‘The Peanuts Movie’.

Back to the story, Charlie Brown’s pursuit of the little red-haired girl follows the normal trail of calamities and bad luck we would expect from our round headed hero. Snoopy and Woodstock’s day dreaming provides a nice dose of action and humour. All our favourite characters, Lucy and Linus Van Pelt, Sally Brown, Schroeder and Woodstock reappear alongside the other children. As always, it is a simple, no frills, smartphone free adventure in childhood, and so refreshing to see amongst a world where kids are growing up remarkably quickly. A little twist though. Charlie Brown actually comes out on top in this one. And about time too.

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Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox & Peanuts Worldwide LLC

“You’ve really shown something new to me, you blockhead! You’re always full of surprises. Good ol’ Charlie Brown.” – Lucy Van Pelt.

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A long overdue ‘About Me’.

So I basically started this page without explaining who the HELL I am. I just want to take the time to thank everyone who has followed this blog without knowing about the girl behind it, and to those who are interested.. here goes.

About Me

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  • My name is Louisa. Nicknames include: Lou, LouBear(boyfriend/best friend), Bub(parents) and, of course, Loutopia(Social media name). I came up with the name Loutopia about a year ago and it just stuck, I wish I had some smart meaning behind it, but I just liked how it sounded. Call me what you want, as long as it’s not mean.FullSizeRender
  • I live with my family and angry cat Fudge- my family are my best friends, as tacky as that sounds, and I never tire of them. I am London born and bred, but my heritage stems back to the West Indies and South India. I used to hate being mixed race when I was younger, but am now accepting that different can be good.IMG_1191
  • My love of gaming is actually thanks to my mum. She is the biggest PC gaming fan I know and has been playing games since way before I was born. Having a brother and god brother who I spent loads of time with cemented my love of consoles. My boyfriend is now my main gaming buddy and player 2: we are forever learning and broadening our passion and hope to start a YouTube channel in 2016. My favourite games include : Monkey Island series(in fact, anything Lucasarts), Earthbound and The Legend of Zelda(especially A Link to the Past).
  • I started cosplaying in 2014, and absolutely love it. I try not to get intimidated by the amount of talent out there, and just focus on my own development and progress. I set myself small goals to fulfil, so I can build up to making entire costumes on my own. I have a cosplay Instagram now – @afrocosplay if you want to see how I’m getting on!

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    My Isabelle Nendoroid getting some work in!

  • I actually don’t like the terms ‘geek’ and ‘gamer girl’. I think they’re overused, but there aren’t many other ways to describe my interests. Let’s start a new word? #ladieswhogame?

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    so.much.reading

  • My other passion is reading. My Mum proudly tells of me being the only child at nursery who could read a book cover to cover(shut up Mum). I am studying for a BA in English Literature right now, and believe everyone should make time for their brain and read. Favourite books include : A Clockwork Orange, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Requiem for a Dream- all cheery material. I also enjoy reading comics, manga and graphic novels, there will be a full section about this on the blog soon! Favourite comics/graphic novels/manga include: Maus, Rat Queens, Ms. Marvel(Kamala Khan) and Kimi Ni Todoke.
  • I am a Peanuts and Charlie Brown fangirl. It is my favourite franchise of all time and I will never every tire of it. My favourite character is Lucy, because she is grumpy like me. 🙂
  • I quote from ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’ daily. Me and my boyfriend have full conversations this way.IMG_1441
  • I am a vegan and animal rights activist. I am a fairly new vegan, only going full whack this year, but I am accepting the transition fairly well. It was pretty hard considering I was a hardened junk food and Big Mac enthusiast before! I don’t like to think about the amount of suffering that goes on, but it happens regardless of if we try and kid ourselves or not. I just want to help any way that I can.
  • I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression earlier this year, and am not ashamed to talk it about it now. There isn’t enough education on mental health, and it is such an issue these days. I intend on writing a section about this, and my tried and tested ways of recovery. I don’t believe I can ever ‘fully’ recover, but have made some changes with the help of my wonderful support network and am positive about the future.

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    NOTE: Ocarina’s are hard to play.

  • (MUSH ALERT)My boyfriend Kane is my everything. Best pal, boyfriend, pet(LOL). He is one of the only people in my life who has my best interests at heart always, and he has changed me for the better.
  • My dream job would be to write for a gaming site and my end goal is to produce my own adventure game alongside my talented animator boyfriend Broken Tuna. I also want to write a serialised novel for young adults. And be Queen. OK, not that last one.

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    ‘I think we’re having a real moment here’.

  • My friends compare me to Bart Simpson, Ducklett(Pokemon) and Buttercup(PowerPuff Girls). I would have preferred Beyonce but whatevs.9CE75588-2B65-4C5A-B471-04B774EDDB7E
  • Loutopia is mostly a place for nerd culture, but I try to make it more than that if I can by adding my own personal touch. If you have any ideas for what you would like to see me write, or just want to say hey, send me an e-mail at talesfromloutopia@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading, I hope this has taken some of the mystery out and you are now convinced that I’m not a fire breathing lizard or something. Although, that would be the best ever. A fire breathing lizard with access to a computer. OK, that reminds me of my last point – I often chat rubbish when my brain goes off on a tangent.

LB xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(Any) Gamers of the world unite! : Monday Motivation

This month marks one year of this blog,  and while not much to some, I can’t believe how comfortable I have become online. This time last year, I decided to join a few social media sites in order to vocalise my passion for all things video games. I was under the impression that a hobby is an excellent way to meet like minded people and expand your knowledge, and now it is oh so easy to connect with your existing friends and make new ones. My main account was on the popular photo sharing site Instagram(I am lazy and photos seemed less effort). Once I joined, I familiarised myself with hashtags and saw what there was on offer to give me my gaming fix. When I first forayed into this online landmine with my gaming account, I was unsure of my place as a retro gamer who has never owned a next gen console and ranks Monkey Island as her favourite game. Even worse, I soon realised the typical Instagram picture of a gamer is usually someone who owns a gamer tag, belongs to a clan and is sponsored by some sort of console accessories start up. Dread. I was worried people would think I wasn’t really into video games at all, and that I might be using it for attention or piggybacking off my boyfriends interests in order to be different and ‘cool’. It made me second guess myself, as most social media does, and made me wonder if I actually am who I think I am. Confusing for you? Think how it was in my little pea head. In such a small sea of big fish, the idea of being judged and scrutinised was overwhelming.


Looking back now, I needn’t have worried. I have met a lot of people who respect and enjoy what I post, as well as those who teach me something new every day. Not even just limited to gaming, in all kinds of ways. Whether you enjoy playing mobile games, if Animal Crossing is your jam, if you can only get into Call of Duty, there is a place for you in this community. Don’t be deterred by the naysayers who say you’re the wrong gender/playing the wrong console/ditto the wrong type of game- there are enough real issues going on in the world without people taking from you what makes you happy.

Get on with it. Happy gaming and happy gram’ing.
LB xxxxxx

Highlights of 2014(and hello everyone!)

Like many, I set up this blog with (farfetched) aspirations. These aspirations involved overnight internet success, endless praise and a renewed love of writing. The truth is this blog has remained dormant for probably about 4 months since I set it up. I’ve been putting it off because as my life guru(and thinspiration) Homer Simpson says ‘trying is the first step towards failure’.

I don’t believe in the whole ‘new year, new me’ crap. Continue reading